School Choice & Charters

Report Maps Charter Populations in Congressional Districts

By Denisa R. Superville — May 22, 2014 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which shows where charter schools—and their students—are located by congressional districts, underlines the increasing growth of public charters.

The report, “Details from the Dashboard,” which was released Thursday, shows that 25 congressional districts each have more than 15,000 students enrolled in public charter schools, 67 have more than 10,000 students, while 102 have 20 or more public charters located within their boundaries.

Twenty of the 25 congressional districts with the largest public charter enrollment are represented by Democrats.

The report comes nearly two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives voted 360- 45 to approve a new charter bill that would make it easier for successful charter operators to expand. The bill also will encourage charters to widen their outreach to special student populations, including students with disabilities and English-language learners, two groups that charter schools have been criticized for not doing their fair share to enroll.

It also comes as some urban school districts—largely Democratic areas such as Newark, New York City, and Philadelphia—try to come to grips with the explosion of public charter schools and the ways in which they are transforming the public education landscape and redefining the traditional public school structure. In those cities, advocates on both sides of the charter debate have sparred over funding, space, and resources.

The report also shows how the representatives voted on the most recent public charter schools bill. Unsurprisingly, with very few exceptions, those with a high number of charter schools or charter student enrollment voted in favor of the bill, which largely enjoyed bipartisan support. The exceptions included Rep. Cedric Richmond, D- La., who voted against the bill, despite having 31,824 students in his district enrolled in charter schools—the third highest public charter school student population in the country. Richmond’s district includes most of New Orleans. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., also voted against the bill. Her district, which includes the City of Milwaukee, has 17,722 students enrolled in charter schools.

The congressional district with the highest number of charter students, 38,501, is CA-30, which includes parts of Los Angeles County and is held by Rep. Brad Sherman. But the congressional district with the most charter schools is the District of Columbia, which has 105 charter schools, according to the report.

The report restated a number of findings culled from 2012-2013 public charter schools enrollment data that the group had already released. Among them: One in 20 public school students in the nation attend public charter schools; more than 2.5 million students across the country attend public charters; and the demand for those seats is increasing as evidenced by longer waiting lists.

Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said the report was a “valuable resource for Congress to better understand the prevalence of public charter schools.”

“Public charter schools are now serving students in more than 80 percent of our nation’s congressional districts and it is important that members know the number of public charter schools and students they represent,” Rees said in a statement accompanying the report.

Although the charter bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, the fate of a similar measure is less clear in the Senate.

My colleague, Alyson Klein, wrote a few weeks ago about the road ahead for the senate version of the bill. Sponsored by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill, it contains only minor differences from the House version. According to Klein, Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa) is not exactly enthusiastic about separating the provisions related to charters from the rest of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which has been not been re-authorized since 2002.

Harkin is also not likely to face a huge charter lobby from his home state: There are only three charter schools in Iowa—with an enrollment of 352 students—compared to 1,742 non-charter schools. In other words, 0.1 percent of the public school students in the state attend charter schools, according to the numbers released by the National Alliance for Charter Schools.

You can read the full report here.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty