“The most callused aspect of the current education monopoly in Arkansas is that it willingly and deliberately forces children–except those whose parents have wealth–to attend bad schools. And it does so with financial resources taken from parents already struggling financially and at the expense of their ability to choose a better school for their sons and daughters.” Policy Foundation report,1 September 1998


(February 2014) The Arkansas school choice market expanded from an estimated 59,860 K-12 students in 20112 to 66,627 in 2013, records show.


The growing niche market includes students participating in public school choice programs to flee failing Arkansas public schools. It also includes homeschooled students, and those enrolled at private and charter schools.


The Market for School Choice in Arkansas


School choice has advanced since Foundation analysts Allyson Tucker and Donna Watson wrote their 1996 study recommending charters.  The charter law was later expanded four times and 16,8553 students attend open-enrollment and district-conversion charters in the 2013-14 school year.


Charters are only one segment of the Arkansas school choice market:


         Charter school students                      16,855

         Public school choice students            13,3404

         Homeschooled students                     17,2155

         Private school students                       19,2176

Total (2013)                                        66,627


–Greg Kaza

1 “Arkansas’ Public Schools: A Thirty Year $20 Billion Taxpayer Investment Yields An Unprecedented Crisis in Academic Performance.” The study is dedicated to the late Karen L. Henry (1951-1998), a Policy Foundation board member, Murphy Commission Education Team co-chair, and passionate crusader for education reform.

2  Policy Foundation research memo (December 2012), “Advancing School Choice in Arkansas.

3 State Department of Education communication to Policy Foundation, January 31, 2014.

4 State Department of Education communication to Policy Foundation, February 19, 2014.

5 Department of Education, Home School Report, 2012-13.  Enrollment data for the current school year will be available in fall 2014.

6 ANSAA Directory 2013-14, http://www.ansaa.com/memberschools.htm