Report: Quality of Charter School Laws Improves Nationwide

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) has announced the release of its annual ranking of state charter school laws across the country, with sixteen states seeing their charter school law scores increase.

While 22 states’ overall scores remained the same, only four states fell in their overall score.

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ranks each of the country’s 42 state charter school laws by their strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS model law.

These components include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities and limited caps on charter school growth.  And Maine’s law, which only passed last year, was ranked top in the country, with Mississippi’s law remaining at the bottom of the list.

NAPCS Vice President for State Advocacy and Support and lead author of the report, Todd Ziebarth, said:

“What’s most encouraging about the charter school movement’s legislative efforts is that they are more frequently marrying growth with quality and accountability.

“The long-term viability of the charter school movement is primarily dependent on the quality of the schools that open.  It’s critical that state lawmakers recognize the importance of charter school quality and accountability – and the impact that their laws have on it.  We are glad to see that they are increasingly doing so.”

The average score of all states increased 7 points from last year, suggesting that state charter laws are improving across the country.

The top 10 states with laws best positioned to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are Maine, Minnesota, Florida, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Indiana, Colorado, New York, California and Michigan.

Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said:

“There were a lot of shake-ups on the list this year.  Most notably, Maine’s new charter law is ranked number one after passing a strong charter law that is aligned with the NAPCS’ model charter law, although it is yet to be seen how the implementation or enforcement of the law plays out.

“While we see an increasing number of states creating favorable policy environments for high-quality charter schools, we acknowledge there is still a lot of work to be done.”

These rankings are thought to provide lawmakers with clear indications of where some states are excel and others fall short in their charter school laws as they prepare for their upcoming legislative sessions and take action to strengthen education reform laws.