If charter schools are poised to grow in Michigan, they’ve already exploded in Arizona.
Neighboring California leads the nation in sheer numbers of charter schools, but Arizona has everyone beat on percentages – a quarter of Arizona's public schools are charters, growth that accelerated after the state lifted its charter cap in 1999.
“We had huge growth in the 2000s,” said Eileen Sigmund, president of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Our population was booming, and our school structure couldn't keep up. It was about choice. ‘Let a thousand flowers bloom.’ We were trying to get great leaders to open great schools. Choice dominated. Now the pendulum has swung (as growth has abated during the recession). Now it’s all about good choice.”
And it’s all about the things that accompany any free market where consumers vote with their dollars.