by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jason Russell of the Washington Examiner documents recent growth in the charter school movement.
Since 1999, the share of students in charter schools has grown from under 1 percent to over 5 percent. In the same time period, the number of charter schools has risen by almost 5,000. In contrast, the number of non-charter schools has increased by only 326 since the 1999-2000 school year.
The movement also gained its 43rd state this year, with Alabama passing a law to allow its first charter schools to open in the near future. Only Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia do not have charter school laws.
The charter school movement is one of the few issues that enjoys bipartisan support. Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced a resolution to recognize National Charter Schools Week. “Charter schools … are the formula to help our children learn what they need to know and be able to do so they can succeed in life,” Alexander said.
Bennet added, “National Charter Schools Week is an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of our teachers, school leaders, parents, and students who help create successful charter schools.” The resolution is co-sponsored by five Democratic senators and 16 Republican senators.
It’s good to read some good news amid the concerns raised about charter schools.