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Newswire Special Edition! The National Charter School Laws Rankings: March 28, 2017

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CER’S NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL LAW RANKINGS AND SCORECARDLast week the Center for Education Reform (CER) released its annual ranking of charter school laws for the states and the District of Columbia, giving fewer than a quarter of state charter school laws in the U.S. above-average grades.

CER'S NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOL LAW RANKINGS AND SCORECARD.

 

1. MULTIPLE AUTHORIZERS MATTER. States that permit a number of entities in addition to local school boards to authorize charter schools, and that provide applicants with a binding appeals process, encourage more activity. In states with strong charter school laws like Indiana, Michigan and New York, universities have proven to be incredibly sophisticated and successful charter school authorizers. Universities combine expertise and operational capabilities of a robust educational institution with the independence to embrace cutting edge teaching methods that move the needle for students.

2. IMPLEMENTATION OFTEN DIFFERS FROM WHAT’S ON PAPER. States that follow what’s written in law tend to have healthier charter school environments. For example, some states say they’re going to fund schools equitably but fail to do so.

3. ON THE UPS. The two states that improved their rankings the most from 2015 to 2016 were Massachusetts, which jumped from 27th place to 10th and North Carolina which moved from 23rd place to 13th. Three states experienced double digit drops in their rankings: Washington fell from 28th to 40th, Delaware dropped from 21st to 31st, and Ohio went from 14th to 24th.

4. GOING DOWN. Compared to our 2015 rankings, we lowered the grades of 13 states: Minnesota and Michigan from A to B; Utah, Missouri and Idaho from B to C; Delaware, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Maine and Illinois form C to D; and Alaska and Iowa from D to F. Only the District of Columbia, Arizona and Indiana received A’s, while Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Florida, New York, Massachusetts and South Carolina earned B’s.

5. WATCH FOR REGULATORY RELOAD. Don’t take our word for it, just ask Ben Lindquist’s whose piece says overregulation undermines the ability of charter schools “to offer distinctive, high-quality options to students and families with differing needs and preferences.” (A not-so-fun fact from his article: “In 2014-15, Arkansas charters were each expected to submit 374 separate reports” through nine reporting systems.)

Huerta and Zuckerman studied the inception of this regulatory fervor in 2009—called it Management Recentralization (2009)—which many of today’s most influential charter leaders believe is the necessary extension of replacing the “frontier era” of charter schooling with more centralized “planning and coordination.”  Not on our watch.