Charter schools’ ranks swell in Albuquerque

Maggie Shepard:

When they return to their collegelike charter school campus tucked away in Sandia Park in the East Mountains, they’ll get back to their small, intimate classes and after-school sports – all publicly funded.

East Mountain High School was the first charter school launched immediately after the state fully authorized charter schools in 1999.

Fifteen years later, it is one of 99 in the state and one of 54 in Albuquerque. That represents 11 percent of public schools in the state; the current statewide enrollment for charter schools is 23,593 students.

East Mountain High School has some of the highest math and reading proficiency rates and test scores in the state.

It’s one of the schools Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera means when she says some charter schools “deliver incredible opportunities.”

“Some set a very high bar. Some of our top 10 schools in the state are charter schools,” she said.

And some of the top schools in the nation are New Mexico charter schools. Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School and Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science have consistently landed in national rankings for challenging and successful schools.