Commentary

Charter School Market Share

With more than one million students enrolled in charter schools nationwide, some individual communities are seeing large numbers of students enrolled in charter schools. Via a new study on charter school market share from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: While charter schools enroll a modest percentage of students nationwide, some communities far exceed national and state averages to enroll high percentages of charter school students. In fact, 19 different communities educate over 13% of their public school students in charter schools (and ties account for 19 different communities being represented in our top “ten”). New Orleans leads the pack with 69% market share, due primarily to the post-Katrina reconstitution of the schools. Ohio has FIVE different communities in the top ten, with Dayton leading the pack at the #2 spot on our countdown with 28%. Alliance home base and our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., comes in at #3 with 25%. And the largest community on the list is Detroit, with 18% of its nearly 160,000 students in public charters.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.