Charter schools are a popular topic nowadays when education reform comes up on the community, state or federal level. Minnesota's City Academy, which kicked off the charter movement in St. Paul, turns 20 this year, and national enrollment is booming.
2 million students are now attending American charter schools, according to an assessment in U.S. News and World Report. Moreover, the number of charter schools nationally has climbed to more than 5,600, and those schools have a combined total of about 400,000 prospective students trying to get it.
Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of NAPCS, explains to U.S. News that the idea for charters began in 1991. City Academy opened its doors the following year as an option for students who had dropped out or been expelled elsewhere.
The schools receive less government funding than their competitors, and that has been an obstacle as they try to keep up with parental demand, Wright says.
She encourages parents to select school environments that are best suited for their children's needs. With 2 million kids in charter school, though, it seems that plenty of parents are convinced that charters are offering a competitive choice.