A 2005 report by the Center for Education Reform found that charter schools make up 4% of public schools in the United States and have seen an increase of 13% in one year as well. While these statistics are encouraging to those who support charter schools, more must be done to encourage an increase in enrollment. If you want to help increase the growth of charter schools in your area, follow the steps below.
- Educate and inform the public. While this growth gives evidence that charter schools are here to stay, the slow increase in enrollment for many schools is basically due to a lack of knowledge by the general public. Each state's department of education must take an active role in educating and informing the public as to the definition and benefits of a charter school, if these numbers are to continue to rise.
- Work the media. Public relations play a very important role in raising awareness of the positive benefits of public schools. The school board of the governing district, the superintendent of the schools, and school administrators should all take an active interest in promoting the reputation of a charter school. Administrators should contact local media and invite reporters to take a look at what is going on in their schools. They should also release any positive data results to the media as well. Don't forget to encourage parents, faculty members, and administration to write encouraging letters to the editor of your local newspaper, too.
- Use the data available. Data results regarding charter schools' graduation rates, achievement awards, and scholarship opportunities should also be shared with the media and the public. Administrators should include any university studies that find a correlation between charter school graduates and academic honor students.
- Maintain parent/faculty relationships. Parents want to know what is going on in their children's education. For those parents of students already enrolled in a charter school, it is important to keep them abreast of school news. This should include the results of new studies, students' achievements, and any new programs that may be available. Don't forget to include any news clips in support of charter schools.
- Don't forget politics. Because most charter schools are publicly funded, it is imperative that lawmakers and other noteworthy politicians become involved in education through charter schools. Don't just settle for notifying your mayor or city council. Be sure your school develops a relationship with state legislators. They may be able to help your school find more funding to increase the number of programs and extracurricular activities that could be offered to your students. If they've already helped your school, be sure you follow up with thank you notes, and continue to share information with them about your school's progress.
- School Fairs. Finally, don't be afraid to showcase your school to your community. Host a school fair, and invite the public to attend. Feature exhibits from your school's various clubs and organizations. Hand out pamphlets that offer information on your school, and be sure you have students, faculty, and parents on hand to meet those who attend the fair.