California led the nation in charter school growth this year, according to a report released today by The Center for Education Reform, a pro-charter group.
California added 114 new charters in the 2010-2011 school year - the most among the 41 states and the District of Columbia included in the count -- bringing the number of charter schools in the state to 941. The number of charter schools nationwide grew by 9 percent, to 5,453 schools serving an estimated 1.7 million students, according to the report.
The state's charter growth was a central issue in the debate over the Race to the Top education reform laws passed early this year. The state's teachers' unions have largely opposed the expansion of charter schools, arguing the privately-run public schools, which are typically not unionized, are not subject to the same regulations as public schools. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Obama administration and several non-profit education groups have pushed for reforms that would make it easier to establish and grow charters, saying charters provide more choice and local control for parents and students.
UPDATE 9 a.m Nov. 10.: The California Charter Schools Association has released slightly different numbers for the state's charter school count. They say the state opened 115 new schools, bringing the total to 912.
Read the full report here.