Charter School Demand in Mass. Disputed

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A state tally showing more than 53,000 students on charter school waiting lists is overstating demand, according to a Globe review of state data.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in tallying the waiting lists statewide and for many individual communities, including Boston, frequently counts the same students more than once.

That’s because the state simply adds up the waiting lists from each charter school without collecting individual names to learn whether a student appears on more than one list or, in fact, may be enrolled at another charter school.

Charter school leaders have been seizing on the large number of students on the waiting lists as evidence of soaring popularity for the schools and the need for more of them.

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