Report Finds Number of Students Enrolled in Charter Schools Has Nearly Quadrupled Since 1999

The “Condition of Education 2010” report, released May 27, 2010 by the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES), found that from 1999 to 2008, the number of students enrolled in charter schools has nearly quadrupled, from 340,000 to 1.3 million students. During this period, the percentage of all public schools that were charter schools increased from 2 to 5 percent.

The report is an annual statistical portrait of the state of education in the United States. It charts education trends and measures all aspects of U.S. education, from early childhood education and student achievement levels to post-secondary education and teacher issues. AIR experts played a major role in developing the indicators found in the report; researching, analyzing, and writing findings; and producing the report. Some of the report’s highlights include:

  • The reading achievement gap between 8th-grade students in low-poverty vs. high-poverty schools was 34 points, on a 500 point scale, in 2009, and the mathematics achievement gap was 38 points.
  • The percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds who completed a bachelor's degree increased from 17 percent in 1971 to 29 percent in 2009. During this same period, bachelor's degree attainment more than doubled for Blacks (from 7 to 19 percent) and Hispanics (from 5 to 12 percent) and nearly doubled for Whites (from 19 to 37 percent).
  • The number of U.S. college students studying abroad has quadrupled in the past two decades, from 62,000 in 1987-88 to more than 260,000 students in 2007-08.

The full report is available online at