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Charter School Laws Continue to Advance


• Dr. Matthew Ladner

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools published a very useful summary of the increasing strength of charter school laws between 2010 and 2013. Some states advanced their laws incrementally, and others raced ahead. Here is a map I put together based on their data:

Figure 1: States Making 10 Point or Greater Gains on the Strength of their Charter School Law Between 2010 and 2013 (Red = Greater than 20 Points)

map

 

This map fails to capture the full amount of improvement, as 35 states improved their charter school laws during this period against only one small decline (Pennsylvania). Table 1 comes from the study and shows the year by year scores for charter schools in each state. Maine came in strong with new legislation in 2012 which they improved in 2013, resulting in the second highest ranked law in the nation. Hawaii delivers the biggest point gain in the ranking with a huge improvement in their legislation in 2013.

Table 1: Year by Year Scores for State Charter School Laws 2010-2013 (Source: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)

State 2010 2011 2012 2013 Point Change
Alaska 56 62 62 63 7
Arizona 136 133 133 141 5
Arkansas 116 116 122 122 6
California 150 150 150 150 0
Colorado 138 142 142 160 22
Connecticut 106 106 106 110 4
Delaware 121 121 127 127 6
District of Columbia 132 132 132 134 2
Florida 133 147 151 151 18
Georgia 134 134 125 135 1
Hawaii 75 82 82 139 64
Idaho 104 104 101 110 6
Illinois 100 100 117 117 17
Indiana 112 112 148 148 36
Iowa 62 71 71 71 9
Kansas 63 63 63 63 0
Louisiana 128 132 128 151 23
Maine 163 166 3
Maryland 42 42 42 42 0
Massachusetts 135 148 148 145 10
Michigan 122 122 138 138 16
Minnesota 168 172 172 172 4
Mississippi 39 39 39 0
Missouri 119 119 119 132 13
Nevada 109 109 126 126 17
New Hampshire 111 114 120 113 2
New Jersey 104 104 104 114 10
New Mexico 117 117 147 147 30
New York 134 148 148 148 14
North Carolina 107 107 122 125 18
Ohio 106 106 113 117 11
Oklahoma 101 106 106 109 8
Oregon 116 116 120 120 4
Pennsylvania 134 131 131 131 -3
Rhode Island 71 74 108 108 37
South Carolina 117 117 117 141 24
Tennessee 101 101 109 109 8
Texas 120 120 124 124 4
Utah 127 127 127 131 4
Virginia 65 69 69 69 4
Washington 161 N/A
Wisconsin 77 77 77 77 0
Wyoming 87 87 87 87 0

 

Note that Mississippi’s strengthening of their 2011 charter school law has not yet been reflected in the rankings. Interestingly, new kids on the block Maine and Washington now have stronger charter school laws than Florida according to the NAPCS rankings.

Bully for them, but surely that cannot be allowed to stand…


About the author


Dr. Matthew Ladner @MatthewLadner

Matthew@excelined.org

Dr. Matthew Ladner is the Senior Advisor of Policy and Research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He previously served as Vice President of Research and Goldwater Institute. Prior to joining Goldwater, Dr. Ladner was director of state projects at the Alliance for School Choice. Dr. Ladner has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform. Most recently, Dr. Ladner authored the groundbreaking, original research Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education, outlining the future funding crisis facing America’s K-12 public education funding. He also coauthors the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform. Dr. Ladner has testified before Congress, the United States Commission of Civil Rights and numerous state legislative committees. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. Dr. Ladner is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Educational Choice. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.