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Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws

Todd Ziebarth

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is pleased to release its annual rankings of state charter school laws across the country, which found that many states took significant steps to strengthen their state laws. The report, and the NAPCS model charter school law it is based upon, is designed to support the creation of high-quality public charter schools, particularly for those students most in need of better public school options.

The rankings now include 43 states and the District of Columbia, due to Washington state voters for the first time ever approving a statewide charter school initiative last fall. This leaves eight states that have still failed to enact a charter school law: Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.

Now in its fourth year, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ranks each of the country’s 43 state charter school laws. Each state receives a score on its law’s strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS model law, which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities and limited caps on charter school growth.

The top 10 states with laws best positioned to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are: Minnesota which this year recaptured the top spot, followed by Maine, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, California, New York, Indiana and New Mexico. Rounding out the bottom of the list, the five states with the weakest charter school laws include: Mississippi, which continued its hold as having the nation’s worst charter school law, followed by Maryland, Kansas, Alaska and Virginia.