The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Releases 8th Annual State Charter School Laws Rankings

The top 10 states on the 2017 ranking are Indiana, Alabama, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, New York, Maine, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual state-by-state ranking of charter public school laws, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws, Eighth Edition. The 2017 rankings are the first that measure each state’s charter school law against the National Alliance’s updated model charter school law, A New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Public Schools: Second Edition, which was released in October 2016.

The 2017 rankings reflect new provisions from the model charter school law regarding flexibility, accountability, and equity. The 2017 rankings also reflect the continued steps many states took in 2016 to strengthen their laws and foster a landscape of high-quality charter public schools that have a positive impact on students.

“A state’s charter school law has a major impact on the quality of its charter school movement. A strong law that promotes flexibility, accountability, and equity leads to schools that can have a tangible, positive impact on the lives of students,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “We are pleased to see states using our model law as a benchmark of success when crafting their own laws – as well as learning from the top states on our rankings about what best practices to implement.”

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws, Eighth Edition ranks the charter school laws in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Each law receives a score based on 21 essential metrics, which include flexibility, accountability, and equity. These 21 components are drawn from the National Alliance’s New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Public Schools: Second Edition.

Key findings from the report include:

Indiana has the nation’s strongest charter school law in the country for the second year in a row. Indiana’s law does not cap charter school growth, includes multiple authorizers, and provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability.

Washington became the newest addition to the rankings in 2017, having passed legislation that re-established its charter school law after the Washington Supreme Court declared its previous law invalid, becoming the 44th jurisdiction (43 states and D.C.) with a charter school law.

Mississippi made major improvements to its law by now allowing students in school districts rated C, D, or F to cross district lines to attend a charter school and permitting charter school employees to participate in the state retirement system and other benefits programs.

Maryland continues to hold the lowest spot, ranking 44th with the weakest charter school law in the country. While Maryland’s law does not cap charter school growth, it allows only local school district authorizers and provides little autonomy, insufficient accountability and inequitable funding to charters.

Click here to read the full report: Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws.