Charter Schools Key Statistics
Charter schools are more likely than conventional public schools to be located in urban areas, to have smaller total enrollment sizes, and to enroll higher proportions of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students.
A charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a contract or charter with the state; the charter exempts the school from selected state or local rules and regulations. In return for funding and autonomy, the charter school must meet accountability standards. A school’s charter is reviewed (typically every 3 to 5 years) and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or the standards are not met (U.S. Department of Education 2000).
In the 2004–05 school year, there were 3,294 charter schools in the jurisdictions that allowed them (40 states and the District of Columbia), compared with 90,001 conventional public schools in all of the United States (see table 32-1). Charter schools made up 4 percent of all public schools. The population of students served by charter schools differed from the student population served by conventional public schools. Charter schools enrolled larger percentages of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native students and lower percentages of White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than conventional public schools. A larger percentage of charter schools (27 percent) than conventional public schools (16 percent) had less than 15 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
Student enrollments in charter schools were lower than enrollments in conventional public schools. Seventy-one percent of charter schools had enrollments of less than 300 students, compared with 31 percent of conventional public schools. Charter schools were also more likely to be located in central cities than were conventional public schools (52 vs. 25 percent).
Charter schools were more likely to be located in the West (39 percent) than in the Midwest (27 percent), South (25 percent), and the Northeast (9 percent). In addition, a greater percentage of charter schools (24 percent) than conventional schools (19 percent) were secondary schools, while a larger percentage of conventional schools (57 and 18 percent) than charter schools (44 and 9 percent) were elementary and middle schools, respectively.
Profile and Demographic Characteristics of Public Charter Schools
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Education Statistics.
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