Many charter schools are facing long waiting lists far beyond what they are prepared to handle. Many charter schools do a random lottery to choose students because they simply have too many applications and not enough seats, but some believe that students’ fates should not ride on lottery balls.
Why do so many parents desperately want to get their children into public charter schools? Public charter schools have been shown to improve a student’s chance of success, according to an article on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) website.
The quality of education and a student’s overall performance at a charter school is better than at a traditional public school, studies show — and this is especially true for low income families, immigrant families, and minority students. Students like these tend to live in areas with poorer schools that provide a lower rate education:
“It’s no surprise that parents are clamoring for the opportunity to send their children to a high-performing public charter school,” says NAPCS CEO Nina Rees. “Study and after study shows that public charter schools are beating the odds by helping our nation’s most disadvantaged students pursue their dreams. Because of charter schools, more students are graduating, attending college, and going on to earn higher incomes. We must end the waiting list so that every student who wants to has the opportunity to attend a high-quality charter school.”
This is why charter schools are finding it impossible to keep up with the large demand for their services. According to this year’s estimate, the number of charter school applicants is 123,304 higher than last year’s estimate of 920,007, which is a growth rate of 13 percent, reports the NAPCS website. The current waiting list estimate has risen by 186 percent, since the 2008-09 school year. Many states, like California and New York, have now more than 150,000 student applications on waiting lists. It is estimated that 580,000 students are waiting to get in charter schools across the country. Many students apply to multiple charter schools to increase their chances and in hopes of getting in one.
The NAPCS takes as an example in their report a student named Jose Serrano, who is a 2014 graduate from Noble Street College Prep in Chicago. He is the son of a single mother in a low-income household. Jose was just recently enrolled into Stanford University on a full scholarship to major in astrophysics. His great success story is the Noble Street charter school’s goal for all of their students: to overcome the odds against them and to make certain their pupils excel.
To help with the issue of the growing waiting list, the NAPCS wants an increase in federal funding for charter schools, reports the NAPCS website. The federal Charter Schools Program is the only devoted source of funds solely for the purpose of starting the creation of new charter schools and to assist well established charter schools to grow or even open brand new buildings.
Currently, the Charter Schools Program is funded at $248 million, which is less than 1 percent of national spending on pre-college education. However, 5% of all American students are enrolled in charter schools. The National Alliance has asked for spending to increase to $330 million.