From the desk of the President
By Eileen Sigmund
Reflecting back on 2017, we wanted to highlight how the Arizona Charter Schools Association has worked with our charter community to advance opportunities for our 185,900 students and 556 schools across Arizona.
For decades, our state has been a national leader in education freedom – the radical concept that parents know their own children best and should be empowered to select a school for them that is the right fit.
Parents are using that fundamental right as nearly 1 in 2 K-8 students in Maricopa County don’t attend the district school to which they were assigned based on home address. The Association was a partner in this first-of-its kind research. The actual number is almost certainly higher as we only looked at district and charter school students and didn’t take into account those who are homeschooled, attend private or online schools, or are enrolled in high school.
Charters and choice are the new norm.
Charter school growth is on the rise, with an increase of over 10,000 students – or 5.9 percent – over the 2015-16 school year. The Association helped support this growth though policy, advocacy, and directly coaching new charter leaders to help them open their doors, and existing leaders to expand their reach.
The movement has flourished into a thriving sector, and education continues to be the top priority for voters and state leaders. Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona’s legislature came together in 2017 to put additional money in the classroom and fund schools based on student outcomes.
While this report covers only a few of our achievements, we know more work remains as thousands of families are still waiting for a high quality school. The challenges to expand our charter sector to meet the needs of these families remain in front of us. But to each leader, teacher and charter supporter working daily to improve the lives of our students and lift up communities across Arizona through quality schools, we say thank you.
The Arizona Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit membership and professional organization that advocates for and strengthens the autonomy, equity, and quality of Arizona’s diverse public charter schools. Founded in 1995, the Association has dedicated its existence to supporting Arizona’s thriving public charter sector. This annual report is a summation of our efforts to improve the landscape for the state’s charter schools, families and students.