California charter schools add thousands of students, public school enrollment plummets: report


A A new charter school enrollment report has found that California charter schools appear to have benefited from the state’s decline in public school attendance.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools published a compilation of state-by-state data on charter school enrollment versus enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year. It found nearly 240,000 new students enrolled in charter schools nationwide, a 7% increase from the previous year.

California charter schools registered 15,283 new children in the 2020-2021 school year, an increase of 2.3% from the previous year. In contrast, the state’s public schools saw a drop of 175,761 students, a decrease of 3.2%.

The majority of newly enrolled charter school students – 9,389 – identified as Latino or Hispanic. State data shows that 70,287 fewer Latino or Hispanic students are enrolled in public schools. California has more charter schools than any other state, according to the NAPS. However, charter school students make up only 13% of the state’s total public school population, compared to 20% elsewhere. The alliance estimated that 1,351 charter schools were in California for the 2018-19 school year.

The report partially blamed distance learning, which led to the frustration of parents who saw charters and private schools welcome students into classrooms.

“During the 2020-21 school year, the pandemic forced schools of all types to close their doors and switch to distance learning,” the report says. “Many families were dissatisfied with the quality of what was available for their children. And this dissatisfaction led them to learn more about the other educational options available. For many families, the agility and flexibility of schools has made it the right choice for a public school.

Lance Christensen, chief operating officer of the nonprofit California Policy Center, said the report confirms what his organization has been saying for years: when parents understand there are better opportunities for their children’s education , they will pursue them.

“The fact that an overwhelming number of states with charter schools are showing a significant – and in some cases, dramatic – increase in charter school attendance should send a message to policymakers, lawmakers, school board members and to the directors a very strong and undeniable message; if district or neighborhood public schools want to stay relevant, they need to offer a better product to their communities, otherwise parents will walk on broken glass in the dead of night after working multiple times to bring their children to schools where their future matters Says Christensen.

Of all the states that provided information, Oklahoma saw the largest shift to charter schools with a 77% increase in year-over-year enrollments. Only Illinois, Iowa and Wyoming saw a slight drop in charter listings, according to the report.

The authors of the report said virtual charter networks may have caused some of the dramatic increases in listings, including in Oklahoma.

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Key words: States, New, California, Charter schools, Education, Schools

Original author: Cole Lauterbach, The central square

Original location: California charter schools add thousands of students, public school enrollment plummets: report


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