Measuring Up



Utah

TOTAL SCORE:
38 out of 116

Rank: 24 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 Utah?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2013–14)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

95

10%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2013–14)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

54,900

9%

 

 

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

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

80%

77%

3%

Black

1%

1%

0%

Hispanic

12%

16%

-4%

Asian

2%

2%

0%

Other

4%

4%

0%

Total minority

19%

23%

-4%

 

4. Students in special populations (2012–13)

0

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

17%

35%

-18%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

17%

35%

-18%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

20%

17%

3%

Suburb

38%

43%

-5%

Town

6%

15%

-9%

Rural

36%

25%

11%

Total nonsuburban

62%

57%

5%

 

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

2

 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

7

Average Annual Open Rate

7.5%

2010–11

6

2011–12

4

2012–13

7

2013–14

7

Total number

31

 

 

 

 

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

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2008–09

1

Average Annual Closure Rate

0.5%

2009–10

0

2010–11

1

2011–12

0

2012–13

0

Total number

2

 

 

 

 
 

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)

27

Average

21%

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

19

Year-round calendar

4

Independent study

27

School-to-work

15

Higher education courses

31

 
 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

4

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

-7

 

 

 

 

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

0

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-43

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2012–13)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

100%

0%

 

 

 

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

 

Number

Percentage

 

 

Independent

77

99%

 

 

Charter management organization

0

0%

 

 

Education management organization

1

1%

 

 

 

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

5

8

2

8%

State education agency

Independent charter board

1

85

85

89%

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

2

2

1

3%

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2012–13)

Number of virtual public charter school students

3,366

 

 

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

7%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

4

 

 

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

4%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Utah’s public charter school movement ranked #24 out of 26, scoring 38 points out of 116.

Utah scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • Public charter schools in Utah served a lower percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students during 2012–13 (18 percentage points less) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • Only two communities in Utah had more than 10 percent of public school students in charters during 2012–13.
  • Two public charter schools closed between 2008–09 and 2012–13 in Utah, a 0.5 percent average annual closure rate.
  • On average, the state’s public charter school students exhibited lower academic growth when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 (seven fewer days in reading and 43 fewer days in math).

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

  • Ten percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013–14.
  • Nine percent of the state’s public school students were charter students in 2013–14.
  • The percentage of racial and ethnic minority students in the state’s public charter schools was 4 percentage points less than in its traditional public schools during 2012–13.
  • During 2011–12, 62 percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared to 57 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Thirty-one public charters opened between 2009–10 and 2013–14 in Utah, a 7.5 percent average annual growth rate.
  • An average of 21 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.
  • One hundred percent of the public charter schools in Utah were startups in 2012–13.
  • In 2010–11, 99 percent of the public charter schools in Utah were independently operated, and 1 percent were associated with a for-profit educational management organization. None were associated with a nonprofit charter management organization.
  • In 2012–13, Utah law permitted local school boards, the state charter school board, and designated higher education institutions to authorize public charter schools, subject to state board of education approval. As of 2013–14, five local school boards had authorized eight public charter schools (8 percent of the state’s public charters), two higher education institutions had authorized two public charter schools (3 percent), and the state charter school board had authorized 85 public charter schools (89 percent).
  • There were four virtual public charter schools in Utah in 2012–13, serving 3,366 students (7 percent of the state’s public charter school population).

Recommendations

Utah has notable populations of public charter schools and public charter school students. However, such 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 strengthen its accountability policies for charters, provide more operational autonomy to public charter schools, and ensure equitable operational funding to charters. We also encourage the state to explore why public charter schools are serving lower percentages of racial and ethnic minority students and free and reduced-price lunch students and to ensure that chronically low-performing charters are closed.