Finally, a strong, modern, quality-centered metric by which to
judge the strength of state charter laws! The Center for Education
Reform did pioneering and valuable work
in this area but its metric is limited and somewhat archaic, having
more to do with schools’ freedom from regulation than with their
performance or their states’ accountability expectations. In this new
report, the Alliance compares actual state charter laws with a model law
that they developed, and ranks the forty states with such laws on
elements like quality, accountability, and funding equity. “Quality
control” measures (e.g., requiring performance-based contracts and
having comprehensive charter school monitoring and data collection
processes) are weighted the most heavily. Minnesota, DC, and California
came out on top; Iowa, Alaska, and Maryland at the bottom. The
indicators are presented separately so that state policyma
kers, charter advocates, foes, and researchers alike can zero in on the
elements that matter most to them. There’s a minor methodological
quibble, however, which is more one of adequate explanation than
analytical error; NAPCS fails to differentiate which scores derive
specifically from state laws and which also derive from practice,
which they took into consideration in three of the categories (e.g., on
charter caps, they consider also if the state is at or approaching the
cap). You can find the report itself and an accompanying online database
of its contents here.

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
January 2010

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