Home » Press Releases » Alabama Poised To Become 44th Charter School Law In The Nation

Alabama Poised To Become 44th Charter School Law In The Nation

Share This Story

Charter School Legislation Awaits Governor’s Signature

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
March 19, 2015

Last night, the Alabama Legislature passed SB 45, which would allow the creation of up to ten charter schools and an unlimited number of charter school conversions annually.

“This is undoubtedly a step forward for Alabama, but the ability of charter schools to truly influence student outcomes depends on the quality and the implementation of that law,” said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform (CER).

According to CER’s methodology in determining our 16th edition of Charter School Laws Across the States 2015: Rankings and Scorecard released earlier this week, Alabama’s law likely would’ve earned a mediocre grade.

Since 1996, CER has studied and evaluated charter school laws based on their construction and implementation, and whether or not they yield the intended result of the charter school policy, which is to ensure the creation of numerous quality learning opportunities for children.

“Strong charter laws feature independent, multiple authorizers, few limits on expansion, equitable funding, and high levels of school autonomy,” said Alison Consoletti Zgainer, CER Executive Vice President and the report’s lead editor. “Many states that appear to have all of the critical components of a strong law struggle with the implementation of key provisions, which is why the rankings over the past few years have shown little variance and have remained relatively stagnant.”

On paper, concerns with Alabama’s legislation include a cap on the number of schools allowed and a lack of independent and multiple authorizers.

“The 16th edition of Charter School Laws Across the States 2015: Rankings and Scorecard revealed a lack of political will to improve charter school laws to play a more central role in addressing the needs and demands of our nation’s students,” said Kerwin. “It’s tremendous that Alabama lawmakers passed legislation allowing for new opportunities for students, but it’s imperative they pay close attention to how the law plays out on the ground and continually improve it so that charter schools are given the equity, accountability, and freedom to be true innovators in meeting more students’ educational needs.”