|Charter schools buoyed by pandemic gains|
Charter school enrollment has held firm since soaring in the early days of the pandemic, according to a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Debbie Veney, one the report’s authors, who believes the pandemic has “spurred parents to become more involved in the way that their kids were being educated,” says the steadying trend shows the initial enrollment jump was not just a fluke. Between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, charter schools saw their enrollment jump more than 7%, an increase of nearly 240,000 students nationwide, at the same time that public school districts lost more than 1.4m students. A year later, enrollment numbers at charter schools fell by just a fraction, according to the report, a decrease of about 1,400 students. In Oklahoma, for example, nearly 22,000 students left charter schools in the most recent school year — more than a quarter of the state’s overall charter school population and over half of the prior year’s enrollment spike. That drop was offset by other states like Florida, where just over 20,000 new students entered the charter system, increasing the state’s charter population by about 6%.