A new report, Condition of Public Education 2020, has just been released by the National Center for Education Statistics and this graphic from the report, which shows the percentage of charter school enrollment to total public school enrollment by state, was one of the first things to pop out as I began reading.
Across the entire nation, charter school enrollment averaged 6% in the Fall of 2017. That statistic is made more remarkable because six states don’t even have a charter school law and another eight states, Kentucky included, have very low, if any (in Kentucky’s case), charter school enrollment.
When we look at states that take the school choice option of charter schools more seriously, we see a number of states, eight of them, where there is actually a double-digit percentage of charter school enrollment.
According to the new report:
“Between fall 2000 and fall 2017, overall public charter school enrollment increased from 0.4 million to 3.1 million. During this period, the percentage of public school students who attended charter schools increased from 1 to 6 percent.”
One of the double-digit charter enrollment states is the Southern state of Florida. I took a quick look in the NAEP Data Explorer to see how charter and non-charter Hispanics in that state did on the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Grade 4 math assessment. Hispanics in Florida’s charters outscored Hispanics in the state’s non-charter schools by 5 NAEP Scale Score Points, a statistically significant difference.
Another Southern state, Georgia, showed a notable advantage for both charter school whites and blacks on the same Grade 4 NAEP math assessment. Georgia’s charter students of both races outscored their racial counterparts in the state’s traditional public schools with double-digit score differences.
Looking at the map above, it is clear that Kentucky isn’t anywhere close to the norm when it comes to offering school choice for students and parents.