Florida remains the leader in public school options, fresh federal data suggest.
The state was home to 653 charter schools and 536 magnet schools during the 2015-16 school year. That means more than 27 percent of the state’s public schools were either magnet or charter. No state had a higher combined percentage of the two options.
Indeed, the Sunshine State has more magnet schools than any other state in the country, both in sheer numbers and as a percentage of public schools.
There may be some quirks in the data tracked by the U.S. Education Department. Previous reports showed Arizona had a handful of magnet schools. This year’s report suggests it has none. But Florida would remain the champ either way.
It’s likely choice begets more choice, as districts expand magnet programs in response to competition from charters.
Arizona does have another form of public school choice — an open-enrollment policy that’s unleashed competition across district lines. Within-district open enrollment is already one of the most widely used forms of school choice in Florida. A new policy expanding public school choice across districts lines, however, has just taken effect this school year.