A new report from the National Education Policy Center reviews the “wait lists” that charter advocacy groups regularly publicize and finds them to be vastly inflated.

Charter advocacy groups claim that nearly one million students are wait-listed for admission, but they acknowledge themselves that the actual number may be about 400,000. NEPC authors Kevin Welner and Gary Miron say that even this number is an overstatement. Many students apply to multiple charter schools and get double or triple counted. Sometimes, after the students have enrolled in a charter school or a public school, their name may remain on the “wait list” of other charters.

They enumerate other reasons to doubt the “wait list” claims. Essentially, the claims are marketing devices, intended to persuade legislators of a huge, unsatisfied demand for more privately managed schools, funded but not supervised or regulated by the public.