NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Charter Schools Answer Arizona's Growing Student Population

August 1, 1997

Home developers in Arizona and elsewhere are teeming up with private education companies to provide charter schools for their customers. Local school districts often cannot build schools fast enough to accommodate new residents, according to reports, so charters are the logical -- and superior -- alternative to public schools.

  • Student enrollments in all schools nationwide are at an all-time record of 51.7 million -- surpassing 1971's 31.3 million previous record -- and is destined to hit 54.6 million by 2006.
  • Such fast growth is fertile ground for the budding charter movement, experts say.
  • Arizona, which has approximately one-third of the nation's 480 charter schools, recently contracted with the Minneapolis-based Education Alternatives Inc. to build and operate 12 schools over the next three years.
  • EAI and other private operators are busy opening schools in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Chicago, Denver and Duluth.

The education companies are also exploring opportunities in Texas, Florida, California and Colorado, according to reports.

Source: Lisa Snell, "Chartering Classes," Reason, August-September, 1997.


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