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Laws & Legislation


Amicus Brief in Support of Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Constitutionality (December 1997)

December 19, 1997. The Center for Education Reform’s Brief Amici Curiae as submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in support of the amended Milwaukee Parental Choice Program and the constitutionality of the program.

Amicus Brief: Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program (2001)

June 2001. Amicus Brief for The Center for Education Reform in Support of Petitioners in the case against the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Grant Program.

Amicus Brief: Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program (2005)

January 2005. Brief of Black Alliance for Educational Options, Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, Excellent Education for Everyone, Center for Education Reform and Reason Foundation as amici curiae in support of appellants and filed by consent of all parties.

Amicus Brief: Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (1997)

December 1997. The purpose of this brief is to provide a legal framework which demonstrates the constitutionality of the amended Parental Choice Program, followed by empirical data which further demonstrates that the amended Parental Choice Program has the secular primary effect of advancing learning and achievement for all students. Other Amici, American Legislative Exchange, CEO […]


Baltimore City Public Charter School Policy (2003)

Baltimore City Public School System Public Charter School Policy. Approved by Board of School Commissioners October 28,2003.

By Laws of Unity Charter School

A Morristown, New Jersey public school of choice that faced a legal battle with the Morris School District in 1998.


CER Comments on Indiana Charter Schools Legislation (2013)

CER’s highlights the biggest concerns with Indiana’s HB 1338 and shares with key staffers and leadership in Governor Pence’s Administration.

Charter School Funding Challenge (2006)

August 25, 2006. Overview and executive summary, legal analysis, and next steps if the litigation will go forward.

Charter School Laws Across the States (2003)

CER’s 7th annual charter school law ranking and scorecard. Report recognizes strong laws are a key component to charter school success, and notes a new, disappointing “regulatory fever” trend in charter laws that are supposed to instead allow for autonomy and innovation.

Charter School Laws Across the States (2004)

CER’s 8th annual charter school law ranking and scorecard. After eight years of analyzing and scoring charter school laws, a clear pattern has emerged: the strength of a law is more often than not a predictor of charter success. 

Charter School Legislation: State Rankings Based on Degree of Expansiveness (1996)

These charter school law ratings have evolved into CER’s annual report, Charter School Laws Across the States

Charter School Legislation: State Rankings Criteria (1998)

The scores in this table are based on the current status of each law (through December 1998). These ratings are part of CER’s annual charter school rating report, Charter School Laws Across the States.

Charter School Statutory Violations (2007)

May 23, 2007.  The following memo outlines the factual information needed regarding charter schools in order to allege violations of state statues in Connecticut, Missouri, and Georgia. This effort is part of the Fiscal Equity Campaign.

Charter Schools: The Path of Funding

A description of how money flows to charter schools in each state with a charter school law.  List is organized by strength of charter school law.

Commissioner Addresses Unity Charter School Facility Concerns (1998)

December 4, 1998.  New Jersey State Board expresses policy and legal concerns with respect to the Commissioner’s approval of a final charter for the Unity Charter School, recommending further review and determination of the suitability of the charter school’s facility for educational purposes.

Complying with Missouri Charter School Funding (2006)

July 27, 2006. A written request to Missouri Commissioner Kent King that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education change its charter school funding calculations to comply with state law after discovering the July payment was significantly less than required.


D.C. Parents One Step Closer to Choice (2003)

July 10, 2003. Institute for Justice Hails House Committee Vote That Puts D.C. Parents One Step Closer to Choice

DC Parental Choice Incentive Act of 2003

This bill aims to give parents of students who attend failing schools expanded opportunities for enrolling their children in higher-performing schools in Washington, D.C.


Election Center: Presidential Candidates Scorecard (2008)

Where Senators McCain and Obama stand on charter schools, vouchers, performance pay for teachers, and No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Election Center: State Executive Scorecard (2008)

A quick rundown of where candidates for governor and state superintendent stand on charter schools, parent choice, performance pay for teachers, and testing with teeth.

Election Center: U.S. Senate Candidate Scorecard (2008)

CER assesses the reform prowess of incumbents and challengers by gauging where they stand on the D.C. school choice program, charter school incentive funds, and No Child Left Behind (NCLB).


Fiscal Equity Campaign: Funding Challenge Review and Response (2007)

July 2, 2007. A look at state statutes in Connecticut, Georgia, and Missouri from Kevin P. Chavous, partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rossenthal LLP.

Fiscal Equity Campaign: Review of Education Codes (2007)

December 20, 2007. A review of education codes for the states of Connecticut, Georgia andMissouri. Thecodereviewsweredesignedtodeterminetheframeworkineachstate by which education entities are funded.

Florida Charter Schools: 2008

Florida Governor Charlie Crist insists in a Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor that his administration is not against charter schools and will work with the Legislature to “ensure the future success of Florida’s charter schools.”


Kentucky Charter School Law; Bill Draft (2010)

The Center for Education Reform’s 2010 Bill Draft for Charter School Law in Kentucky.


Legal Summary of U.S. Supreme Court Decision: Zelman V. Simmons-Harris, 436 U.S.

On June 27, 2002, the United States Supreme Court ruled that that the state of Ohio was within its constitutional power to enact a school choice program for Cleveland’s children. This is a summary of that decision.

Letter to Appellate Judges: Unity Charter School Decision (1998)

December 4, 1998.  We represent the appellant, Morris School District (“District”), in the matter of the final grant of a charter for this New Jersey charter school. Please accept this letter brief in lieu of more formal submission in response to the New Jersey State Board of Education’s (“Board”) motion to dismiss our appeal.


Making the Case for School Choice to the U.S. Supreme Court (2001)

The Center for Education Reform made the following arguments on behalf of 27 civic, education and business groups in an Amicus Brief filed on November 9, 2001.

Mandate For Change

In January 2009, education reform advocates Richard Whitmire, Jeanne Allen, Kevin P. Chavous, John M. Engler, and Juan Williams came together to present Mandate for Change, a five-part recommendation to fix what they believe is the biggest problem in the US today – public education.

Maryland Charter Policy Concerns: Letter to Deputy State Superintendent (2003)

August 19, 2003.  CER President Jeanne Allen communicates concerns to Dr. Richard Steinke,  Deputy State Superintendent,  that the charter school policy drafted will discourage any charter applicant and make charter schools unduly regulated by school boards.

Maryland Charter Policy Concerns: Letter to Lieutenant Governor (2003)

August 19, 2003.  CER President Jeanne Allen writes to inform Lt. Governor Steele that CER received a call from Dr. Richard Steinke on August 18,2003, in response to the letter sent to Governor Ehrlich on August 14,2003, regarding the draft charter school policy.

Maryland Charter School Law: Problems with Draft Policy (2003)

August 14, 2003.  A letter from CER President Jeanne Allen to Governor Erlich that contains a list of specific problems with the draft charter school policy.

Maryland Public Charter School Program (2003)

There is a Maryland Public Charter School Program The general purpose o f the program is to establish an alternative means within the existing public school system in order to provide innovative learning opportunities and creative educational approaches to improve the education ofstudents.

Memo on CER Target States Fiscal Equity Effort (2007)

April 17, 2007. Data on laws in Connecticut, Missouri, and Georgia, with a focus on the diversity of treatment in each state from district to district. The arbitrary decisions of school boards when writing checks are not challenged, even when they are at odds with the law.

Missouri Charter School Law: Funding Provisions (2007)

A breakdown of what the school funding law says and what actually happens in practice.


New York Charter Schools Act Talking Points (2009)

Potential talking points to combat pending legislation that would limit SUNY’s charter school authorizing powers in New York City.

New York Charter Schools Act: SUNY / Regents Authority (2009)

Brief background and quick facts on New York State charter schools. Document put together in light of pending legislation that would limit SUNY’s ability to authorize charter schools.

Notable Quotables from Hearing on DC School Choice

Quotes from Mayor Williams, Virginia Walden Ford (DC parent), and Counciimember Kevin Chavous, and more.

NYCSA Memorandum of Opposition to New York Charter Schools Act (2009)

New York Charter Schools Association explains how this bill would result in a major setback for public education reform by eliminating SUNY’s ability to approve charter schools on its own.


Pending Legislation: Charter School Authorizers in New York (2009)

Recent press coverage describes the bills as a war declared by the Regents against SUNY, an institution of higher education that authorizes charter schools.


School Choice Bill Fails in Pennsylvania House 1995

A York Daily Record article from June 17, 1995 explains how Governor Ridge’s school choice proposal was defeated, and his resolve to keep pushing for choice for Keystone State students.

Senate Bill 1048 On Charter Schools is Bad Policy (2004)

Left unchecked, South Carolina could join a growing cadre of states that hold harmless school districts whose students choose to attend charter schools.

State Legislative Alert: Memorandum of Opposition (2009)

The State University of New York opposes legislation that effectively grants the Board of Regents veto power over the charter school decisions of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York.


The Unity Charter School Dilemma (1999)

February 1, 1999.  CER President Jeanne Allen gives Unity Charter School advice in fighting the lawsuit brought on by the Morris School District in New Jersey.


Unity Charter School Appeal Brief and Appendix (1998)

September 15, 1998.  The final decision of the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to approve the charter of the Unity Charter School was neither arbitrary nor capricious, and thus his grant of a charter to the Unity Charter School must be upheld.

Unity Charter School Application

A Morristown, New Jersey public school of choice that faced a legal battle with the Morris School District in 1998.

Unity Charter School Decision (1998)

November 6, 1998.  State Board of Education Decision in the matter of the final grant of a charter for the Unity Charter School, Morris County, New Jersey.

Unity Charter School Handbook

A Morristown, New Jersey public school of choice that faced a legal battle with the Morris School District in 1998.


Vote Results for DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (2003)

Final Vote Results for Roll Call 478  (H R 2765 )


Washington’s Cure for Failing Schools: More Bureaucracy (1994)

Chapter 1, part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), makes up approximately half of the total appropriation for federal elementary and secondary education programs, but recent studies suggest Chapter 1 has fallen far short of achieving its goals.

What Makes A Strong Charter School Law? (2007)

A list of ten criteria for strong charter school laws. Also included is a list of charter school laws rated A-F by the Center for Education Reform.

Why H 3010 is Bad for South Carolina Charter Schools (2005)

A letter to South Carolina lawmakers explaining why proposed amendments to the state’s charter school law would halt the growth of charter schools in the Palmetto State.

Wisconsin Teacher Education Program Approval and Licenses (2004)

Language regarding charter school instructional staff licenses and charter school instructional staff permits.

Wyoming Draft Legislation (2009)

Representative Amy Edmonds sent CER several bills that will be introduced in Wyoming as a strategy to ensure some positive legislation will be passed to improve the existing charter school law.