Los Angeles Number One In Charter School Enrollment

But are they making a difference?

By Julianne Hing Jan 06, 2011

Last year the Los Angeles Unified School District had 65,000 students enrolled in charter schools, more than any other district in the country, the Los Angeles Times reported. One in ten LAUSD students goes to school in a charter school, publicly supported but independently run schools that are not subject to the same regulations that public schools must abide by.

By straight percentages though, New Orleans Public School System and the District of Columbia Public Schools lead the country with a whopping 61 percent and 38 percent of students enrolled in public schools, respectively. Not surprisingly, all three districts serve high concentrations of students of color and low-income families. LAUSD’s enrollment is 73 percent Latino and 10 percent black. Nearly 70 percent are officially classified as "economically disadvantaged." In Los Angeles, charter school enrollment increased last year even though enrollment across the district overall declined.

The Obama administration considers charter schools one prong of the solution to the nation’s struggling education system, even though their success is extremely varied, and they generally do not outperform actual public schools. Currently, three percent of the nation’s students are enrolled in charter schools.