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Charter Schools Thrive in St. Louis

Article excerpt

St. Louis was one of the top five districts in the nation for highest percentage charter school enrollment in the 2011-12 school year, according to a new report.

At 31 percent, the enrollment for the previous school year pushed St. Louis into a small group of districts nationwide that have more 30 percent of public school students enrolled in public charter schools. That group is New Orleans, Detroit, Washington, Kansas City, Flint, Mich. and Gary, Ind., which tied with St. Louis, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In the previous year's report, St. Louis was number seven in the nation with 29 percent.

"Parents make decisions with their feet," said Doug Thaman, executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association. "I think it says that the importance of allowing parents choice is supported." Charter schools are intended to provide parents with a better alternative to struggling urban schools. So far, most charter schools have performed worse than St. Louis Public Schools in the annual Missouri Assessment Program. …