November 14, 2012 – Although charter schools engender fierce debate — most recently over ballot measures in Georgia and Washington State — their ranks are growing rapidly, according to a new report. Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, the number of students in charter schools increased close to 13 percent, to just over two million. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a nonprofit advocacy group, released the report on Wednesday. It showed that in some cities, charter schools — which are publicly financed but privately operated — enroll a significant proportion of public school students. New Orleans, where the city’s schools were essentially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, leads the nation in the proportion of students in charter schools, at 70 percent. But in six other districts, including Detroit, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, more than 30 percent of public school students attend a charter school.