Education Week is carrying an Associated Press article that cites explosive growth in public charter school enrollment across the nation.
According to the AP:
“The growth represents the largest increase in enrollment over a single year since charter schools were founded nearly two decades ago.”
The article says more than 500 new charters were opened across the nation for this school year and enrollment in charters jumped by 200,000 students, a 13 percent increase since last year.
Maine apparently did what Kentucky failed to do last year, enacting its first charter school legislation.
There is one problem with the AP article. It incompletely cites the 2009 CREDO study of charter schools, “Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States.”
Like many before, the AP totally ignores the most important finding in the study, one regularly overlooked.
That finding: Once students spend sufficient time in charters, they do outperform their public school peers. See pages 32 and 33 in the CREDO report.
The AP does mention that parents have become much more savvy education consumers. That helps explain the explosive growth in charters. After all, when we are talking charter schools, parents get to choose. They don’t have to put their kids in a charter, or leave them there, if they don’t see clear advantages in these schools of choice.
Kentucky is now well behind in the charter school race. We don’t even have a law to allow them. But, that can change in the next legislative session, and just like officials in Maine said last year, the time is now right to give Kentucky parents and students the sort of choice that the vast majority of states now offer to their residents.