November 2014 CEO Message

November 18, 2014

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Year after year, we see more parents demanding high quality school choice options for their children. This year is no exception. We now know that an estimated 547,800 students are enrolled in charter public schools across the state for the 2014-15 school year. Also this year, an additional 87 new charter schools opened their doors, bringing the total number of charters in California to 1,184. You can read more about our growth and download a sharable Fact Sheet in our 2014 New Schools Announcement.

Charter enrollment grew by an estimated 33,525 increase this year, or 7%. And the Los Angeles region had the largest charter school growth with 33 new charters opening. The second largest growth area is in the Northeast and Central Valley region (22 schools), including 5 new charters in San Joaquin county and 3 new charters in Sacramento county.

Perhaps most exciting is the fact that more new schools are opening as autonomous charter public schools, making the most of the flexibility and autonomy that charters offer by doing whatever it takes to meet the individual needs of their students. And California remains the state with the greatest number of charter public schools, and the most students enrolled in charters, anywhere in the country.

While momentum in California's charter movement builds, we are unable to keep up with parental demand as the list of students waiting to attend charter schools grows. A record 91,000 students are on charter school waiting lists in California, proving that more families would choose the charter public school option if there were sufficient space to serve them.

Evidence over the past five years argues that the public has never been more supportive of charter public schools than they are right now based on growth in charter school enrollment, waiting list numbers, and polling data. This growth in support has happened during a period when charter public schools have been held more accountable than traditional public schools and have strengthened their performance, especially with historically underserved students. As California's charter school movement continues to build momentum, the need for improved facilities solutions and a more favorable authorizing environment also increases.

Charters are getting academic results. That fact is undeniable. We see that the number of charter schools making gains in student achievement are growing. At the same time, charters that aren't succeeding with students are closing. Of the 34 charters that closed in 2013-14, over half were among the lowest performing charters in the state.

Taken together, tens of thousands of California's students are being educated in better performing charter schools than just five years ago. Now that is something to celebrate.

Thank you for all that you do to make California's charter movement a success.


Jed Wallace
President and CEO

P.S. I challenge you to share your story of charter school success and submit your video to the One Movement. Many Voices. (OMMV) Video Contest! We are less than one month away from the submission deadline on December 15. Participating is easy. And there is a great online Toolkit that offers tools and resources to help get you started.