Public Charter Schools Reach New Milestone: Record 6,000 Schools Are Serving 2.3 Million Students

Jan 15, 2013, 13:44 ET from National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Data from Current School Year Shows 80% Growth in Enrollment Over Five Years

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The number of public charter schools operating in the United States has surpassed 6,000 for the first time in the 20-year effort to provide innovative alternatives to traditional public schools, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced today. These new figures are based on estimates from the 2012-13 school year. The 6,000 public charter schools are now educating more than 2.3 million students – also a record number – in the current school year.


The public charter school movement had a net gain of 381 schools for the 2012-13 school year. Charter schools are enrolling 275,000 more students this year than in 2011-12 – the largest single-year increase since the movement's inception.

"The growth of the public charter sector continues because parents are demanding quality options for their children," said Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "Charter leaders are opening schools to respond to parents and to provide more students with a quality education that meets their needs."

The first public charter schools opened 20 years ago in a handful of states and the movement has grown steadily to comprise more than five percent of public schools in the country, according to the data the National Alliance collected on the current school year.

Five states were responsible for a net gain of 237 total new schools this school year. The five leading states include: California with 81 total schools added; Florida with 67 schools added; Texas with 41 schools added; New York with 25 schools added; and Michigan with 23 schools added. These five states now account for more than 2,400 of the nation's public charter schools.

These increases continue five years of significant growth for public charter schools. Since 2007-08, the public charter sector has added 1,700 schools – almost a 50 percent increase – and is serving an additional one million students – an increase of 80 percent.

"The growth over the past five years has been truly remarkable," Rees said. "Our movement has momentum that will continue to positively impact public education because our leaders are committed to pursuing innovation and replicating success in communities across America."

 The new data is available on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools' data dashboard:

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.

SOURCE National Alliance for Public Charter Schools