Measuring Up



Utah

TOTAL SCORE:
48 out of 132

Rank: 17 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 Utah?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2014–15)

9

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

110

11%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2014–15)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

61,435

10%

 

 

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

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

79%

76%

3%

Black

1%

1%

0%

Hispanic

13%

16%

-3%

Asian

2%

2%

0%

Other

5%

5%

0%

Total minority

21%

24%

-3%

 

4. Students in special populations (2013–14)

2

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

31%

38%

-7%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

31%

38%

-7%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2012–13)

0

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

20%

18%

2%

Suburb

63%

49%

14%

Town

6%

14%

-8%

Rural

11%

19%

-8%

Total nonsuburban

37%

51%

-14%

 

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

3

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

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

8

   
 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2010–11

6

Average Annual Open Rate

7.5%

2011–12

6

2012–13

7

2013–14

7

2014–15

15

Total number

41

 

 

 

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

0

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

0

Average Annual Closure Rate

0.2%

2010–11

1

2011–12

0

2012–13

0

2013–14

0

Total number

1

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

6

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

No Excuses

0%

Total

48%

STEM

6%

Arts

7%

Classical

12%

Purposely diverse

2%

Single sex

0%

International/Foreign language

7%

Montessori/Waldorf

16%

Dropout/Expulsion recovery

0%

Military

0%

Vocational training

1%

Public policy/Citizenship

3%

 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

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

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

-7

 

 

 

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

0

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-43

 

 

 

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

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

A

15%

10%

-5%

B

42%

42%

0%

Total

57%

52%

-5%

 

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

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 2012-13

2013-14

Difference

D

10%

12%

2%

F

9%

6%

-3%

Total

19%

18%

-1%

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2014–15)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

99%

1%

 

 

 

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

5

9

2

8%

State education agency

Independent charter board

1

99

99

90%

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

2

2

1

2%

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2013–14)

Number of virtual public charter school students

2,960

 

 

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

5%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

3

 

 

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

3%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Utah’s charter public school movement ranked #17 out of 18, scoring 48 points out of 132.

Utah scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • In 2014-15, 11 percent of the state’s public schools were charters.
  • During 2014-15, eight communities in Utah had more than 10 percent of public school students in charters.

Utah scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • During 2013-14, charter public schools in Utah served a lower percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students (7 percentage points less) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • During 2012-13, 39 percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared with 51 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, one charter public school closed in Utah, a .2 percent average annual closure rate.
  • Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, the state’s charter public school students exhibited lower academic growth (seven fewer days in reading and 43 fewer days in math), on average, when compared with traditional public school students.
  • Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the percentage of charter public schools performing in the top two categories of the state’s accountability system decreased by 5 percentage points (from 57 percent to 52 percent).

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

  • In 2014-15, 10 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students. According to the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, approximately half of the new students in Utah’s public schools choose to attend a charter public school, a pattern that extends back more than a decade.
  • During 2013-14, the percentage of racial and ethnic minority students in the state’s charter public schools was 3 percentage points less than in its traditional public schools.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, 41 public charters opened in Utah, a 7.5 percent average annual growth rate.
  • In 2012-13, 48 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 bottom two categories of the state’s accountability system decreased by 1 percentage point (from 19 percent to 18 percent).
  • In 2014-15, 99 percent of the state’s charter public schools were start-ups, and 1 percent were conversions.
  • In 2014-15, Utah law permitted local school boards, the state charter school board, and designated higher education institutions to authorize charter schools, subject to state board of education approval. As of 2014-15, five local school boards had authorized nine charter public schools (8 percent of the state’s public charters), two higher education institutions had authorized two charter public schools (2 percent), and the state charter school board had authorized 99 charter public schools (90 percent).
  • In 2013-14, three full-time virtual charter public schools operated in Utah, serving 2,960 students (5 percent of the state’s charter public school population).

concluding thoughts

  • Utah has a relatively good charter law, but it still needs improvements to increase charters’ flexibility to innovate and to provide more equitable funding to charter students.
  • In Utah, a relatively high percentage of the state’s public schools are charters, showing a high demand for these innovative public school options.
  • We encourage the state to explore why charters are serving lower percentages of racial and ethnic minority students and free and reduced-price lunch students than traditional public schools and to ensure that chronically low-performing charters are closed.