Many states nationwide are taking steps to strengthen their charter school systems by enacting laws that make it easier to create schools and provide funding, according to a new report.
The fourth annual analysis “Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws” from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), a national nonprofit committed to advancing the charter school movement, is designed to support the creation of high-quality public charter school options, especially for at-risk students.
A total of 43 states and the District of Columbia have implemented charter laws, with Georgia and Washington passing public charter school initiatives for the first time in 2012. In the ranking, states are scored based on how well their laws match up with the 20 essential components of the NAPCS model charter law, which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities, and limited caps on charter school growth. Minnesota, Maine, and Washington occupied the top three spots of the ranking this year, and 16 states increased their score. Mississippi, Maryland, and Kansas were ranked last, and the authors recommend strengthening charter quality control, autonomy, and access to funding and facilities for each.
The report is meant to provide a roadmap for successful education reform for the upcoming legislative sessions, it states.
“The biggest takeaway from this year’s rankings is that the public charter school movement is continuing to build upon its recent momentum,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in a statement. “States with weak or no charter laws are basing new legislation on the experiences of states with stronger laws, while states that fell in the rankings did so because other states enacted stronger laws. These changes represent progress for the movement.”
To read the report, go to www.publiccharters.org.