School Choice & Charters

Report: 2012 Brought Political Victories, New Laws for Charters

By Katie Ash — January 29, 2013 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has released their fourth annual report ranking states against the organization’s model charter law. The survey found the top five states with the highest rankings were Minnesota, Maine, Washington, Colorado, and Florida.

Overall, 2012 will be remembered by charter advocates for having brought political victories, in some cases after years of setbacks, said Nina Rees, the president and chief executive officer of NAPCS, a nonprofit charter school advocacy organization.

“The track record of enacting [charter school] initiatives through the ballot box hasn’t been very positive, so the fact that we were able to do so in Georgia and enact a law in Washington state after four attempts that failed before makes 2012 an historic one,” she said.

Voters’ support for charter schools during this year’s election could indicate an increased familiarity with charters, said Rees. In addition, three states (Hawaii, Idaho, and Missouri) lifted caps on charter school growth, and ten states strengthened charters’ authorizing environments by expanding the types of entities that can authorize charter schools or by passing quality control measures meant to allow high-quality charter schools to grow. Connecticut, Hawaii, and Utah also improved funding for the operations and facilities of charter schools, the report said.

Each state with a charter school law (42 states plus the District of Columbia) was ranked in the report based on its comparison with the alliance’s model charter school law, which includes 20 essential components, such as what types of public charters are allowed in the state; whether there are transparent charter application, review, and decision-making processes; and whether there is equitable funding for charter school’s operations and facilities. The weight that each component is given towards states’ overall score is reviewed before each survey and changes to those weights are made on a regular basis by the alliance.

The 20 components typically fall into two key categories: quality control and autonomy. The report found that Maine, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico strengthened quality-control measures around charter schools. The District of Columbia and Oklahoma were notable in their strengthening of charter school autonomy in those regions.

States that experienced drops in their overall ranking were Rhode Island (which fell from 26th to 35th), Arkansas (17th to 25th), and Utah (12th to 20th). However, Rees pointed out that these dips were not a result of changing laws in those states but rather a result of other states increasing the strength of their charter school laws and thereby increasing their own scores in the overall ranking and knocking the other states down several notches.

In next year’s report, researchers hope to include more information about how states are implementing their charter school laws, said Rees.

“Right now states are graded simply based on how your law is written and how it compares to our model law,” she said. “It doesn’t take into account how you’re implementing the law.” New questions and data on the quality of charter schools—such as the percentage of charter students that are proficient on state tests vs. proficiency rates at traditional public schools, attendance rates for charter school students vs. traditional public school students, and graduation rates for charter school students vs. traditional public school students—will be taken into account in the 2014 version of the alliance’s report.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty