109 New Charter Schools Open in California Leading to 17% Growth in Charters

November 15, 2012

  • Print
In the fall of 2012-13, California saw 109 new charter schools opening their doors at the beginning of the school year. The number of new schools pushed the total of charter schools in California to 1,065, the largest number of charters in any state in the country. California charter student enrollment grew more than 17% in 2012-13 such that charters now serve more than 484,083 students statewide. This growth comes despite intense funding, facilities and authorizing challenges faced by charter schools.

Los Angeles County had the largest charter school growth with 40 new charters, followed by 12 new charters in Sonoma County, ten in San Diego County, and six in Alameda County. Despite this unprecedented level of growth, we estimate that more than 70,000 students were on charter school waiting lists across the state for the 2011-12 school year, clearly indicating that many more families would chose the charter public school option if there was sufficient space to serve them.

Not only is parent demand increasing for charters, but the public's perception of charter schools is unquestionably positive. In a 2012 statewide poll of California voters, 49.3% of respondents favor charter schools. And respondents continue to assign substantially higher grades (an A or B) to charter schools and CA teachers than to CA public schools and teachers unions.*

In order to meet this parental demand for choice and the public's desire for more high quality public educational options for families, three key things must be addressed in California: the funding inequity which results in charter school students being funded at lower levels than their traditional public school counterparts, the lack of equitable facilities for charter school students, and restrictive and hostile authorizing environments such as LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer's recent resolution limiting parent choice.

CCSA's statewide public opinion poll was conducted by Val Smith Ph.D. with SmithJohnson Research using the enhanced voter file in August 2012. The sample size was weighted to 800 statewide completed interviews. The sampling error was less than +/- 3.47% 800 sample (95% confidence level).

Add a comment