(The Center Square) – Charter school enrollment in Alabama is on the rise, a new report shows.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its report, “Changing Course: Public School Enrollment Shifts During the Pandemic,” which details the shift in enrollment to charter schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report shows enrollment shifts to charter schools was slow at first in Alabama but sped up during the pandemic.
Alabama enacted a charter school law in 2015, and the first schools didn’t open until 2017. While enrollment was slow as new schools opened, the state saw a significant uptick in enrollment through the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eight public charter schools opened in 2021 and 2022, the report shows, and have the ability to educate 4,100 students when full enrollment is reached.
A message to the state’s Department of Education seeking information on the number of charter schools currently in operation and student enrollment was not returned.
The report shows the charter schools are predominantly serving the Black community as a great number of the schools were providing in-person instruction where traditional public schools were not. The Magic City Acceptance Academy provides a “culturally affirming educational environment” where students are urged to embrace education, attain individual success, and take ownership in their future.
Despite having a smaller charter school sector, the release said, Alabama has a higher number of innovative school models, featuring one school with a focus on aviation and aerospace. Another charter school provides a service-oriented model and another features project-based learning.
An earlier report from the organization showed that across the nation there was an increase of 240,000 students enrolled in charter schools during the pandemic.