The next time an elected official or candidate for public office thinks it politically expedient to bash the choices of parents/families regarding where or how they choose to educate their children, consider these numbers in Little Rock alone:
- 4,076 students are enrolled in open-enrollment public charter schools in the Little Rock School District footprint.
- If enrollment of each unique, autonomous charter school were combined, it would rank as the 23rd largest district in Arkansas – between Searcy and Jacksonville.
- 2,221 (55%) charter students are African-American.
- 636 (16%) charter students are Hispanic.
- Only 894 (22%) of 4,076 charter students are White.
- Only two public schools in the LRSD footprint have zero White students. Both are charter schools.
- Only two public schools in the LRSD footprint are 70% or more White. Both are LRSD schools.
And in Pulaski County:
- Nearly one in three resident K-12 students are not educated in traditional public schools.
- Approximately 15,050 (21.5%) of the school age population (est. 70,000) are in private/independent schools (18.5%) or home school (3%).
- The annual savings to the state not to educate 21.5% of students in Pulaski County is $100,835,000.
There are those who believe all students should attend only schools provided by school districts. And there are those who believe how and where a student is educated is best decided by parents/guardians. The latter value all choices – traditional, charter, private/independent, home. The former scorn any choice not traditional.
Some politicians may hate choice and/or pander to those who do, but they should consider the consequences of vilifying where an increasing number of their constituents choose to educate their children.