Harrisburg, PA — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual ranking of state public charter school laws, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws, Tenth Edition. Over the past decade, this report has evaluated how well each state aligns its charter school law to a “gold standard” model law, A Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Schools: Second Edition, released in October 2016.

Pennsylvania’s ranking moved from No. 35 (out of 45) to No. 34 (out of 44) in the report.  Across Pennsylvania, too many students still lack access to the educational opportunities they need to succeed in the 21st century.  Sweeping education reform that will encourage competition between schools and give kids a way out of the notorious failing institutions in which they are trapped in is imperative.

“In the past few years, the public charter school sector in Pennsylvania has seen hardly any growth due to districts being unwilling or unable to fulfill their role as impartial authorizers and the charter school law has also not been updated”, stated Ana Meyers.  “We will continue to advocate to reform Pennsylvania’s antiquated Charter School Law as well as incentivize high-quality charter schools and establish an independent charter school authorizer. Now is the time to demand a better education for every child!”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Georgia made the biggest jump in this year’s rankings, moving up 11 spots from No. 27 to No. 16. The leap is credited to legislation enacted to improve the state’s policies for special education, funding, and full-time virtual charter schools.
  • The Top 10 includes a mix of states with more mature movements (Indiana at No. 1, Colorado at No. 2, Minnesota at No. 4, Florida at No. 7, D.C. at No. 9, and Nevada at No. 10) and states with newer movements (Washington at No. 3, Alabama at No. 5, Mississippi at No. 6, and Maine at No. 8). Many states with existing charter school laws continue to strengthen them using lessons learned from what’s working—and what isn’t. New states rely heavily on those best practices when crafting their laws.
  • States with new or overhauled laws are bypassing states that were previously ranked higher, such as ArizonaLouisiana, and New York. The laws have not weakened in the states being bypassed; they remain strong. Instead, these shifts indicate that throughout the country, charter school laws are getting better across the board.
  • New York experienced the largest drop in this year’s rankings, falling three places from No. 14 to No. 17. While New York didn’t enact any new negative legislation, its existing caps on charter schools now leave precious little room for growth in New York City, where charter schools are serving tens of thousands of students with high-quality public-school choices.
  • Maryland again has the nation’s weakest charter school law, ranking No. 44 (out of 44). While Maryland’s law does not cap public charter school growth, it allows only district authorizers and provides little autonomy, insufficient accountability, and inequitable funding to charter schools. Rounding out the bottom five states are Iowa (No. 40), Wyoming (No. 41), Alaska (No. 42), and Kansas (No. 43).

Click here to read the full report: Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws, Tenth Edition.

*Note: Kentucky is not included in this year’s report because the state has failed to enact a new funding mechanism, rendering the existing charter school law meaningless. When this is resolved, Kentucky will again be included in the report.