THE PROBLEM: Demand for charter schools in Missouri is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, for practical purposes charter schools are limited to the Kansas City and Saint Louis School Districts. Establishing a charter school is nearly impossible in any district that meets minimum state accreditation requirements. Tens of thousands of students are denied the opportunity for a better education.
THE SOLUTION: Expand charter schools statewide.
Charter schools should be allowed in districts regardless of whether the district meets minimum state accreditation standards. Per-student funding should be the same for both charter school and traditional public school students. Demand among families and charter school authorizers like universities should determine where and when charter schools open in Missouri.
WHO ELSE DOES IT?
Over 6,900 charter schools operate in 43 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than 3.1 million students. States like Indiana place no caps on the number of charter schools and fund charters and traditional public schools at equal or nearly equal levels. Unlike Missouri, almost all other states allow charter schools to operate anywhere.
THE OPPORTUNITY: Charter schools are growing. Over 23,000 students enrolled in charter schools in Missouri for the 2016–2017 school year—an 11% increase from the previous year. University Academy, one of the top-performing charter schools in the state, has a waitlist of 700 students. The demand is there. Simply by getting government out of the way, we can offer students a way out of underperforming schools and into schools they want to attend.
- Thousands of Missouri students are trapped in poor schools due to needless restrictions on school choice.
- Allowing charter school expansion will meet demand from families, not bureaucrats.
- School choice has a proven track record elsewhere in the country.
SHOW-ME INSTITUTE RESOURCES
Blog Post: Charter Schools Boost College Completion
For a printable version of this article, click on the link below. You can also view the entire 2018 Missouri Blueprint online.