Putting Education Reform To The Test

By The Numbers: Charter Schools Gaining Market Share In Florida


More than 2 million students nationwide attend charter schools.

Charter schools are an increasingly popular choice in Florida, as more students leave the traditional classroom.

More than 200,000 students are currently enrolled in 574 charter schools in Florida.

Charters can be found in 44 Florida districts.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has released its annual report tracking charter school enrollment.

Florida doesn’t have any districts listed among those serving the highest percentage of public charter school students, but the percentage of students attending charter schools is increasing.

Florida has two of the Top 10 Districts With the Highest Growth of Public Charter School Students: 

2. Hillsborough County Public Schools

6. Broward County Public Schools

Florida has two of the Top 10 Districts Serving the Highest Number of Public Charter School Students:

6. Miami-Dade County Public Schools

10. Broward County Public Schools

Interesting findings from the 2011-2012 report:

  • 76 percent of public school students in New Orleans attended public charter schools.
  • There are now 110 school districts with at least a 10 percent market share of charter school students. 25 districts have a 20 percent market share.
  • High charter school market share is more prevalent in the Midwest and Northeast, while significant growth is happening in the South and West.

Florida districts with at least a 10% market share of students in charters:

Lee County Public Schools – 14% of the district’s 83,896 students are enrolled in charters

Broward County Public Schools – 12% of 259,133 students

Lake County Schools – 12% of 41,315 students

Miami-Dade County Public Schools – 12% of 350,227 students

Polk County Public Schools – 12% of 96,034 students

Sarasota County Schools – 12% of 41,076 students

Indian River County District – 11% of 17,962 students

Osceola County District – 10% of 54,776 students

The report looked at the market share in districts with more than 10,000 public school students in the 2011-2012 school year. Data was gathered from state department of education databases and personnel.


  • DrBillLemoine

    Popularity of charter schools isn’t a gauge of their effectiveness. All the evidence I’ve seen so far shows that results are not clearly superior to regular public schools despite selective admissions of students and faculty. It’s commonly believed on the political right that choice alone yields better student achievement. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact private management alone, detachment from public school district politics doesn’t guarantee better results for students or better faculty selection.

    As long as common belief without proof leans toward more enrollments or popularity of charters, we can’t tell if siphoning off public funds for charters is efficient and effective expenditure of tax dollars. Plus there is no related move toward merit pay in charters for either managers or teachers, only that absence of unions indicates to some that teachers aren’t protected from discipline or firing and teacher money doesn’t results in collective negotiations for pay.

    There’s some attractiveness in new charter schools. People believe that choice improves schooling, but there’s relative little evidence to prove it. When state politicians bank on charter schools improving student performance without measurement, it’s a conservative or right wing campaign point without proof. When they suggest that better teaching occurs in charters because private enterprise hires them, it’s another campaign truism without proof. There’s no evidence that private managers hire better teachers than public school principals and boards. So lets celebrate achievement and performance, but insist that results be documented and researched to prove cause and effect. It’s been done–research, proof–but not much on charters.

  • Dr. Lemoine makes several inaccurate statements that are consistently reiterated. The Florida Department of Education just published a thorough report that showed public charter schools consistently outperform traditional public schools in almost every category. Regardless of the report – a great charter school and a great traditional school are excellent options for students. The key word here is option.

    Charter schools may not choose their students. Charter schools are held to the exact same regulations as public schools. All students are given equal access to public charter schools as they are to traditional public schools.

    We agree that there is no guarantee that a private enterprise will hire a better teacher. What is missing in his discussion however is that in a public charter school, poor performing teachers are not offered contracts to continue teaching. In a traditional public schools, poor performing teachers are protected by tenure and unions.

    Parents are choosing charter schools because they want better results. Period. If they don’t get a better result at a charter school, they will move their child to a different school. Charter schools are under much greater pressure to perform. If they don’t, students will leave and eventually, the school will be shut down. Traditional public schools do not have that level of accountability.

  • jrgfla

    Great progress – let the kids win!

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