Measuring Up to the Model



weight: 3 | possible total: 12

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

How well do states’ laws align to this component of the model law?

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Instead of providing automatic exemptions from most state and district laws and regulations, Alaska law provides that charter schools are exempt from a school district's textbook, program, curriculum and scheduling requirements. It also provides that charter schools are exempt from a state law that requires superintendents of schools to select, appoint and otherwise control school district employees that serve under the superintendent. It also states that school boards may exempt a charter school from other school district requirements if the exemption is set out in the contract.

Alaska law does not exempt charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

6

Arizona

Except as provided in Arizona’s charter school law for things like health, safety, and academic accountability and as provided in a charter school’s charter contract, Arizona law provides that a charter school is automatically exempt from statutes and rules relating to traditional public schools, governing boards, and school districts.

Arizona law provides that teachers within charter schools do not need to meet state certification requirements, but employee qualifications must be specified in the charter application and resumes for all employees must be maintained by the school and made available upon request by parents or others, including information on educational and teaching backgrounds and experience in a particular academic content subject area.

12

Arkansas

Arkansas law does not grant any automatic exemptions. Instead, it requires each charter application to identify specific exemptions desired and request those as part of the application process, including any requested exemptions to teacher certification requirements.

6

California

California law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from most laws governing school districts.

California law requires charter school teachers to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that required for any other public school teacher. However, the law provides charter schools with some flexibility with regard to teacher credentialing for non-core, non-college preparatory courses.

9

Colorado

The state board of education has promulgated rules identifying state statutes and rules that are automatically waived for all charter schools. Colorado law also allows a district authorizer or the state charter Institute to apply to the state board, on behalf a charter school, for a waiver of a state statute or rule that is not automatically waived for charter schools by rule.

Colorado law requires charter school teachers to be certified, unless a waiver is granted in the charter by the state board, which has happened without exception for over 200 schools since 1993.

9

Connecticut

Instead of providing charters with automatic exemptions from most state and district laws and regulations, Connecticut law allows a charter school application to include, or a charter school to file, requests to waive provisions of the general statutes and regulations that are within the jurisdiction of the state board of education.

Connecticut law requires at least 50% of a charter school's teachers to be certified, and the others must have at least alternative or temporary certification and be working toward standard certification. Connecticut law also creates the charter school educator permit, which can be granted to a charter teacher or administrator that lacks state certification, provided they: pass the state reading, writing, and math competency test for teacher certification candidates or meet state board criteria for a testing waiver; pass the same state test as a teacher or administrator certification candidate seeking to work in the same subject or administrative area; and demonstrate effectiveness as a teacher or school administrator, as appropriate.

6

Delaware

Delaware law provides that charter schools are exempt from all provisions of the state's education code and all school district regulations, except as specified in the state's charter school law. In practice, the state does not provide charters with such extensive exemptions. For example, the state legislature requires alignment of charter curriculum with the recommended state curriculum in statutes outside of the charter law.

Delaware law requires charter teachers to be certified with certain exceptions.

9

District of Columbia

The law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from DC statutes, rules, regulations, and policies governing public schools, except as provided in the charter school law or the school’s charter. In spite of this exemption, there are continuous attempts to apply new laws to charters.

The law provides that charter school teachers are not required to be certified.

12

Florida

Florida law provides that charter schools are exempt from all state statutes and education code provisions except those explicitly applying to charters, assessment, grading, special education, civil rights, health, safety and welfare, public meetings and records, public inspection, and criminal and civil penalties. It also provides that local school board policies don’t apply to charter schools.

Florida law requires that all charter school teachers must be certified.

6

Georgia

Georgia law provides that charter schools can request blanket waivers from state and local rules and regulations in exchange for accountability promises or negotiate individualized waivers. It allows charter schools to seek waivers from teacher certification requirements as part of overall waivers.

6

Hawaii

Hawaii law provides that charter schools are exempt from all state rules and statutes applicable to traditional public schools or districts, except those applying to discriminatory practices, health and safety requirements. In addition, Hawaii law provides that the negotiated master agreements apply to charter school employees unless the exclusive union representatives and the local school board of a charter school enter into supplemental agreements that contain cost and non-cost items to facilitate decentralized decision-making.

Hawaii law does not exempt charter school teachers from state teacher certification requirements.

3

Idaho

Idaho law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from most state laws and rules governing school districts. However, Idaho does not exempt charter schools from new laws passed in 2011 governing teacher and administrator evaluations, pay for performance, and classroom technology. These laws diminish charter autonomy over staffing, instructional design, and budgeting.

Idaho law requires charter school teachers to be certified, although teachers may apply for a waiver or any of the limited alternative certification options provided by the state board of education.

6

Illinois

Under Illinois law, charter schools are exempt from all state laws and regulations in the school code governing public schools and local school board policies, except the following: the state's charter school law; certain sections of the school code regarding criminal background investigations of applicants for employment; certain sections of the school code regarding discipline of students; the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act; a certain section of the General Not For Profit Corporation Act of 1986 regarding indemnification of officers, directors, employees, and agents; the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act; the Illinois School Student Records Act; and a certain section of the school code regarding school report cards.

Outside of Chicago, state law requires charter schools to have at least 75% of instructional staff certified and requires non-certified teachers to have a bachelor's degree, five years' experience in the area of degree, a passing score on state teacher tests, and evidence of professional growth and requires charter schools to provide mentoring to uncertified teachers. The law also requires at least 50% of the individuals employed in instructional positions by a charter school in Chicago established after April 16, 2003, to hold teaching certificates and 75% of the individuals employed in instructional positions by a charter school in Chicago established before April 16, 2003, to hold teaching certificates.

6

Indiana

Indiana law provides that any state statute applicable to a governing body or school corporation, a rule or guideline adopted by the state board of education, a rule or guideline adopted by the professional standards board except for those rules that assist a teacher in gaining or renewing a standard or advanced license, and a local regulation or policy adopted by a school district unless specifically incorporated in the charter do not apply to a charter school, except for the following statutes, rules, and guidelines: required audits by the state board of accounts; unified accounting system; special education; criminal history; laws requiring regulation by state agencies; voiding of teacher contract when two contracts are signed; nondiscrimination for teacher marital status; teacher freedom of association; school counselor immunity; compulsory school attendance; limitations on employment of children; student due process and judicial review; firearms and deadly weapons; health and safety measures; reporting of student violations of law; patriotic commemorative observances; assessment programs, including remediation under the assessment programs; parental access to education records; and accountability for school performance and improvement.

In addition, the following statutes, rules, and guidelines apply to conversion charter schools: teacher contracts, cancellation of teacher contracts, contracts with school administrators, salary and related payments, and conditions of employment.

Indiana law provides that at least 90% of the individuals who teach full time in a charter school must either be certified or be in the process of obtaining a license to teach through the transition to teaching program unless the charter school requests and the state board approves a waiver for a lower percentage. For those in the transition to teaching program, it provides that licenses must be obtained within three years of beginning to teach at a charter school.

The law provides that an individual who does not meet these requirements may teach full time in a charter school if the individual meets one of the following criteria:
 the individual is in the process of obtaining a license to teach in a charter school in Indiana or the individual holds at least a bachelor's degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the content or related area in which the individual teaches.
 The law provides that individuals qualifying under these requirements may not exceed 10% of the full time teaching staff unless the charter school requests and the state board approves a waiver for a higher percentage.

The law provides that an individual who holds a part-time teaching position in a charter school must hold at least a bachelor's degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the content or related area in which the individual teaches.

6

Iowa

By statute, a charter school is automatically exempt from most laws, but a charter school must place within its application the specific statutes, administrative rules, and school board policies with which it does not intend to comply.

Iowa law requires all charter school teachers to be certified.

3

Kansas

Instead of providing automatic exemptions for most state and district laws and regulations, Kansas law requires a charter application to identify the school district policies and state board of education rules and regulations from which waiver is sought in order to facilitate operation of the school and an explanation of the reasons such waivers are being requested. It is then up to the local school board and the state board of education to decide whether or not to grant requests for waivers.

Kansas law does not exempt charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

3

Louisiana

Notwithstanding any state law, rule, or regulation to the contrary and except as provided in the state's charter school law and as may be otherwise specifically provided for in an approved charter, Louisiana law provides that charter schools are exempt from all rules and regulations of the state board and those of any local school board that are applicable to public schools and to public school officers and employees.

Louisiana law provides that teachers within charter schools do not need to meet state certification requirements. The law instead requires that charter teachers have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree.

12

Maine

Maine law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from all statutes and rules other than those stated in the charter school law.

Maine law provides that teachers must comply with federal regulations regarding teacher qualifications and that full-time teachers must either hold an appropriate teaching certificate or become certified within three years except for those with an advanced degree, professional certification, or unique expertise or experience in the curricular area in which they teach.

9

Maryland

Instead of providing automatic exemptions for most state and district laws and regulations, Maryland law allows charter schools to seek waivers on a case-by-case basis from the state board of education, except from provisions of law or regulation relating to audit requirements, the measurement of student academic achievement and the health, safety or civil rights of a student or an employee of the charter school.

Maryland law does not exempt charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

3

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law provides that charter schools must operate in accordance with the provisions of law regulating other public schools, although the following provisions of state law do not apply to commonwealth charter schools: “Section 41. Tenure of teachers and superintendents; persons entitled to professional teacher status; dismissal; review” and “Section 42: Dismissal or demotion of teachers or other employees of school or school district; arbitration.”

For commonwealth charter schools, the law provides that no teacher may be hired who is not certified unless the teacher has successfully passed the state teacher test within one year of employment. For Horace Mann charter schools, the law requires charter teachers to be certified.

9

Michigan

Michigan law requires that charter schools must abide by all laws required of traditional public schools, except being part of the collective bargaining agreement of the district in which they reside. Like traditional districts, Michigan law allows charter schools to seek waivers from the state department of education.

Michigan law requires teachers within charter schools to meet the same state certification as all traditional public schools, except that schools authorized by public universities or community colleges may hire full-time faculty from such institutions who meet certain criteria (e.g., tenured or tenure-track or five years experience in the community college).

3

Minnesota

Minnesota law provides that charter schools are exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to traditional public schools or districts unless a statute or rule is made specifically applicable to a charter school or is included in the charter school law.

Minnesota law does not exempt charter schools from state teaching license requirements.

6

Mississippi

The law provides exemptions from most laws, except those covering such items as health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles. The law provides that charter schools must comply with applicable federal laws, rules and regulations regarding the qualification of teachers and other instructional staff. It states that no more than 25% of teachers in a charter school may be exempt from state teacher licensure requirements at the time the initial charter application is approved by the authorizer. It provides that administrators of charter schools are exempt from state administrator licensure requirements. However, the law requires teachers and administrators to have a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement, and teachers must have demonstrated subject-matter competency. Within three years of the date of initial application approval by the state authorizer, the law requires all teachers to have, at a minimum, alternative licensure approved by the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development.

9

Missouri

Missouri law exempts charter schools from all state and district statutes, rules, and education code except those explicitly applying to charters (state, county or city laws and regulations relating to health and safety, minimum educational standards, notification of criminal conduct to law enforcement authorities, criminal background checks, assessment, transmittal of school records, and minimum attendance requirements).

Missouri law provides that 20% of charter school teachers are exempt from certification in Missouri if they are working towards certification and have expertise in the content area. It also allows foreign language programs flexibility in determining certification status of teachers from other countries.

9

Nevada

Nevada law allows a charter school to submit a written request to the state superintendent of public instruction for a waiver from providing the days of instruction required by state law. The law allows the state superintendent of public instruction to grant the request if the charter school demonstrates to the satisfaction of the state superintendent that extenuating circumstances exist to justify the waiver and that the charter school will provide at least as many hours or minutes of instruction as would be provided under a program consisting of the days of instruction required by state law.

Nevada law provides the following teacher certification requirements for charters:

(1) Up to 30% of the teachers who provide instruction at a charter school may be non-licensed.
(2) In a vocational charter school, up to 50% of the teachers who provide instruction may be non-licensed.
(3) A teacher that provides instruction in the following subjects must be licensed: English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign language; civics or government; economics; geography; history; or the arts.
(4) If a charter school specializes in arts and humanities, physical education, or health education, a licensed teacher must teach those courses of study.
(5) If a charter school specializes in the construction industry or other building industry, licensed teachers must teach courses of study relating to the industry if those teachers are employed full-time.
(6) If a charter school specializes in the construction industry or other building industry and the school offers courses of study in computer education, technology, or business, licensed teachers must teach those courses of study if those teachers are employed full-time.
(7) A charter school may employ a person who is not licensed to teach a course of study for which a licensed teacher is not required if the person has a degree, a license, or a certificate in the field for which he is employed to teach at the charter school and at least two years of experience in that field.

3

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law provides that charter schools are fully exempt from state laws and rules that otherwise apply to public or nonpublic schools.

New Hampshire law requires at least 50% of charter school teaching staff to be certified or have three years teaching experience.

9

New Jersey

Instead of providing charters with automatic exemptions from most state and district laws and regulations, New Jersey law provides that exemptions from particular laws, regulations, and policies may be requested in the charter application, except those pertaining to assessment, testing, civil rights, and student health and safety.

New Jersey law does not exempt charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

3

New Mexico

New Mexico law provides the following parameters for exemptions:

* It allows a local school board to waive only locally imposed school district requirements for locally chartered charter schools.
* It provides that a state-chartered charter school is exempt from school district requirements.
* It requires the state department of education to waive requirements or rules and provisions of the Public School Code pertaining to individual class load, teaching load, length of the school day, staffing patterns, subject areas, purchase of instructional material, evaluation standards for school personnel, school principal duties, and driver education.
* It allows the state department of education to waive requirements or rules and provisions of the Public School Code pertaining to graduation requirements as long as the requirements are higher than the state’s.
* It provides that any waivers granted are for the term of the charter granted but may be suspended or revoked earlier by the department.

In practice, however, stringent regulations force applicants to request and explain the reasoning for such waivers.

New Mexico law requires charter school teachers to have the same certification requirements as traditional public school teachers. It requires charter schools to adhere to the same three-tiered salary schedule as traditional public schools and, for teachers who have been employed at the school for three consecutive years, adhere to the New Mexico School Personnel Act.

3

New York

New York law provides that a charter school must meet the same health and safety, civil rights, and student assessment requirements applicable to other public schools, except as otherwise specifically provided in the state's charter school law. It provides that a charter school is exempt from all other state and local laws, rules, regulations, or policies governing public or private schools, boards of education, and school districts, including those relating to school personnel and students, except as specifically provided in the school's charter or in the state's charter school law. Also, nothing in the state's charter school law affects the requirements of compulsory education established in state law.

New York law states that up to 5 teachers or 30% of a school’s teaching staff (whichever is less) may be uncertified.

While New York’s law exempts charter schools from most state and local laws, rules, regulations, and policies, the state is starting to constrain charter school autonomy, according to charter school advocates in New York. For example, the state education department has repeatedly requested that all charter schools report teacher evaluation scores in the mandated format that applies to other public schools in the state as part of the state’s Race to the Top grant program, even if those schools chose not to accept Race to the Top funds.

9

North Carolina

North Carolina law states that except as provided in the state's charter school law and pursuant to the provisions of its charter, a charter school is exempt from statutes and rules applicable to a local school board or school district unless the law explicitly states that it also applies to charter schools.

North Carolina law states that at least 50% of a charter school’s teachers must hold teacher licenses.

9

Ohio

Except as otherwise specified in the state's charter school law and in the contract between a charter school and an authorizer, Ohio law exempts a charter school from all state laws and rules pertaining to schools, school districts, and boards of education.

Ohio law requires all charter school teachers to be certified, except that a teacher may teach outside his or her area of certification and a charter school may engage non-certificated persons to teach up to twelve hours per week.

9

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law provides that except as provided for in the state's charter school law and a charter school's charter, a charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules relating to schools, boards of education, and school districts.

Oklahoma law exempts charter schools from state teacher certification requirements.

12

Oregon

Oregon law provides that charter schools are automatically exempt from statutes and rules that apply only to school districts and district schools, except as provided for in the charter law and the school’s charter.

Oregon law provides that at least one-half of a charter school’s teachers must be licensed by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and that the non-licensed staff must be registered by TSPC.

9

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law provides an automatic waiver from most state and school district education laws, regulations, and policies, except for those that directly apply to charter schools.

Pennsylvania law allows up to 25% of a charter school’s teachers to be non-certified.

9

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law requires exemptions from particular state statutes, state regulations, school district rules, and collective bargaining provisions to be requested in the charter application.

Rhode Island law requires charter school teachers to be certified.

3

South Carolina

Except as provided in the state's charter school law, South Carolina law exempts a charter school from all provisions of law and regulations applicable to a public school, a school board, or a school district; although a charter school may elect to comply with one or more of these provisions of law or regulation. However, the provisions of state law concerning employment and dismissal of teachers apply to staff at conversion charter schools that were there at the time of conversion.

The law provides that up to 10% of teachers in conversions and 25% in start-ups may be non-certified. In either a new or converted charter school, the law provides that a teacher teaching in the core academic areas as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law must be certified in those areas or possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the subject he or she is hired to teach.

9

Tennessee

Instead of providing charters with automatic exemptions from most state and district laws and regulations, Tennessee law provides that charters may apply to either the school district or the state commissioner of education for waivers of regulations and statutes.

Tennessee law requires charter teachers to be certified.

3

Texas

Texas law provides that district-authorized charters are exempt from the instructional and academic rules and policies of the board of trustees from which the campus or program is specifically exempted in the charter. It also provides that district-authorized charters are subject to federal laws and rules governing public schools, and to state laws and rules governing public schools only to the extent the applicability to district-authorized charters is specifically provided.

Texas law provides that district-authorized charters are subject to a provision of state law establishing a criminal offense, and a prohibition, restriction, or requirement, as applicable relating to state laws governing the following: Public Education Information Management System to the extent necessary to monitor compliance as determined by the commissioner, criminal history records, high school graduation, special education programs, bilingual education, prekindergarten programs, extracurricular activities, health and safety, and public school accountability.

State law does not provide similar exemptions from district laws and regulations for district-authorized charters.

Texas law provides that open-enrollment charters are subject to federal laws and rules governing public schools, and to state laws in the Education Code only to the extent the applicability to state-authorized charters is specifically provided. They are subject to all other laws outside of the Education Code applicable to public schools.

Texas law provides that open-enrollment charters are subject to a provision of state law establishing a criminal offense, and a prohibition, restriction, or requirement, as applicable relating to state laws governing the following: An open-enrollment charter school is subject to: the Public Education Information Management System, criminal history records, reading instruments and accelerated reading instruction programs, satisfactory performance on assessment instruments and to accelerated instruction, high school graduation, special education programs, bilingual education, prekindergarten programs, extracurricular activities, discipline management practices or behavior management techniques, health and safety, public school accountability, the requirement to report an educator's misconduct, and intensive programs of instruction.

Texas law does not require charter school teachers to be certified except in the instance of bilingual/English language learner teachers and special education teachers. First, state law governing bilingual/English language learner education explicitly applies to charter schools. These laws provide that a teacher assigned to a bilingual/English language learner education program must be appropriately certified. Second, state regulations require all special education and related service personnel to be certified in accordance with federal regulations.

9

Utah

Utah law provides automatic exemptions from a small number of laws, but requires charter schools to apply for waivers for most exemptions.

The law requires charter school teachers to be either state-licensed or on the basis of demonstrated competency, qualified to teach under alternative certification or authorization programs.

3

Virginia

Instead of providing automatic exemptions for most state and district laws and regulations, Virginia law allows charter schools to ask the district for waivers of district policies and to have the district ask the state board of education for waivers from state regulations. It also provides that local school boards may allow charter school personnel to be employees of the local school board or the charter school governing board.

Virginia law requires all charter school teachers to be certified.

3

Washington

Statute indicates that charter schools must comply with all state statutes and rules made applicable to the charter school in the schools’ charter contract and are subject only to the specific state statutes and rules identified in the charter law. It states that such schools are not subject to and are exempt from all other state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and school district boards. It also provides that they are also exempt from all school district policies except those made applicable in the school’s charter contract.

Charter schools are not exempt from the state teacher certification requirements, except they may hire non-certificated instructional staff of unusual competence and in exceptional cases.

9

Wisconsin

Wisconsin law provides that a charter school authorized by a city, university, or technical college receives an automatic waiver from state and district education laws, regulations and policies, while a charter school that is authorized by a local school board receives an automatic waiver from state education laws, regulations and policies, but not from school district education laws, regulations and policies.

Wisconsin law requires charter school teachers be certified. However, Wisconsin law directs the state department of public instruction to grant a charter school teaching license to any person who has a bachelor’s degree and demonstrates that he or she is proficient in the subject or subjects that he or she intends to teach. The license authorizes the person to teach that subject or those subjects in a charter school. The bill does not explicitly limit the person to teaching only certain grades. The license is valid for three years and may be renewed. Also, if a school’s search for a licensed teacher is unsuccessful, the law provides a special charter school permit for persons with a bachelor's degree in their field who take six credits of training each year and are supervised by a teacher with a regular license.

6

Wyoming

Instead of providing automatic exemptions for most state and district laws and regulations, Wyoming law provides that a charter school must request waivers of specified state regulations and school district policies.

Wyoming law provides that charter schools are not exempt from teacher certification requirements.

3