Charter public schools score well in new U.S. News “Best High Schools National Rankings”

Charter public schools across the country continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in boosting student achievement. From U.S. News and World Report:

Charter schools and magnet schools account for nine of the top 10 public high schools in the country, according to the 2017 U.S. News Best High Schools National Rankings, and represent 60 percent of the top 100 schools in the ranking – that’s despite representing a combined 16 percent of the 6,000 medal-winning schools.

As the magazine points out, support for these alternatives to traditional public schools is growing.

Charter and magnet schools have historically done well in the rankings because of the emphasis they place on college readiness and college-level courses – one part of U.S. News’ methodology. But their prominence in the rankings comes as the sectors are booming. Charter schools, in particular, have seen an explosion in growth over the past decade – a 100 percent increase in the number of students enrolled since the 2007-2008 school year.

 Nearly 2.7 million students were enrolled in charter schools during the 2014-2015 school year, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The 6,600-school sector is present in all but six states that don’t have charter school laws on the books.
The growth is unsurprising.

“Charter schools continue to be one of the most popular reform strategies there is,” says Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think-tanks that supports the expansion of charter schools. 

“It has this built-in positive which is it has created a powerful political bloc of parents who like their charter schools and will defend them if they are threatened, and that’s something new in education reform,” he says. “It’s not just a bunch of policy wonks pushing them. That makes it something that’s quite sustainable politically, and I think we’ll continue to see it grow.”

We saw that support in Washington state when the schools were challenged. Here are some great stories about what charter public schools mean to families, posted on the website of the Washington State Charter Schools Association website.

 About the rankings,

The U.S News rankings assesses more than 22,000 eligible high schools, a list that’s whittled down to about 6,000 medal-winning schools by taking into account a variety of factors, such as graduation rates, performance on state assessments and student participation in and performance on Advanced Placement tests. 

Here’s the list of the top 10 high schools in Washington, according to U.S. News. (Full list here.)