The number of students attending charter schools nationwide has increased as states pass laws lifting caps and encourage expansion.

Experts say there are now more than 2 million charter schools across the country, the largest increase in enrollment over a single year since charter schools were founded nearly two decades ago.

Rick Pressler, spokesman for the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, says the state fares in the middle, “with 80 charters open and aound 30 new ones set to open over the next few years.”

He says the milestone is significant because it demonstrates increased demand by families who want more options for their children. “Whether is a public school, private, a charter, I think that parents just really want a high quality education for their kids and that’s what it comes down to.”

Pressler says it also puts parents in the driver’s seat. “They have the option to choose where they want their son or daughter to go, and we’re glad to see the growth in these charter schools. What we are really interested in is making sure that underserved students are really being served well by public education.”

The largest growth in charter schools over the last year was in California, which added 47,000 new students; Florida, with 23,500 new students; Texas, with an extra 22,000; and Ohio, which brought in some 12,000 more.