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2010_01.13_How-State-Charter-Laws-Rank-Against-The-New-Model-Public-Charter-School-Law

How State Charter Laws Rank Against The New Model Public Charter School Law

Todd Ziebarth

It’s very important to have better, clearer charter laws laws that enable innovation, promote transparency about how charter schools perform and how they are held accountable, and provide fair access to public funds and facilities. We’re encouraged that the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools supports creation of better charter school laws as models of learning, and we encourage authorizers to hold charters accountable for student performance.

-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, January 2010

Dear Colleague: I’m writing to share with you How State Charter Laws Rank Against the New Model Public Charter School Law, a new resource from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In June 2009, the Alliance released A New Model Law For Supporting The Growth of High-Quality Public Charter Schools. Lawmakers and advocates in numerous states are using it to inform their efforts to enact a charter law for the first time, while those states with existing charter laws have it on hand as a roadmap to improve certain aspects of their status quo. Soon after the release of the model law, we began receiving questions from these folks about how their existing charter laws stack up against the model law, particularly in light of the role of public charter schools in the U.S. Department of Education’s $4 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) competitive grant program. They also wanted to know who had the strongest laws, especially in the critical areas of authorizing, accountability, funding, and facilities. We henceforth enlisted the individuals who helped craft the model law, rolled up our sleeves, and started analyzing and ranking existing laws. The result is this report, the first to accurately gauge a state’s public charter school law with respect to its commitment to the full range of values in the public charter school movement: quality and accountability, funding equity, facilities support, autonomy, and growth and choice. This report looks at each individual state that has a charter school law, assesses the strengths of its law against the 20 essential components of the model law, and ranks them from 1 to 40. It is closely aligned with the original intent of public charter school law, which is to establish independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement. We hope the report is useful to lawmakers and advocates in the 40 jurisdictions with charter laws as they work to improve them as well as to those in the 11 states without laws as they push to enact them. We look forward to supporting them in the months and years ahead in this important work. We hope you find it to be a valuable guide in your work. Register to attend the official policy briefing event describing the report findings and their relation to the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition. Visit the new State Charter Law Rankings Database Read the Alliance’s June 2009 release, A New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Public Charter Schools. Sincerely, Todd Ziebarth Vice President, Policy