During National School Choice Week, we advocate for parents' right to choose the best educational option for their children. Charter public schools are the fastest growing segment of public school choice, and many states are working hard to ensure that their charter law provides the most effective environment in which charter schools can operate.
Last week the National Alliance released its annual rankings of state charter school laws, and many states made significant improvements. Notably, for the first time, Indiana is ranked first on the state law rankings, which is a move up from #5 last year. This shift is the result of legislative changes related to autonomy, accountability, and funding made in 2015. From a longer-term perspective, though, it is the culmination of efforts by two governors and several key legislators from the House and the Senate since 2011 to ensure Indiana has the strongest charter school law in the country. When we released our first state charter laws rankings report in January 2010, Indiana was ranked #29.
The rankings methodology includes scoring each state charter school law against 20 essential components from the National Alliance’s model law. Indiana’s score increased from 161 points to 177 points (out of a possible 228 total points) because of new policies for Component #4 (Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required), Component #6 (Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decision-making Processes), Component #11 (Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools, with Independent Public Charter School Boards), Component #12 (Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment and Lottery Procedures), and Component #19 (Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities).
Indiana made notable strides in 2015 to provide more equitable funding to public charters, although some work still remains. The biggest area for improvement in Indiana’s law is continuation of efforts to close the inequitable funding gap between public charter school students and their counterparts in traditional public schools.
Check out the full Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws report to learn more about Indiana and each state’s charter school law. And please follow the National Alliance (@charteralliance) on Twitter to learn more about charter public schools during National School Choice Week.