Minnesota remains at the top of an annual ranking of state charter laws, while Maryland brings up the rear of the pack, with the lowest score among the 42 states that allow charter schools. The District of Columbia is also included in the rankings.
This is the sixth year the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has produced the rankings, which are determined by how well state laws stack up against a model charter law developed by NAPCS.
Looking at states that showed major shifts, Utah moved up seven spots to 18th place, thanks to recent changes to the state’s charter law. The state has set minimum financial and student achievement standards for charter schools to operate under. It also requires charter contracts to lay out the responsibilities and rights of both the school and the authorizer—the groups that grant charters and oversee the schools.
South Carolina made a similar jump in the rankings, also because of adjustments to its charter law. Among other things, a new charter law gives charter applicants access to multiple authorizers, pushing South Carolina up six spots to 10th place.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts dropped six places to the number 17 spot because of new data from the University of Arkansas highlighting funding disparities in the state between charter and district schools.
That study from the University of Arkansas, released last year, found that funding inequalities are increasing across the country. Adding that data to the NAPCS’s ranking caused many states’ scores’ scores to drop.
In all, 14 states moved up while 17 states fell.
You can see how your own state measures up by digging into the full report here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.