News | April 10, 2006

Study Shows Charter Schools Succeeding Where Others Fail

Report details Charter Schools serving more at-risk and minority students while increasing achievement.

Washington, DC - Charter schools are serving considerably more "at-risk" children and doing so with $2,000 less per pupil than conventional public schools, according to a recent report by the Center for Education Reform (CER). The data refutes claims that conventional public schools serve more minority and at-risk students. The Annual Survey of Charter Schools reveals a migration towards the innovative public schools, which have experienced double-digit annual growth since the mid-to-late 1990's. Currently, 3,617 charter schools serve over a million students in 40 states and the District of Columbia.

"Year after year this survey shows the depth of education charter schools provide to children most in need," said CER president Jeanne Allen. "They are doing so with fewer resources, longer days and school years, and through the use of more focused curricular approaches, such as college prep, math and science, and core knowledge programs."

With a 60 percent median minority population and a median 63 percent qualifying for free/reduced lunch, the survey shows that charter schools continue to serve students who have been failed by the "one-size-fits-all" educational system. Charter school growth can be attributed to multiple curriculum options, smaller class sizes, and more instructional time, according to the report. Of the schools surveyed, 56 percent reported significant waiting lists, with a median of 50 students on charter school waiting lists.

Charter schools are independent public schools, designed by educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs, and others who are interested in providing a quality education to children in their community. Charters operate outside the educational bureaucracy that too often stifles innovation in traditional public schools. As public schools, charters do not charge tuition or select their students.

Since 1997, CER has regularly surveyed charter schools operating in the United States. The information in the report was pulled from surveys of the nation's charter schools compiled throughout 2005. Click here to download the report.

SOURCE: The Center for Education Reform (CER)