From Memberanda, Summer 2011
A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that a decade of growth in school options has led to significant shifts in where American students obtain their education, according to the Associated Press.
Charters served 1.4 million students in 2008-2009, up from 340,000 at the start of the decade; some predict charter enrollment could reach three million by 2015. At the same time, traditional public schools have seen a rise in test scores over the past eight years, making them more attractive.
Sarah Sparks of Education Week noted that the report showed enrollment in private religious schools has declined sharply since the economic downturn. Private school enrollment fell from a high of 6.3 million students in 2001-2002 to 5.5 million in 2009-2010. Overall, private schools served about 10% of the nation’s K-12 students in 2009-2010, down from a high of 12% in 1996. During the same period, public school enrollment increased by 2.1 million students, reaching 49.3 million in 2009. The dip in private school enrollment stemmed from declines in Catholic schools, which have lost 510,000 students since 2002, as well as in schools designated by NCES statisticians as conservative Christian and/or religious-affiliated. Enrollment in independent and non-religious private schools held steady over the same time period.
See the report: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2011033