What is the National Alliance's model charter school law?
The National Alliance’s model charter school law is a resource for states to use when writing laws governing charter schools. It was first produced in 2009 and then updated in 2016 by the National Alliance, both times with the support of a working group of individuals with deep expertise in public charter school law. It covers such critical issues as autonomy, authorizing, accountability, and funding. Click here to read the model law.
How are scores calculated in the National Alliance’s annual state charter school law rankings?
To calculate each state’s score in the National Alliance’s annual state charter school law rankings report, we first weighted each of the model law’s 21 essential components with a weight from 1 to 4. We then rated every state on the components on a scale of 0 to 4. We multiplied the rating and the weight to get a score for each component in each state. We then added up the scores for each of the components and came up with an overall score for each state.
For those states that allow full-time virtual charter schools, the highest score possible is 240 for all 21 components. For those states that don’t allow full-time virtual charter schools, the highest score possible is 228 for the remaining 20 components. However, we converted these scores to ones that are comparable to the states that allow full-time virtual charter schools. For example, Maryland received 59 out of the 228 points available for the remaining 20 components, or 26 percent. We then multiplied the total points possible for all 21 components (240) by 26 percent to get a score comparable to the other states (62).
How is the data gathered?
The National Alliance gathers data by reviewing each state’s charter school laws and regulations. We then share draft analyses with individuals in the jurisdictions in this report, including individuals working at state departments of education, state charter school associations and resource centers, and other organizations. We want to acknowledge and thank them for their invaluable feedback. Any remaining errors and omissions in the state analyses and rankings are the responsibility of the authors, not the reviewers from the states.
Why doesn’t my state have a score?
States only receive a score if they have a charter school law. Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia have passed charter school legislation. West Virginia passed a charter school law in 2019 and was included for the first time in the 2020 rankings. Kentucky enacted a charter school in 2017 and, for a variety of reasons, enacted a temporary funding mechanism for charter schools that year. Since that time, Kentucky has failed to enact a new funding mechanism, essentially making the charter school law meaningless. Therefore, we decided to remove the state from the report. We will include Kentucky again once the state enacts a new funding mechanism. The remaining states that do not have a charter school law are: Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont.