A new national report lists three Georgia systems, Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb, among the top 50 school districts by number of charter school students, 2008-09. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools produced the report.
With nine percent of its students in charter schools, Fulton ranked 26th. Of Fulton’s 88,299 students, 7,782 attend charter schools.
Cobb ranks 40th on the list, with 5,659 students out of its 106,747 students attending charter schools.
DeKalb ranked 43rd on the list, with 5,365 students out of its 99,775 attending charter schools.
The fourth report by the alliance reflects the continued growth of public charter schools. Charter schools are supported by tax dollars like any other public school, but run according to a charter that the school itself designs, spelling out its philosophy and goals. A public school board or state commission must approve the charter school, but then gets out of the way, except to hold the school to the terms and time limits of the renewable charter.
The schools vary widely, from the conventional to the unstructured. But all are distinguished from other public schools by two things: autonomy and direct legal accountability to the school’s families and staff. If the schools fail to meet their promised achievement goals, they can be closed.
According to the report:
Today, a record 14 communities have more
than 20 percent of their public school students
enrolled in public charter schools, eight more
than the number from just three years ago.
Additionally, 72 communities now have at
least 10 nercent of public school students in charter
schools, 27 more than three year ago. These
numbers illustrate that charter enrollment
growth remains strong.