Charter schools now educate the majority of students in New Orleans and Detroit, a new report from the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools finds.
Almost 80 percent of students in New Orleans attend charter schools (36,126 charter students versus 9,414 who attend district-run schools), while 51 percent of students in Detroit go to charter schools (51,083 versus 49,172 in regular district schools).
Students in the nation's capital have the next highest percentage of students in charter schools, clocking in at 43 percent, followed by Flint City School District in Michigan and Kansas City in Missouri where 36 percent of students attend charters.
The districts with the fastest growth in the percentage of students attending charters are Hall County schools in Georgia, whose charter school population rose from 5,500 to 8,600 from 2011-12 to 2012-13 school years, and San Diego Unified School District, which gained an additional 4,500 charter school students from 2011-12 to 2012-13, bringing the total number of charter school students there up to 17,850.
In a media conference call today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools president and chief executive officer Nina Rees explained that "our hope is not so much to have the [charter school] system take over the [traditional district-run] school system, but for more public schools to emulate the best practices of charter schools and become more independent in decisionmaking and being responsive to the needs of families."
Virtual charter school enrollment was left out of the analysis for all states except Hawaii, Delaware, Michigan, Ohio, and the District of Columbia. The report marks the eighth year that the organization has tracked this data.