charter school growth Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

U.S. House proposes Charter Schools Program funding increase

By Legislation, News

More federal funding may be coming to support charter school growth nationwide. Congressional lawmakers have proposed a $10 million FY 25 funding increase for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). CSP helps with start-up funding, charter expansion, and more.

This increase is modest but still encouraging, since the program has been level-funded at $440 million since 2019. Moreover, President Biden’s proposed FY 25 budget included a $40 million cut to program funding.

In response to the proposed funding increase, Eric Paisner, the acting CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released this statement:

We thank the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee members for recognizing the value and educational opportunity public charter schools provide to families across the nation by putting forth a proposed increase of $10 million to the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). The CSP is the nation’s only source of dedicated federal funding for the creation of high-quality and in-demand public charter schools.  

Given the strong support for charter schools from families, CSP funding helps to meet the growing demand for charter schools and help serve America’s students and families with more high-quality public education options. Charter schools are the only type of public schools that have seen enrollment growth over the past five years. 

We are very grateful for this support and had also hoped to see an increase in Title I funding for schools that serve low-income families. Charter schools are unique public schools that overwhelmingly serve students who are Black, Brown, or from low-income families. The majority of charter school students are Title I students. 

Charter schools will surely benefit from increased funding for the CSP, but our schools would also be negatively impacted by a cut in Title I funding. 

Read more about the Charter Schools Program. View the Alliance’s 2024 impact report for the Charter Schools Program.


WUNC Reports on Declining District Market Share, Charter Growth

By News

A new article from WUNC examines shifting enrollment trends in North Carolina. The article, “Where do NC students go to school? Trends show decline at traditional public schools,” provides some excellent charts that illustrate substantial K-12 enrollment change over the past decade.

As the article reports, non-district school models (including public charters) continue to increase their share of the K-12 market. (Read more about charters’ growing market share here, here, and here.)  Meanwhile, the percentage of students enrolled in district public schools has fallen from 85.1% in Fall 2013 to 76.6% in Fall 2022. WUNC captures in the charts below what such trends have looked like over time in NC:

Source: WUNC, “Where do NC students go to school? Trends show decline at traditional public schools,” December 28, 2023.

Source: WUNC.

Reasons for change

Why are more families choosing non-district options? The WUNC article quotes Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis, who said, “Sometimes a child’s district school is perfect for them, but sometimes it just isn’t a great fit, and that can be for a lot of reasons.” About charter schools and district schools, she noted, “They’re all public schools and I see them as complementing, not competing, with one another.”

Read the full WUNC article.


National report: NC’s charter growth is third-highest in the nation

By News

A new report out today from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reveals North Carolina has experienced the third-highest charter growth of any state in the nation since 2019. The report, “Believing in Public Education,” includes four years of data (2019-2023) for 42 states, analyzing enrollment shifts fueled by the pandemic. Texas, Florida, and North Carolina lead the nation in charter growth, according to the Alliance report.

Nationally, charter schools have continued to grow since the pandemic. District schools, however, have not recovered from a dramatic enrollment downturn early on in the pandemic. Since 2019, 1.5 million students have left district public schools, while over 300,000 additional students have enrolled in the nation’s public charter schools. This represents a 9% enrollment increase for charter schools and a “net loss of 3.5%” for district public schools, according to the report.

North Carolina findings

  • North Carolina has experienced an 18.81% charter enrollment increase since 2019. Between 2019 and 2023, 22,308 additional students enrolled in N.C. public charter schools. District school enrollment, on the other hand, decreased by 2.89%, according to the Alliance report.
  • Black and Hispanic students are driving the state’s uptick in charter enrollment. They accounted for a larger share of North Carolina’s charter school enrollment increase, with 20.45% and 36.89% growth, respectively.

National findings

  • Hispanic students are driving charter growth across the country. They account for 50% of all new charter students nationwide since 2019.
  • Charter enrollment increases represent a national trend. Of the 42 states included in the Alliance analysis, 40 have experienced charter school growth since 2019.
  • Last year, charter schools added students at exponentially higher rates than district schools. The study reports nationwide that “charter schools enrolled nearly ten times the number of new students as district schools in the last school year.”

In a press release, Lindalyn Kakadelis, the executive director of the Coalition, said:

North Carolina has embraced the idea that parents deserve a choice in their children’s schooling, and parents are responding. Importantly, the state’s charter movement also continues to diversify as it grows, as this report makes clear. Public charter schools offer something different, from innovative curricula to concentrations in STEM, the arts, and more – representing an appealing option for families across demographic groups.

This table from the Alliance report captures enrollment shifts across the country between 2019-2023.

Source: “Believing in Public Education: A Demographic and State-level Analysis of Public Charter School and District Public School Enrollment Trends,” National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, December 12, 2023.

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