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The Health of the Charter Public School Movement: A State-by-State Analysis

March 7, 2016

The Health of the Charter Public School Movement: A State-by-State Analysis evaluates the health of the charter public school movement in key states across the country. Following the first report released in October 2014, this second edition measures movement growth, innovation, and quality, while this year doubling the number of quality measures. Due to these quality additions, a total of 18 states with charter school laws met the criteria for inclusion in this year's report.

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws 2016

January 20, 2016

2015 has proved to be another active year for charter public school legislation across the country. For starters, we saw significant activity regarding potential enabling legislation in several of the states without charter public school laws. Most notably, Alabama became the 43rd state to enact a charter school law.We saw a handful of states lift restrictions on growth. For example, New York made some important adjustments to its cap to allow more charter public school growth in New York City and more charter-authorizing activity by the State University of New York. In addition, Oklahoma expanded charters statewide.

2015 State Legislative Session Highlights for Public Charter Schools

October 28, 2015

2015 has proved to be another successful year for public charter school legislation across the country. Some of the biggest developments of the 2015 state legislative sessions include:Alabama became the 43rd state to enact a public charter school law.Connecticut defeated a proposed two-year moratorium on opening of new charter schools.Indiana increased school autonomy, strengthened school and authorizer accountability, and funded facilities and finance programs.Nevada improved funding opportunities and modified its automatic closure requirements for low-performing public charter schools.New York increased flexibility for teacher certification and adjusted its cap to allow more public charter school growth in New York City.Ohio increased per-pupil funding for charter facilities and expanded the ability of traditional districts to levy taxes for charter schools that are sponsored by "exemplary" sponsors.Oklahoma overhauled law, including provisions to allow charter schools statewide, strengthening school and authorizer accountability, and allowing charter schools to borrow money.Wisconsin overhauled its law to allow more entities to authorize independent public charter schools, strengthening school and authorizer accountability, and providing additional funding to independent public charter schools.

Automatic Closure of Low-Performing Public Charter Schools

October 26, 2015

The National Alliance advocates for the growth and expansion of high-quality charter schools. While we believe it is important to foster the growth of charter schools achieving great academic results for students, it is equally important to close charter schools that are not improving student outcomes.We are pleased to see that over the past several years, state lawmakers have increasingly enacted legislation, often based on our model law, to better support the growth of high-quality public charter schools -- including strengthening accountability provisions for these innovative public school options. At the same time, a growing number of states have passed laws that require charter schools to close if they do not meet certain performance benchmarks.This week we released a state policy snapshot that provides an overview of automatic closure policies in the 15 states that have such laws, which is an increase of four states since we last released this snapshot in 2014.As state lawmakers consider these policies, they should give serious thought to several issues, including authorizers' track records in closing low-performing public charter schools, the sophistication of their states' accountability systems, and how to handle public charter schools that serve high percentages of at-risk students.We commend policymakers who have acted to enforce the quality of their state's charter school landscape through strong accountability measures. We also strongly encourage lawmakers to work closely with the local public charter school stakeholders who are committed to quality as they investigate this policy issue.

Assessing the Increasing Strength of Charter Laws

September 29, 2015

Since 2005, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance) has advocated for high-quality public charter school laws. With the support of a working group with deep expertise in public charter school law, we released a model charter law in 2009 with 20 essential components focused on creating and supporting high-quality public charter schools.After we released the model charter law, we then undertook an extensive review of all existing state charter laws in comparison to the model law and issued annual state charter laws rankings reports in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Each year, we sought input on the rankings reports from a variety of charter stakeholders and made adjustments to the reports' scoring rubrics as needed. In the rankings reports, we showed where state scores shifted as a result of policy change, but we also noted where changes occurred as a result of adjustments in our scoring rubrics or further clarifications about existing policies in states that would affect the state's rankings score.The purpose of this report is to sync the ratings from the multiple rankings reports so that rating changes over time are primarily the result of changes in policy, not from changes to our scoring rubrics and clarifications about existing policies.

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws, 2014

January 23, 2014

This report evaluates each state's charter school law against the 20 essential components of a strong public charter school law. These 20 components are drawn from National Alliance's A New Model Law For Supporting The Growth Of High-Quality Public Charter Schools.Over the past few years, there has been significant activity in state capitals to improve public charter school laws, and 2013 was no exception. Governors and legislators from coast to coast worked to lift caps that are constraining growth, enhance quality controls to better encourage the opening of great schools, and provide additional funding to decrease the equity gap between public charter school students and their counterparts in traditional public schools. All of this work was done with one simple goal in mind: create more high-quality public charter schools to meet the surging parental demand.