Measuring Up



Iowa

Not scored

See a summary of the state’s charter law.

See additional observations about charters.

What is the state of charter schools in Iowa?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2014–15)

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

3

0.2%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2014–15)

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

322

0.1%

 

 

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

N/A

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

40%

79%

-39%

Black

35%

5%

30%

Hispanic

13%

10%

3%

Asian

3%

2%

1%

Other

9%

4%

5%

Total minority

60%

21%

39%

 

4. Students in special populations (2013–14)

N/A

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

78%

41%

37%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

78%

41%

37%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2012–13)

N/A

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

33%

17%

16%

Suburb

0%

8%

-8%

Town

33%

24%

9%

Rural

33%

51%

-18%

Total nonsuburban

100%

92%

8%

 

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

N/A

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

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

0

   
 

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2010–11

1

Average Annual Open Rate

6.7%

2011–12

0

2012–13

0

2013–14

0

2014–15

0

Total number

1

 

 

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

1

Average Annual Closure Rate

40.0%

2010–11

2

2011–12

3

2012–13

0

2013–14

0

Total number

6

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

N/A

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

No Excuses

0%

Total

67%

STEM

0%

Arts

0%

Classical

0%

Purposely diverse

0%

Single sex

0%

International/Foreign language

0%

Montessori/Waldorf

0%

Dropout/Expulsion recovery

0%

Military

0%

Vocational training

67%

Public policy/Citizenship

0%

 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

 

 

 

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

 

 

 

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

 

 

 

 

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

N/A

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

 

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2014–15)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

0%

100%

 

 

 

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

3

3

1

100%

State education agency

Independent charter board

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2013–14)

Number of virtual public charter school students

0

 

 

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

0%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

0

 

 

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

0%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Iowa enacted its charter public school law in 2002. In our most recent rankings of state charter school laws, it ranked #41 out of 43, making it one of the weakest laws in the country. While the law does not cap charter school growth, it allows only local school district authorizers and provides little autonomy, insufficient accountability, and inequitable funding to charters.

A state’s charter public school movement had to meet three conditions to be scored and ranked in this year’s report. First, the movement had to serve at least 2 percent of the state’s public school students. Second, the state had to participate in CREDO’s National Charter School Study 2013 so that we had a measure of student academic growth data for its charter public schools in comparison with its traditional public schools. Third, the state had to have a state accountability system in place that categorized all public schools on the basis of performance in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Iowa’s movement did not meet at least one of these conditions, so we did not score and rank it in this year’s report.

However, below we provide the data we were able to gather. Based on this information, we offer the following observations:

  • In 2014-15, there were three charter public schools and 322 charter public school students in Iowa, constituting .2 percent of the state’s public schools and .1 percent of the state’s public school students, respectively.
  • In 2013-14, charter public schools in Iowa served, on average, more racial and ethnic minority students (39 percentage points more) and more free and reduced-price lunch students (37 percentage points more) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • In 2012-13, 100 percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared with 92 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, one new charter public school opened in Iowa, an average annual open rate of 6.7 percent.
  • Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, six charter public schools closed in Iowa, an average annual closure rate of 40 percent.
  • In 2012-13, 67 percent of the state’s charter public schools were special-focus schools.
  • In 2014-15, all three of the state’s charter public schools were conversions, meaning there were no start-up charters in the state.
  • In 2014-15, only local school districts were allowed to authorize in the state. As of that year, three had done so.
  • During 2013-14, no full-time virtual charter public schools operated in Iowa.