This week is “National Charter Schools Week,” an opportunity to educate communities about the opportunities the charter school movement provides and celebrate the success of charter schools nation wide. Heritage scholar Dan Lips writes on charter schools in his paper School Choice: Policy Developments and National Participation Estimates in 2007–2008:
The proliferation of charter schools across the country is a primary reason for the increase in the percentage of children attending chosen public schools. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that agree to meet certain performance standards set by governing authorities but are otherwise free from the bureaucratic rules and regulations that encumber traditional public schools. In this sense, charter schools offer parents an alternative to traditional public schools.
The Center for Education Reform, a nonprofit organization that supports charter schools and school choice, reports that 40 states and the District of Columbia have charter schools. An estimated 1.2 million children are attending 4,147 charter schools across the country. In some communities, charter schools are becoming a central component of the public education system. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that 57 percent of students in New Orleans attend charter schools. In the District of Columbia and Dayton, Ohio, 27 percent of students attend charter schools. Only 10 states–Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia– do not have charter school laws.