Commentary

Record Charter School Enrollment Growth in California

The California Charter Schools Association reports some good news for California kids and school choice in the Golden state:

  • 88 new public charter schools opened their doors for the first time this fall, bringing the total number of California charter schools in operation to 809 schools, serving approximately 341,000 public school students.
  • New and existing charter schools added an estimated 56,000 new students this year, the largest single-year enrollment increase in history and equivalent to adding the entire enrollment of the ninth largest school district in the state.
  • While it took California’s charter school movement 13 years to reach 200,000 students (in 2005) it only took four years to surpass the 300,000 students mark.
  • This year also marked the first year that more than half of all new charter schools that opened this fall (45 of 88 schools) are replications of existing, successful charter school models, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has the highest number of new charter schools in the state. With 19 new charter schools, for a total of 163 in operation, LAUSD also has by far the most charter schools for a single district in the nation.
  • As of this fall, approximately one in every six charter schools nationwide (16 percent) operates in California. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, based in Washington, D.C., there are now more than 4,900 charter schools currently educating over 1.5 million children.

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