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In New Hampshire, we tend to see charters as locally grown alternative schools for a few students with special needs or special talents. Many of us have children or neighbors who may have benefitted from a charter school.
But if you stand back and look at the charter school movement in the United States, the picture is much different. Although overall charter school performance is essentially the same as that of traditional public schools, the opportunity to create a privately managed school with public funding has, with heavy promotion from the U.S. Department of Education, led to high growth in charter enrollments. There are now almost 3 million charter school students in the U.S., double the number in the 2007/8 school year. One third of the schools, with 44% of the students, are managed by multi-school management organizations. (Just over half of those are for-profit.).