In 2021, families were desperate for more educational options. Hearing their cries, lawmakers in state after state made significant improvements to their charter school laws, creating more fertile ground for these unique public schools.
These changes were reflected in the National Alliance’s 13th annual state charter school law rankings report, which saw positive movement in a number of states. The review of the strength and sustainability of all the charter school laws in the country ensures lawmakers are held accountable to families seeking high-quality public school options for their students, more important now than ever before.
Here are the four states that made the most progress this past year in their charter school law:
Iowa was the most improved state—leaping from #41 to #18 after enacting an overhaul to its charter school law. Major improvements in the game-changing public charter school bill in Iowa included strengthened authorizing and enhanced autonomy and accountability. Thanks to state leadership and a commitment to more learning opportunities amid a pandemic, Iowa has made a big step forward for families.
Ohio jumped up a dozen spots in the rankings, leaping from #24 to #12 after making a round of policy improvements to its law. These changes included removing geographic restrictions on where a charter school can be started. With this change, more families in more parts of the state will have access to high-quality public school options.
After significantly improving its charter school law, West Virginia moved from #32 to #28. West Virginia improved its authorizing and caps policies.
Wyoming saw the second-biggest jump in its score after Iowa and moved from #42 to #34. The jump is largely due to creating a new state authorizer that will allow for more charter schools to open throughout the state. However, there is still room for growth. With a cap on the number of charter schools, legislators are continuing to put a cap on the number of families who have a choice in their child’s public education.
In addition to these most improved states, 10 other states also made policy changes that led to improvements in their scores: Alabama (#3), Florida (#5), Nevada (#9), Oklahoma (#19), New Hampshire (#20), Missouri (#27), Michigan (#30), Hawaii (#31), New Jersey (#35), and Illinois (#38).
We hope this report helps charter school supporters defeat harmful bills while boosting their efforts to create more educational opportunities for America’s students.
Todd Ziebarth is the senior vice president of state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.