Measuring Up



Arizona

TOTAL SCORE:
77 out of 132

Rank: out of 18

See a summary of the state’s charter law.

See additional observations about charters in the state.

What is the state of charter schools in Arizona?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2014–15)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

623

28%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2014–15)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

190,000

17%

 

 

3. Students by race and ethnicity (2013–14)

2

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

48%

39%

9%

Black

6%

5%

1%

Hispanic

36%

46%

-10%

Asian

4%

2%

2%

Other

6%

8%

-2%

Total minority

52%

61%

-9%

 

4. Students in special populations (2013–14)

0

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

40%

52%

-12%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

40%

52%

-12%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

58%

43%

15%

Suburb

21%

23%

-2%

Town

10%

15%

-5%

Rural

11%

19%

-8%

Total nonsuburban

79%

77%

2%

 

6. Communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools (2014–15)

4

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

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

17

   
 

7. New public charter schools opened over the past five years  (2010–15)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2010–11

21

Average Annual Open Rate

6.9%

2011–12

47

2012–13

29

2013–14

87

2014–15

31

Total number

215

 

 

 

8. Public charter schools closed over the past five years (2009–14)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

20

Average Annual Closure Rate

3.2%

2010–11

21

2011–12

26

2012–13

16

2013–14

13

Total number

96

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

9. Percentage of charter schools with an identified special focus (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

No Excuses

1%

Total

36%

STEM

3%

Arts

3%

Classical

4%

Purposely diverse

0%

Single sex

0.2%

International/Foreign language

1%

Montessori/Waldorf

10%

Dropout/Expulsion recovery

11%

Military

0%

Vocational training

3%

Public policy/Citizenship

0.2%

 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

0

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

-22

 

 

 

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

0

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-29

 

 

 

12. Percentage point change in top categories in state accountability system (2012–14)

9

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

A

30

34

4

B

27

28

1

Total

57

62

5

 

13. Percentage point change in bottom categories in state accountability system (2012–14)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

D

18

8

-10

F

1

3

2

Total

19

11

-8

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2014–15)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

89%

11%

 

 

 

Charter authorizers (2014–15)

 

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

24

71

3

11%

State education agency

1

41

41

7%

Independent charter board

1

506

506

81%

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

1

5

5

1%

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2013–14)

Number of virtual public charter school students

1,661

 

 

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

0.01%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

2

 

 

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

0.003%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Arizona’s charter public school movement ranked #7 out of 18, scoring 77 points out of 132.

Arizona scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • In 2014-15, 28 percent of the state’s public schools were charters.
  • In 2014-15, 17 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students.
  • In 2014-15, 17 communities had more than 10 percent of public school students in public charters.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, 215 public charters opened, a 6.9 percent average annual open rate.
  • Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, 96 charter public schools closed, a 3.2 percent average annual closure rate.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the percentage of charter public schools performing in the top two categories of the state’s accountability system increased by 5 percentage points (from 57 percent to 62 percent).
  • Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the percentage of charter public schools performing in the bottom two categories of the state’s accountability system decreased by 8 percentage points (from 19 percent to 11 percent).

Arizona scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • In 2013-14, charter public schools served a lower percentage of racial and ethnic minority students (9 percentage points less) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • In 2013-14, charter public schools in Arizona served a lower percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students (12 percentage points less) when compared with traditional public schools.1
  • Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, charter public school students exhibited lower academic growth, on average (22 fewer days in reading and 29 fewer days in math), when compared with traditional public school students.

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

  • In 2012-13, 79 percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared with 77 percent of traditional public schools.
  • In 2012-13, 36 percent of the state’s charter public schools were special-focus schools.
  • During 2012-13, 87 percent of the state’s charter public schools were start-ups and 13 percent were conversions.
  • Arizona law allows charter applicants to apply to a local school board, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS), the state board of education, a university, a community college district, or a group of community college districts. However, the state board of education has a self-imposed moratorium on charter authorizing, so ASBCS currently oversees all schools approved by both state boards, which means that ASBCS oversaw 88 percent of the state’s public charters in 2014-15. Also, 24 local school districts oversaw 11 percent of the state’s public charters, and one university oversaw 1 percent of the state’s public charters that year.2
  • In 2013-14, two full-time virtual charter public schools operated in Arizona, serving 1,661 students (.01 percent of the state’s charter public school population).

According to research conducted by the Arizona Charter Schools Association, only 46 percent of charters provided free and reduced-price lunch data in 2014. This number illustrates the challenges in determining the level of poverty in charter public schools.

As of 2014, new charter public school applicants cannot apply to local school boards.

concluding thoughts

  • Arizona has a relatively good charter law, but it still provides inequitable funding to public charter students by barring their access to significant buckets of funding.
  • A relatively high percentage of Arizona’s public schools and students are charter schools and students, showing a high demand for these innovative public school options.
  • Although Arizona’s charters currently serve a lower percentage of racial and ethnic minority students and free and reduced-price lunch students than traditional public schools, in 2013, the Arizona Charter Schools Association launched New Schools for Phoenix to increase the number of charters serving these students. The goal of this organization is to open, replicate, or reform 25 A-rated schools, enrolling 12,500 low-income students in Phoenix by 2020, and to recruit and equip highly motivated educators to fuel student success in urban education.
  • While Arizona’s charters did not perform as well as their peers in CREDO’s National Charter School Study 2013, the most recent data within that report are from 2010-11. Since that time, Arizona charter school supporters, led by the Arizona Charter Schools Association, have implemented several efforts to improve achievement. Taken together, these changes will better promote the growth of high-quality charters and the closure of chronically low-performing charters. In fact, more current data than the CREDO study show that the percentage of charters in the top two categories of the state’s accountability system is increasing, while the percentage of charters in the bottom category of the state’s accountability system is decreasing.