Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Don't Believe It!

This new report on charter school market share done by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says that Colorado's Adams County School District 50 has the highest percentage of charter schools in the state. I don't believe it.

Adams 50, in Westminster, has one charter school: Crown Pointe Academy. Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, authorized by the state Charter School Institute (CSI), sits within the Adams 50 School District boundaries, but their students would be counted with CSI and not Adams 50. There's no way 2,770 students (22%) are in charter schools in Adams 50!

What does make sense is that the Brighton 27J school district is at 19%. The Brighton district has five charter schools and has creatively used charter schools to address community needs. Rather than going to the electorate for bond resources, the district has put charter schools in new communities in need of a school.

Closely following Brighton, at 18%, is the Falcon School District that serves the east side of Colorado Springs. Falcon has Banning Lewis Ranch (operated by Mosaica Education, Inc.), The Imagine Classical Academy at Indigo Ranch (operated by Imagine, Inc.), Rocky Mountain Classical Academy and Pikes Peak School of Expeditionary Learning. In addition, the Falcon School District has become an Innovation district, another indication that they seek creative solutions to address needs within the district.

You may wonder where the large school districts in Colorado fall in this report. Denver Public Schools (DPS) made the list with 11%, but the other large districts didn't even make the list. The two largest districts in the state are Jefferson County R-1 (~88,000) and DPS (~83,000). DPS has 34 charter schools, whereas Jeffco only has 13.

It's important to note that the NAPCS report is meant to highlight the districts that have used charter schools for the majority of their students. These include New Orleans, the District of Columbia, Detroit, and Kansas City, MO. A full 70% of students in New Orleans are in public charter schools.

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