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The State of the Charter School Movement

Sara Mead
Ashley LiBetti Mitchel
Andrew J. Rotherham
Publication

During the past decade, the number of students attending charter schools more than tripled to nearly 3 million, or 6 percent, of students nationally, and charters are playing an even more prominent role in educating students in some of nation’s largest urban communities.

Despite this growing role in U.S. public education, the debate about charter schools continues to be plagued by outdated information, misconceptions, and myths.

A new analysis from Bellwether Education Partners brings together the most recent data on charter schools from a variety of sources to provide a comprehensive picture of the current state of the charter school movement in the United States, including:

  • number of charter schools and students
  • growth of charter schools over the past 15 years
  • role and growth of charter management organizations
  • demographics of charter school students
  • academic performance of charter schools
  • data and trends in charter school authorizing

The report includes projections of charter growth and major operational, policy, and political challenges shaping the future of the charter school movement.

To illuminate the differences in chartering across states and cities, the report also provides case studies for New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; New York; Los Angeles; Boston; and Denver.

Love them or hate them, charter schools are going to continue to be a part of American public education. This report is designed to help inform smart thinking about both the current status and future directions of the charter school movement. Download “The State of the Charter School Movement” slide deck report here.