Louisiana has the third highest percentage of students attending charter schools in the U. S., according to the Council for a Better Louisiana.

About 80,000 students attend the schools statewide, which is about 11 percent of total enrollment, or twice the national average.

Charter schools are public schools runs by non-governmental boards.

They are supposed to offer innovative teaching methods that can be replicated by traditional public schools.

Backers say the schools, which dominate the education landscape in New Orleans, offer parents and students an alternative to under-performing classrooms.

Opponents contend charters have failed to deliver on their promises and diverted key state aid to traditional public schools.

CABL noted that charter schools have more autonomy than their traditional counterparts, and teachers are not required to be certified.

But the group, in a nine-page report on public education in Louisiana, also noted that the schools can be closed by state and local boards if they fail to meet performance standards.

The state has about 720,000 public school students statewide.

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.