By Eric Paisner, Vice President, Knowledge and Partnerships, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Every year my organization, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), examines the growing student enrollment in public charter schools across the country. Among other things, we identify which communities have the highest percentage of public school students enrolled in public charter schools. NAPCS knows that in communities where parents have a choice, they are increasingly choosing public charter schools over the traditional public schools available to them. For the 2010-2011 school year, six school districts had at least 30 percent of their public school students enrolled in public charter schools. Charter schools in New Orleans enrolled an astounding 70 percent of public school students. DC was next at 39 percent and Detroit a close third at 37 percent public student enrollment. In total, 18 school districts had 20 percent or more of their public school students enrolled in charter schools—twelve more districts than when NAPCS first printed this report six years ago. The data tell us that the public education landscape is shifting dramatically.