NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Number Of Charter Schools Leaps Ahead

June 30, 2000

Charter schools are publicly funded but operate independently of traditional public school bureaucracy. The Center for Education Reform reports they are being founded throughout the nation at rapid rates.

  • The center says there was a 44 percent increase in the number of charters which opened their doors between 1998 and 1999.
  • It estimates the number of charters will increase 18 percent this fall.
  • That would put the number at 1,994 charters -- compared to 1,689 in 1999 and 1,168 in 1998.
  • Of the charters which were opened in the 1999-2000 school year, 49 percent were sponsored by local school boards, 28 percent by state agencies and 22 percent by other groups -- such as colleges and universities.
  • The schools will have an enrollment of roughly half-a-million children this fall.

Observers see the growth in charters as evidence of parents' growing enthusiasm for school choice -- particularly in view of the fact that some states still have no official procedure for establishing charters and still don't even recognize them from a legal standpoint.

Also, even states that permit charters sometimes still limit the number that can be opened in a jurisdiction and require that they be approved in advance by local school boards.

Source: Jay Mathews and Christina A. Samuels, "Charter School Boom," Washington Post, June 27, 2000.

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