A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Cross your fingers
A student hopes to be selected by a charter school lottery.

Parents are demanding more public charter schools according an annual survey conducted by the Center for Education Reform. While demand grew by 21 percent over the last year, there aren't enough charters to meet demand, often due to legislatively imposed caps. For every public charter school in the country, there are 239 students denied the opportunity to attend.

In Michigan, two-thirds of charter schools have waiting lists, which adds up to an estimated 13,000 students. New legislation allows for the creation of a limited number of new public charters, but a cap on the number of school authorized by public universities remains in place. Enrollment numbers show that when given the opportunity, more parents would like to choose their children's school, rather than see them assigned by ZIP code.

For many parents, public charter schools are seen as an escape from underperforming or unsafe schools. Legislative limits on the growth of charters and subsequent waiting lists force parents to submit their children into a lottery to determine if they'll get to exercise their choice for a better educational option. For these parents, pure chance is their only ticket out of failing schools.

This video shows a public charter school lottery in Boston.

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