Charter school enrollment grows nationwide and in Colorado, which now has 82,200 students

Categories: Education

Enrollment in charter schools is growing nationwide, as well as here in Colorado. More than two million students now attend charter schools in the U.S., a 13 percent increase from last year, according to numbers released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Colorado contributed to that growth by adding thirteen new schools and more than 8,000 new students over the past year.

Some of the estimated 82,200 charter school students in Colorado attend the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, a school in Westminster with high test scores. Recently released scores for 2011, however, show a slight dip in reading and math from 2010. This year, 83 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading, as opposed to 91 percent the year before, while 96 percent of students scored that way in math, as opposed to 98 percent. Still, the scores are impressive.

However, as explained in our cover story, "A Hard Line," the school also has more than its fair share of former teachers, one of whom recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school and its founder and principal, Marcos Martinez. She and others say Martinez rules the school with an iron fist and treats female teachers poorly.

Will the school's track record of lawsuits and complaints matter when its charter comes up for renewal next year? Colorado charter school-authorizers, including Denver Public Schools, haven't been shy about closing schools in the past -- which some say is a sign of a good authorizer. Nationwide, 152 schools did not re-open their doors this fall, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Next year, will RFMA be among them? Stay tuned.

More from our Education archives: "Ricardo Flores Magon Academy: Why was embattled school named for anarchist writer?"

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Yes, I agree with Eric. So much of our tax dollars go to schools like Ricardo Flores Magin Academy - who do not run their schools the way they should be running a school - treating staff poorly & terrozing children because no one to watch over them like CSI should be doing and CDE should be doing over CSI and the system fails. What is it going to take for this change? Why do our tax dollars have to go the schools that are like this one?! I would rather put my tax dollars to putting a process in place that get Marcos Martinez and Antonio Vigil's out of running schools and shut them down. People like this DO NOT have a place anywhere in the educational system! Until this changes - I promise I will vote NO on any education bills to place anymore tax dollars to education until CDE starts to produce CO. Safe Schools - public - private or otherwise!


That's a lot of tax money stolen from legitimate public schools.

The private education for profit con is winning this battle right now, and it's our childeren who suffer the consequences.

82,000 kids funneled out of the education system. A definite threat to the nation's ideal that everybody gets a good education.

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