Measuring Up


Not scored

What is the state of charter schools in Maine?

Maine’s relatively new law allows multiple authorizers via local school districts and a new statewide authorizer, has strong quality control components, provides operational autonomy to public charter schools, and provides equitable operational funding to public charter schools. The two major weaknesses of the law include a cap of 10 state-authorized public charter schools during the initial 10 years that the law is in effect (there is no cap on the number of charters that local school districts can approve) and a relatively small number of provisions for supporting charters’ facilities needs.

A state’s public charter school movement had to meet two conditions to be scored and ranked in this year’s report. First, the movement had to serve at least 1 percent of the state’s public school students. Second, the state had to participate in the Center for Research on Education Outcomes’ (CREDO) 2013 National Charter School Study so that we had a measure of student academic growth data for its public charter schools in comparison to its traditional public schools. Since Maine just enacted its public charter school law in 2011, its charter school movement did not meet either condition. Therefore, we did not score and rank Maine’s public charter school movement in this year’s report.

In 2013–14, there were five public charter schools and 383 public charter school students in Maine, constituting 1 percent of the state’s public schools and less than 1 percent of the state’s public school students, respectively. All of the schools are startups and are authorized by the new statewide authorizer.