Minnesota, Florida, Colorado in Top Ten for Charter School Laws
News outlets in Minnesota, including Minnesota Public Radio, celebrated the state’s first-place ranking in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ (NAPCS) fourth annual ratings of state charter school laws. "With our strong law, charter schools can lead the way in creating a new generation of high-performing schools to help close one of the nation's largest achievement gaps," said Al Fan, executive director of Minneapolis’ Charter School Partners. The Daily Herald announced Washington state’s third-place finish. "Washington took strong advantage of the lessons learned from other states on strong authorizing, oversight and accountability. We will be leading with quality," said Lisa Macfarlane, director of Democrats for Education Reform. The Pueblo Chieftain noted Colorado’s fourth-place ranking, while various media outlets in Florida, including the Sun-Sentinel, noted Florida’s fifth-place spot. The Times-Picayune and others noted Louisiana’s sixth-place finish, while EdSource reported that California’s charter law came in seventh. "Our top 10 states ... have created the right policy conditions for charter schools to thrive," said NAPCS vice president Todd Ziebarth, the study’s author.
Sources: Minnesota Public Radio, KAAL-TV, MinnPost, Daily Herald, Pueblo Chieftain, Sun-Sentinel, WFSU, State Impact, NewsChief, Times-Picayune, Advocate, EdSource
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South Carolina Rises in Charter Law Rankings, Other States Fall
According to the Post and Courier, South Carolina jumped 13 spots to number 12 in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools annual ratings of state charter school laws. MLive reported that Michigan’s charter law was ranked 15th in the nation. The Atlanta Business Chronicle noted Georgia’s 16th-place ranking, a drop of two spots. “This drop had more to do with the aggressive changes made in other states than with any steps backward in Georgia,” said Todd Ziebarth, NAPCS vice president for state advocacy and support. Ziebarth noted Georgia’s law could improve by “creating authorizer accountability requirements and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.” KLAS-TV reported Nevada’s ranking in 22nd place, while the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Citywire announced Arkansas fell from 17th to 25th place.
Sources: Post and Courier, MLive, Atlanta Business Chronicle, KLAS-TV, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, CityWire
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Idaho, Rhode Island, Virginia Come in Near Bottom of Charter Law Rankings
According to Boise State Radio, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked Idaho 32nd in the nation for its charter school laws. WPRI reported that Rhode Island fell from 26th to 35th place. “Rhode Island’s law is in need of significant improvement, most notably by removing the state’s caps on charter school growth, providing additional authorizing options for charter applicants, ensuring authorizer accountability, providing adequate authorizer funding, and ensuring equitable access to capital funding and facilities,” said NAPCS vice president Todd Ziebarth. According to Virginia Business, Virginia’s law was ranked 39th out of 43 states and D.C. “Virginia’s law needs improvement across the board …” Ziebarth said.
Sources: Boise State Public Radio, WPRI, Virginia Business
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Former Florida Governor Urges Independent Authorizer for Arkansas
According to NWA Online and the Baxter Bulletin, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush spoke at a rally at the Arkansas state Capitol hosted by A Plus Arkansas, a group pushing for legislation that would give an independent commission, rather the state Board of Education, the power to approve charter schools in Arkansas. Bush predicted that an independent statewide authorizer “ in all likelihood will not be used that much, but it will instill some discipline in local school districts not to just reject out of hand high-quality charter schools." Bush said that 56 years after the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School, “our most disadvantaged kids are the ones least likely to receive a quality education when they’re the ones who need it the most.” Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe opposes the creation of an independent charter schools commission. Arkansas currently has 18 open enrollment charter schools and 14 district conversion charter schools.
Sources: NWA Online, Baxter Bulletin
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Charter School Advocates Rally in Chicago; Whistle-Stop Train Tour Heads for Buffalo
According to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, thousands of public charter school students, parents, teachers and advocates rallied at Chicago’s Union Station Tuesday as part National School Choice Week’s whistle-stop train tour. “That message is charter schools are here to stay, we will continue to serve Illinois students at high levels, we will continue to send students to college at high levels, and we will continue to demand equal treatment,” said Andrew Broy, president of Illinois Network of Charter Schools. According to the Buffalo News, a similar event will come to Buffalo on Friday morning, one of 14 stops on the cross-country train tour. Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, said the event is for people “who demand the right educational choices for each of Buffalo’s children.”
Sources: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times , Buffalo News
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