ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – More Missouri parents are choosing to send their children to charter schools.

Doug Thaman, Executive Director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association, says in the Kansas City School District, enrollment has increased nearly 35 percent last year.

In St. Louis, meanwhile, “the enrollment in charter schools has increased,” according to Thaman. “Currently, there are just over 8,400 [St. Louis] students enrolled in charter schools,” he said.

One in three public school students are in one of twenty-one area charter schools. Thaman said that number, in total, is down following the closure of six Imagine Schools in the city but is still higher than most previous years and he doesn’t view that closure as a bruise on the image of charter schools, saying that it was a sign of the schools performing as they are designed to.

“Those schools that aren’t successful, while they’ve been staying open for years and years and years, providing sub-par education, actually are closed,” he said.

Thaman believes more parents are choosing charter schools in part because they “offer some innovative options.”

“You also have schools that are bringing public education back to neighborhoods where there really was a need for another choice for families,” he said.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that, for the first time, more than 100 of the nation’s nearly 14,000 public school districts have at least ten percent of their students enrolled in charter schools.


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