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New National Rankings Find States Are Strengthening Charter School Laws

12 states make improvements, only 8 states remain with no law

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual state-by-state ranking of charter school laws. The 2014 rankings reflect the steps many states took in 2013 to strengthen their laws, enabling more growth and paving the way for high-quality charter schools for students who need them most.

“This year’s rankings reflect the advances we’ve seen in so many states over the past year,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “This annual ranking is an important barometer for measuring changes in charter school policy. States are increasingly aware of the impact their charter school law has on providing students access to high-quality public school options and we are encouraged to see so many improving their laws.”

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ranks each of the country’s state charter school laws. Each law receives a score based on 20 essential components from the National Alliance’s model law on metrics such as quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities, and no caps on charter school growth.

In 2013, 12 states made improvements that led to an increase in their scores, with 10 of these states making significant changes that strengthened their laws. Key findings from the report include:

  • Minnesota is the top-ranked state.
  • Maryland is the lowest-ranked state.
  • The three states that made the biggest moves in the rankings are:
    • Indiana moved up 7 spots from #9 to #2 for enacting legislation to strengthen the charter renewal process, create new guidelines governing relationships with educational service providers, and to encourage the expansion of high-quality charter schools.
    • Mississippi moved up 29 spots from #43 in 2013 (the lowest-ranked law) to #14. Their jump was due to a significant overhaul of the law that now allows start-up charter schools, has stronger autonomy, accountability, and funding, and creates a new state authorizer.
    • Idaho moved up 12 spots from #32 to #20 for passing two different laws. The first strengthened accountability for charter schools and the second provided funding for charter school facilities.
  • Three states partially or entirely removed caps on the number of charter schools allowed in their states: MississippiNew Hampshire, and Texas.
  • Thirteen states strengthened their authorizing processes.
  • Twelve states improved their support for charter school funding and facilities.

“Despite these many improvements, there is still work to be done,” continued Rees. “The highest-ranked state only received 75 percent of the total points. We hope these rankings will continue to encourage lawmakers to improve their laws and support better environments for charter schools in each of their states.”

One of every 20 American children now attends public charter schools. More than 6,000 schools are teaching more than 2.5 million children. Eight states still remain without a charter school law: Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Click here to read Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.