“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.” Policy Foundation report,11998


(January 2018) Records show the Arkansas school choice market continues to grow at a high rate, expanding from an estimated 66,627 K-12 students (2013)2 to 79,325 (2017). This niche educational market includes students eligible to participate in public school choice programs, capped at three percent (3%) of enrollment; and homeschooled, private and charter students.


The Arkansas School Choice Market


School choice has advanced since Foundation analysts Allyson Tucker and Donna Watson wrote their landmark 1996 study recommending charters. The Murphy Commission studies advanced other options in three 1998 studies.


Subsequent Foundation research contributed to the policy debate about charters’ viability. Arkansas policymakers expanded student access to charters in 1999, 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2013.


The Arkansas school choice market includes the following student groups:


Charter school students                      25,4913

Private school students                       20,1914

Public school choice students             14,1235

Homeschooled students                      19,5206


Total                                                    79,325


–Greg Kaza



APPENDIX: Arkansas Charter School Enrollment (2017-18)


Conversion Charters7


Academies of West Memphis        1,112
Badger Academy Beebe)        47
Miner Academy (Bauxite)        51
A New Tech School (Blytheville)        619
Brunson New Vision Charter (Warren)        264
Cabot Academic Center for Excellence        265
Cross County Elementary Tech Academy        302
Fayetteville Virtual Academy        214
Farmington Career Academies        558
Fountain Lake Charter High School        470
Fountain Lake Middle School Cobra Digital        424
Lincoln New Tech High School        464
Mountain Home High School Career Academies        1,244
Osceola STEM Academy        330
Pea Ridge Business & Manufacturing Academy        123
Rogers New Technology High School        693
Siloam Springs High School Conversion Charter        1,348
Springdale School of Innovation        2,155
The Academies at Jonesboro High School        1,275
Warren High School District Conversion Charter        463
Warren Middle School        386
Washington Academy (Texarkana)        99


Open Enrollment Charters8


Academics Plus (Elementary & High School)        1,050
Arkansas Arts (Elementary, Middle & High School)        792
Arkansas Connections Academy High School        761
Arkansas Virtual Academy High School        737
Capital City Lighthouse Lower Academy        191
Covenant Keepers Charter School        141
Estem Little Rock (Elementary, Middle & High School)        1,968
Exalt Academy of Southwest Little Rock        375
Future School of Fort Smith        162
Haas Hall Academy (Fayetteville & Bentonville)        675
Imboden Area Charter School        64
Jacksonville Lighthouse College Prep        …377
KIPP Delta (Elementary, Middle & High School)        875
KIPP Blytheville (Elementary, Middle & High School)        246
KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory School        102
LISA Academy (Elementary, Middle & High School)        1,572
Little Rock Prep Academy Middle School        213
Northwest Arkansas Classical Academies        564
Ozark Montessori Academy Springdale        262
Pine Bluff Lighthouse (Elementary & High School)        300
Premier High School of Little Rock        114
Quest Middle Schools (Little Rock & Pine Bluff)        387
Rockbridge Montessori Charter School        169
SIA Tech (Little Rock)        188

1 “Arkansas’ Public Schools: A Thirty Year $20 Billion Taxpayer Investment Yields An Unprecedented Crisis in Academic Performance.”

2 “Arkansas School Choice Market Expands” (Policy Foundation research memo) February 2014

3 http://www.arkansased.gov/contact-us/charter-schools/charter_school_categories/district-conversion;

http://www.arkansased.gov/contact-us/charter-schools/charter_school_categories/open-enrollment; https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov/

4 ADE, https://adedata.arkansas.gov/statewide/Schools/PrivateSchools.aspx

5 ADE, https://adedata.arkansas.gov/statewide/State/SchoolChoice.aspx

The three percent (3%) cap established by the Public School Choice Act of 2015 limits expansion of this market component.  http://www.apscn.org/sis/hdr/PublicSchoolChoiceActOf2015.pdf

6 Arkansas Department of Education Home School Report, 2016-17

7 http://www.arkansased.gov/contact-us/charter-schools/charter_school_categories/district-conversion

8 http://www.arkansased.gov/contact-us/charter-schools/charter_school_categories/open-enrollment