Maine comes in second in 2013 rankings of state charter laws
Feb 03, 2013 | 705 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE: WASHINGTON, D.C. - Maine’s charter school law ranks second among the 43 states that have approved charter school laws, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ (NAPCS) annual ranking of state charter school laws. Minnesota’s charter school law ranked first and Mississippi’s remained last.

Now in its fourth year, "Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws" ranks each of the country’s 43 state charter school laws. Each state receives a score on its law’s strength based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS "model law," which include measuring quality and accountability, equitable access to funding and facilities, and limited caps on charter school growth.

The report is meant to be a tool that offers a roadmap for how governors and legislators can take action to strengthen education reform laws, according to a press release from Larson PR, on behalf of the alliance.

The top 10 states with laws best positioned to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are, according to the press release, Minnesota, which this year recaptured the top spot, followed by Maine, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, California, New York, Indiana and New Mexico.

“While Maine is ranked second, its law still needs improvement in some areas, including by lifting the state’s cap on state-authorized charters and ensuring equitable access to capital funding and facilities,” said Todd Ziebarth of NAPCS, lead author of the report released Jan. 29.

Six states made notable jumps over the past year. Minnesota moved back into the top spot that it occupied in the first two years of the rankings, from second place last year. By closely aligning its recently enacted charter school law with NAPCS’s model law, Washington landed in third place. After making several authorizing improvements, Colorado moved from seventh to fourth. Louisiana jumped from 13th to sixth place due to significant strengthening of its authorizing environment and increasing charter school autonomy, according to the press release. South Carolina moved up from 25th to 12th place. Hawaii saw the biggest jump of all states after overhauling its law in several areas, including lifting its caps and strengthening its authorizing environment, jumping from 35th to 14th place.

"The biggest takeaway from this year's rankings is that the public charter school movement is continuing to build upon its recent momentum," said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the alliance.

Four states saw significant drops in their charter law rankings. New Hampshire dropped from 19th to 30th because, the press release stated, the state board of education enacted a moratorium on the approval of state-authorized charters, and Rhode Island fell nine spots from 26th to 35th. Two states dropped eight places: Arkansas, from 17th place to 25th, and Utah, from 12th place to 20th.

The top 10 states with laws best positioned to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are, according to the press release, Minnesota, which this year recaptured the top spot, followed by Maine, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, California, New York, Indiana and New Mexico.

The complete analysis may be downloaded at the National Alliance for Public Charter School’s website: http://www.publiccharters.org/publication/?id=949. For detailed state-by-state summaries and color-coded maps of how states measure against each component, go to http://charterlaws.publiccharters.org.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is "to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector."