In more than 75 meetings with congressional lawmakers, 41 public charter school leaders of color, including Sussex Academy Head of School Eric Anderson, delivered a message of equity, innovation and hope in public education during an event hosted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
“I believe in charter schools, because unlike districts, they can make localized decisions quickly to address the needs of the students they serve, versus being stifled by unnecessary bureaucracy,” Anderson said. “They also force districts out of complacency and raise the level of service for students in all schools.”
Anderson and other leaders from 21 states and the District of Columbia virtually advocated for these unique public schools, and their families and students, as well as for equitable funding for the Charter Schools Program, the only source of dedicated federal funding to support the growth of public charter schools.
According to the most recently available data (2019-20 school year) provided by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 69.7% of charter school students are students of color, compared to 52.9% of district school students, and 58.7% of charter school students participate in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program, compared to 51.6% of district school students.
Charter schools also employ more teachers of color and are more likely to be led by a person of color. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 32% of charter school teachers and 33.5% of charter school leaders are people of color compared to 20% and 21.4%, respectively, in district public schools.
Hundreds of thousands of families switched to charter schools during the first full year of the COVID pandemic, signaling strong demand for new public school options. According to the national alliance’s September 2021 report, Voting with Their Feet: A State-level Analysis of Public Charter School and District Public School Enrollment Trends, charter school enrollment increased 7% during the 2020-21 school year.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. For more information, go to publiccharters.org.