FLINT, Mich. - More than one-third of the students who live within Detroit Public Schools boundaries attended a public charter school in 2008-2009, a national report shows. In Flint, about 25 percent of the students attended charters and in Grand Rapids, 17 percent.

Writing about The National Alliance for Public Charters annual report, The Flint Journal noted that Flint ranks eighth in the nation in terms of the percentage of students attending charters. Detroit is third, according to the report, and Grand Rapids ranked 14th, along with four other districts.

New Orleans was No. 1, the report said, where 57 percent of students assigned to the New Orleans Public School System attend charter schools instead.

A Flint Journal review of enrollment at the 10 charter public schools in Genesee County showed a combined increase of 500 students over the previous year. International Academy of Flint gained 100 students alone, and no charter school lost enrollment, the report said.

Enrollment in Flint Community Schools dropped by nearly 1,500 students during the same time period, and has declined 30 percent overall in the past five years, The Journal reported.

Parents gave the following reasons for choosing charter schools: disciplined environments, uniform requirements, family-like atmosphere, small class size, one-on-one attention and challenging curriculum, The Journal reported.

A Flint schools spokesman told The Journal that the district is encouraged that 2009 fall enrollment was several hundred students higher than projected and that it is focusing on delivering a high-quality education as a way of attracting parents.

SOURCES:
The Flint Journal, "Flint ranked No. 8 in nation for percentage of students who live within Flint School District boundaries but attend charter schools," Nov. 12, 2009

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Top 10 Charter Communities by Market Share," October 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Charter report favorable, state board wants more," Feb. 24, 2009

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