AZ still leading the nation in charter school growth

| July 8, 2015

By David Yankus • Eloy EnterpriseFlorence Reminder & Blade-Tribune

PHOENIX — What started as a new and innovative, at the time perhaps radical, idea more than two decades ago has developed into one of the fastest growing and most popular ways to educate the country’s youth.

Charter schools started in part because many parents wanted a greater say in how their children were educated. Parents felt they wanted to choose what was best for their kids, who maybe did not jibe with the “one-size-fits-all” traditional public school.

“This is where parents and families can say, one-size-fits-all is not how my child learns, it’s not going to prepare my child for the workforce or for college,” Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO Eileen Sigmund said. “They’re looking for a more unique opportunity and that’s what charter schools offer.”

The Arizona Legislature authorized charter schools in 1994, and the first charters opened the following school year, giving parents academic choices for their children and providing a learning environment that is intended to improve student achievement.

Arizona continues to lead the nation in charter school growth and has one of the highest percentages of students attending a public charter school. The Grand Canyon State has 618 charter schools with more than 190,000 students. About 31 percent of the state’s public schools are charter schools, and about 17 percent of the state’s public students attend a charter.

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Category: Education

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