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Current Trends and Issues

Charter Schools

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are run independently from the local school district. These schools are not required to follow many of the regulations imposed upon other public schools—such as hiring certified teachers. The charter school movement began to gain momentum in the early 1990s, when many states passed laws allowing for their creation. Since then, the number of charter schools and the number of students enrolled in charter schools has grown. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the 2000–2001 school year, there were 2,000 public charter schools with 400,000 students enrolled. As of the 2021–2022 school year, that number had grown to nearly 7,800 public charter schools with about 3.7 million enrolled students.

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