Charter Schools Key Statistics (page 2)
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
A public charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a contract or charter that exempts it from selected state or local rules and regulations.1 These schools differ from one another in terms of their origins, the authority under which they are chartered, and the students they serve. This indicator profiles some of the differences among charter schools that served 4th-graders in 2003 and compares them with conventional public schools that year.
In 2003, the majority of charter school students (70 percent) attended newly created charter schools, while approximately one-third (30 percent) attended pre-existing public or private schools converted into charter schools (see table 28-1). Charter schools obtained charters from one of several entities: school districts, which served 51 percent of charter school students in 2003; state boards of education, which served 28 percent; postsecondary institutions, which served 16 percent; or state-chartering agencies, which served 6 percent.
Schools chartered by different entities varied in terms of the regions of the country in which they were located and in terms of the communities they served. For example, schools chartered by a school district tended to serve students in the Southeast and West, and in central cities and urban fringe/large towns (see table 28-2). Schools chartered by a state board of education most commonly served students in central cities. Schools chartered by a state-chartering agency most commonly served students in the West, and schools chartered by postsecondary institutions served students exclusively in the Central region (especially Michigan).
Schools chartered by a state board of education or a postsecondary institution were more likely to serve Black students than conventional public schools or other types of charter schools (see table 28-3). Schools chartered by a state board of education were also more likely to serve students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch than conventional public schools. Conversely, schools chartered by a school district served a greater percentage of students not eligible for free and reduced-price lunch than conventional public schools.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Education Statistics.
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