The number of students attending public charter schools across the nation has surpassed two million according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS). Over 500 new public charter schools opened their doors in the 2011-12 school year, an estimated increase of 200,000 students. This year marks the largest single–year increase ever recorded in terms of the number of additional students attending charters.
There are now approximately 5,600 public charter schools enrolling what is estimated to be more than two million students nationwide. The numbers equate to a 13 percent growth in students in just one year, while more than 400,000 students remain on wait lists to attend the public school of their choice. This significant milestone demonstrates increased demand from families who want more high-quality educational options for their children.
“We are very encouraged to see the active role parents are playing to ensure their children receive a high-quality education,” said Ursula Wright, interim CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “The results that charter schools are demonstrating are not only a testament to the hard work of thousands of teachers and charter leaders, but to families demanding more in terms of what a high-quality education means for their individual children.”
The top states that added the greatest number of students over the past year include: California with 47,000 new students; Florida with 23,500 additional students; Texas with 22,000 additional students; and Ohio with more than 12,000 additional students.
California leads the nation in total number of charter schools with 983 schools in
operation, followed by Arizona with 524, Florida with 520, Ohio with 360, and Texas with
In addition to the more than 500 new schools nationwide, roughly 150 public charter schools did not re-open their doors this fall. These schools closed for a variety of reasons, including low enrollment, financial challenges and low academic performance. The closures provide further evidence that the charter school intent works—schools that do not meet the needs of their students should close.
The states with the largest number of school closures include: California (34), Arizona (22), Florida (18), Ohio (14), and Wisconsin (11).