The Charter Blog

Rural Charter School Growth Should Impact Policy Conversations

When public conversation turns to charter schools, much of the attention is focused on urban students. In the National Alliance for Public Charter School’s recent report, they highlighted that charter school enrollment growth across the country was concentrated in America’s big cities. The Los Angeles Unified School District alone has 150,000 students attending charter schools, which to put into perspective is about half of Idaho’s total K-12 public school enrollment.

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Posted in State Government Issues

A Successful 2015: Improving State Policies to Support Public Charter Schools

2015 has proved to be another successful year for public charter school legislation across the country. Today we release a report that provides a summary of the 2015 state legislative highlights for public charter schools.

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.

Please read 2015 State Legislative Session Highlights for Public Charter Schools to learn more about how the National Alliance and policymakers are working together to improve public charter school laws nationwide.

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Posted in State Government Issues

More States Have Policies That Enforce Quality Through Automatic Closure of Low-Performing Public Charter Schools

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.

Yesterday 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.

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Posted in State Government Issues

How You Can Help Save Washington’s Charter Schools

On Friday, the Washington State Supreme Court rejected the voter-approved public charter school law based on a century-old precedent and said that public charter schools cannot receive “common school” public funds because they are not overseen by elected boards.

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Posted in State Government Issues

Hawaii Expands Pre-K to Charter Schools

Four public charter schools in Hawaii will say “Aloha!” to pre-K students this year, thanks to a new federal Preschool Development Grant. The $14.8 million grant will allow 18 charter schools to offer pre-K over the next four years.

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Posted in State Government Issues, Federal Government

Wisconsin Budget Bill Contains Big Wins for Public Charter Schools

A few weeks ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the state’s budget bill into law. This budget bill contains some of the most far-reaching changes to the state’s public charter school law since Wisconsin first enacted its law in 1993.

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Posted in State Government Issues

What You Need to Know About the State Charter School Laws Rankings Report

Last week, we released the sixth edition of Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws. This report evaluates each state’s charter school law against the 20 essential components from our model law, which includes items such as “No Caps,” “Performance-Based Charter Contracts,” and “ Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities”.

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Posted in State Government Issues, Research

Put Money Where Your School Choice Mouth Is

(Originally published by U.S. News & World Report)

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Posted in News, State Government Issues, Federal Government

Charter Schools in St. Louis Giving Students Greater Access to a High-Quality Education, Paving the Way for Even More Success

The city of St. Louis recently released a study that showed public education is improving for their students. The study, produced by IFF, looks at where children live, where they go to school, and if they have access to a high-quality schools, based on state accreditation. The study uses 2013 data and is an update to a similar study produced five years ago.

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Posted in News, State Government Issues

How are Michigan charter schools performing?

A recent news series by the Detroit Free Press has questioned the performance of Michigan charter schools. Unfortunately, the series fails to acknowledge or glosses over key facts. So here is a look at the evidence regarding the performance of charter schools in Michigan.

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Posted in News, State Government Issues