Measuring Up



Arkansas

TOTAL SCORE:
45 out of 116

Rank: 20 out of 26

See a summary of the state’s charter law.

See additional observations about charters in the state and recommendations to support the growth of high-quality charter schools.

What is the state of charter schools in Arkansas?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2013–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

39

4%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2013–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

16,399

3%

 

 

3. Students by race and ethnicity (2012–13)

8

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

50%

63%

-13%

Black

38%

20%

18%

Hispanic

7%

10%

-3%

Asian

3%

1%

2%

Other

2%

6%

-4%

Total minority

50%

37%

13%

 

4. Students in special populations (2012–13, except where otherwise noted)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status (2011–12)

58%

59%

-1%

Special education status

3%

6%

-3%

English learner status

8%

9%

-1%

Total special student populations

69%

74%

-5%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

49%

20%

29%

Suburb

10%

7%

3%

Town

19%

18%

1%

Rural

20%

55%

-35%

Total nonsuburban

90%

93%

-3%

 

6. Communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools (2012–13)

1

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

Number of communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools

1

   
 

7. New public charter schools opened over the past five years  (2009–14)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

4

Average Annual Open Rate

15.5%

2010–11

4

2011–12

4

2012–13

4

2013–14

9

Total number

25

 

 

 

 

8. Public charter schools closed over the past five years (2008–13)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2008–09

1

Average Annual Closure Rate

8.1%

2009–10

3

2010–11

3

2011–12

3

2012–13

2

Total number

12

 

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

9. Public charter schools reporting use of various innovative practices (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

Extended day (30 minutes or more each day compared to traditional public schools)

43

Average

23%

Extended year (10 or more days compared to traditional public schools)

36

Year-round calendar

14

Independent study

21

School-to-work

7

Higher education courses

14

 
 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

10. Additional days of learning in reading (2007–11)

0

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

-22

 

 

 

 

11. Additional days of learning in math (2007–11)

0

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-22

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2012–13)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

56%

44%

 

 

 

Public charter schools that are independent, associated with a CMO, or associated with an EMO (2010–11)

 

Number

Percentage

 

 

Independent

22

73%

 

 

Charter management organization

6

20%

 

 

Education management organization

2

7%

 

 

 

Charter authorizers (2013–14)

 

Number of authorizers

Number of charter schools

Average number of charters per authorizer

Percentage of the state’s public charters authorized by this type of authorizer

Local education agency

-

-

-

-

State education agency

1

39

39

100%

Independent charter board

-

-

-

-

Noneducational government entity

-

-

-

-

Higher education institution

-

-

-

-

Nonprofit

-

-

-

-

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2012–13)

Number of virtual public charter school students

499

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter school student population enrolled
in virtual charter schools

4%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

1

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools that are virtual charter schools

3%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Arkansas’ public charter school movement ranked #20 out of 26, scoring 45 points out of 116.

Arkansas scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • The state’s public charter schools served a higher percentage of racial and ethnic minority students when compared with traditional public schools in 2012–13 (13 percentage points more).
  • Twenty-five public charter schools opened in Arkansas between 2009–10 and 2013–14, a 15.5 percent average annual open rate.

Arkansas scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • Only 4 percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013–14.
  • Only 3 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students in 2013–14.
  • Only one community in the state had more than 10 percent of its public school students in charters during 2012–13.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited lower academic growth between 2007–08 and 2010–11 when compared with traditional public school students (22 fewer days in reading and 22 fewer days in math).

In addition to the above points, we also offer the following observations about the movement in Arkansas:

  • The state’s public charter schools served a lower percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students when compared with traditional public schools in 2011–12 (1 percentage point less) and a lower percentage of special education students and English learners when compared with traditional public schools in 2012–13 (3 percentage points less and 1 percentage point less, respectively).
  • Twelve public charter schools closed in Arkansas between 2008–09 and 2012–13, an 8.1 percent average annual closure rate.
  • Ninety percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas in 2011-12 as compared to 93 percent of traditional public schools.
  • An average of 23 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.
  • Fifty-six percent of the state’s public charter schools were startups, and 44 percent were conversions in 2012–13.
  • In 2010–11, 73 percent of the public charter schools in Arizona were independently managed, 20 percent were associated with a nonprofit charter management organization, and 7 percent were associated with a for-profit educational management organization.
  • In 2013–14, Arkansas allowed only its state board of education to serve as an authorizer, so 100 percent of the state’s 39 schools were authorized by the state board of education that year.
  • There was one virtual public charter school in Arkansas in 2012–13, educating 499 students (4 percent of the state’s public charter school population).

Recommendations

Arkansas has small populations of public charter schools and public charter school students. While there are some successful public charter schools in Arkansas, the state’s public charter school students, on average, are not performing as well as their peers in traditional public schools, although it is important to note that the most recent student academic growth data available are from 2010–11.

To better support the growth of high-quality public charter schools, we recommend that the state change its law to provide more operational autonomy to charters, provide more equitable funding and facilities support to charters, and create additional authorizing options for charter applicants.