The number of students attending public charter schools such as the Island School on Boca Grande has grown an estimated 76 percent in the last five school years, according to a National Alliance for Public Charter Schools report.
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that can be more innovative while still being held for accountable for improved student achievement.
Parents, teachers and students celebrated National Charter Schools Week May 6-12 by recognizing the tremendous advancements in public charter schooling that have laid a bipartisan foundation for education reform in America.
Student enrollment in public charter schools grew from 1,165,200 students in 2006-2007 to an estimated 2,035,261 in 2011-2012.
Over the same period, the number of public charter schools grew by 41 percent from 3,999 to 5,627 with an expected 521 new public charter schools opening in the 2011-2012 school year alone.
These figures were compiled based on data from state departments of education and state charter school support organizations and resource centers.
Ursula Wright is interim president and CEO of NAPCS. For more information about public charter schools go to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at publiccharters.org. The nonprofit National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is committed to advancing the charter school movement.
Support for public charter schools transcends party lines and ideological backgrounds, with more Americans now realizing the extraordinary opportunities that public charter schools provide to children, communities, and our country. Yet despite the significant growth experienced in recent years, demand for charter schools in our country far outpaces the number of seats available to students in these schools.
Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.
Last week, thousands of participants celebrated National Charter Schools Week with special events and activities. The awareness generated by these events complement advocacy efforts such as seeking improvements to laws that would allow creation of new charter schools, equitable funding for charter schools when compared with traditional district schools and increased access to unused or under-used public school buildings.
In just 20 years, the public charter school movement has reached 41 states and the District of Columbia by enacting charter school laws. Maine passed its first charter school law in the summer of 2011.
The nine states without charter school laws are Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.