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November 02, 2009
Living near D.C.?a city with a 40 percent charter market share?charter schools are a constant topic of discussion, with reform-minded Marylanders envious of D.C.'s friendliness toward charters. Despite the adoption of Maryland's Charter Law in 2003, the state has seen gross disparities in the creation of charter schools across the state. While some areas, particularly Baltimore City, have proven to be very friendly to charter schools, most others have not. Of the forty-four charters across the state, thirty-four are located in Baltimore City; 74 percent of the counties in Maryland do not have a single charter school within their borders.
This disparity stems from the vagueness and openness of MD's charter law?designated as one of the weakest charter laws in the nation, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. The loose guidelines provided by it, coupled with the authority given to local education authorities (LEA), has resulted in wide variation in the law's implementation across the state.
Charter schools are an important aspect of our education system as they provide families, particularly low-income families, with options for their children's public education
In order to make more uniform opportunities for charter schools across the state, we offer four policy recommendations, that we believe will help level the playing field for charter schools in Maryland:
?Holly Licht, Kunal Namballa, Lauren Sexauer, and Nikeysha Jackson.
The authors are Teach for America corps members in Prince George's County, MD and graduate students at George Mason University.
They'd like to offer many thanks to the Maryland Charter Network, which provided much framing of their initial thoughts and ideas.