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(2012) US Scores 2.1 GPA in Annual Education Analysis

The Essential Guide to Charter School Law provides path to excellence

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
April 2, 2012

The wide variations in charter school laws state by state average out to a grade in need of improvement, according to The Essential Guide to Charter School Law by the Center for Education Reform. In its 13th annual analysis of laws across the states, CER, the leading advocate for substantive and structural change in US education, documents the conditions for effective laws that support the growth and success of these proven models of public schooling.

“Charter schools — public schools, open by choice, accountable for results and free from most rules and regulations that stifle progress in traditional schools — are permitted in 41 states and the District of Columbia, and yet the conditions for success in those states compromise the availability of great new public schools that parents and students most need and deserve,” said CER President Jeanne Allen. “While some state laws are still as great as intended when they were created, many states, just like schools that complain they are forced to ‘teach to the test’ rather than deliver exceptional education, have just gone through the motions, passing laws that give very little life to charter school reforms.”

The 2012 report analyzes each law against nationally recognized benchmarks that most closely dictate the impact of charter school policies on healthy, sustainable charter schools. Components such as the creation of multiple independent authorizers and fiscal equity can transform a state’s educational culture. States that do so include Washington, DC, Minnesota and Indiana.

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Charter School Law Rankings 2011

Download or print your PDF copy of Charter School Laws Across the States 2011

Obama Administration Must Embrace Real Education Reform, Not Rhetoric

Statement by Jeanne Allen, CER President
November 4, 2009

In response to President Barack Obama’s remarks today on his Administration’s education reform initiatives and Race to the Top competition, Center for Education Reform president Jeanne Allen released the following statement:

Today, President Obama championed his administration’s education reform initiatives in a Wisconsin speech, focusing on states that he claims are leading the charge for education reform.

The Obama Administration has jumped on board the charter school bandwagon and, in doing so, is telling states they must do better and create or fix laws in order to compete for their share of $4.3 billion in federal “Race to the Top” funds.

As admirable as the Obama administration’s policy on charters may appear to be, the President and his Education Secretary are, too often, giving states credit for talking about charter schools rather than actually changing laws to improve the likelihood that children will have real school choice.

For example, Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s description of reforms in Tennessee, Rhode Island, Indiana, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois has been misleading. While the Secretary has said that ‘numerous states have adopted reforms that would have been almost unthinkable a year ago,’ this is simply not the case.

No state cited in this popular mythology has revoked limits on the number of charters allowed to open this year. Several, in fact, merely fulfilled budgetary promises of charter funding after having first wiped them off the books.

In reality, most of the nation’s 40 charter laws will need dramatic legislative changes to develop robust charter laws that actually allow for the growth of the types of schools both President Obama and Secretary Duncan routinely credit with raising academic achievement and turning around students’ lives.

We want to see states get bold and adopt strong charter laws – which everyone knows how to do,

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