Measuring Up



Colorado

TOTAL SCORE:
69 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 Colorado?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2014–15)

9

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

214

12%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2014–15)

9

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

101,359

11%

 

 

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

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

55%

55%

0%

Black

6%

5%

1%

Hispanic

32%

33%

-1%

Asian

3%

3%

0%

Other

4%

4%

0%

Total minority

45%

45%

0%

 

4. Students in special populations (2013–14)

2

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

35%

43%

-8%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

35%

43%

-8%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

47%

32%

15%

Suburb

32%

30%

2%

Town

5%

13%

-8%

Rural

16%

26%

-10%

Total nonsuburban

68%

70%

-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

13

   
 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2010–11

14

Average Annual Open Rate

6.4%

2011–12

13

2012–13

9

2013–14

17

2014–15

16

Total number

69

 

 

 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

5

Average Annual Closure Rate

1.4%

2010–11

1

2011–12

3

2012–13

3

2013–14

2

Total number

14

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

No Excuses

3%

Total

39%

STEM

7%

Arts

1%

Classical

9%

Purposely diverse

1%

Single sex

2%

International/Foreign language

3%

Montessori/Waldorf

11%

Dropout/Expulsion recovery

4%

Military

0%

Vocational training

2%

Public policy/Citizenship

0%

 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

7

 

 

 

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

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-7

 

 

 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

Performance

73

73

0

Improvement

15

17

2

Total

88

90

2

 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

Priority Improvement

9

6

-3

Turnaround

3

4

1

Total

12

10

-2

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2014–15)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

97%

3%

 

 

 

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

45

180

4

84%

State education agency

Independent charter board

1

34

34

16%

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2013–14)

Number of virtual public charter school students

9,895

 

 

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

10%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

8

 

 

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

4%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Colorado’s charter school movement ranked #9 out of 18, scoring 69 points out of 132.

Colorado scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • In 2014-15, 12 percent of the state’s public schools were charters.
  • In 2014-15, 11 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students.
  • In 2014-15, 13 communities in Colorado had more than 10 percent of their public school students in charters.
  • Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, charter public school students exhibited higher academic growth in reading (seven additional days), on average, when compared with traditional public school students.

Colorado scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • In 2013-14, the state’s charter public schools served lower percentages of free and reduced-price lunch students (8 percentage points less) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, charter public school students exhibited lower academic growth in math (seven fewer days), on average, when compared with traditional public school students.

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

  • In 2013-14, the state’s charter public schools served an identical percentage of racial and ethnic minority students when compared with traditional public schools.
  • In 2012-13, 68 percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared with 70 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, 69 public charters opened in Colorado, a 6.4 percent average annual open rate.
  • Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, 14 charter public schools closed in Colorado, a 1.4 percent average annual closure rate.
  • In 2012-13, 39 percent of the state’s charter public schools were special-focus schools.
  • 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 2 percentage points (from 88 percent to 90 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 2 percentage points (from 12 percent to 10 percent).
  • During 2014-15, 96 percent of the state’s charter public schools were start-ups and 4 percent were conversions.
  • As of 2014-15, 45 local school boards had authorized 180 charter public schools (84 percent of the state’s total number of public charters) and the state’s independent charter board had authorized 34 charter public schools (16 percent).
  • In 2013-14, eight full-time virtual charter public schools operated in Colorado, serving 9,895 students (10 percent of the state’s charter public school population).

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

  • Colorado has a relatively good charter law, but it still needs to provide more equitable funding to charter students.
  • In Colorado, a relatively high percentage of the state’s public schools and students are charter schools and students, showing a high demand for these innovative public school options.
  • While Colorado’s charters serve a lower percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students than traditional public schools, many charter schools face challenges when it comes to accessing adequate educational facilities space, including the lack of full-service kitchens that allow a charter school to receive federal funding for free and reduced-price meals. The lack of such accessible space can lead to a reduction in the number of free and reduced-price lunch students attending charters or in the number of charter schools participating in the free and reduced-price lunch program (although they may still serve students eligible for the program).