OLYMPIA, WA — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual state-by-state ranking of public charter school laws, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws, Tenth Edition. For the second year in a row, Washington took third place. Late last year, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the state’s charter school law, allowing the sector to continue to serve more than 3,200 charter public school students and putting to rest a prolonged legal battle over charter schools in the state.
Washington’s law allows for multiple authorizers via a statewide authorizer and local school districts, has strong quality control components, and gives operational autonomy to public charter schools. The two major weaknesses of the law include a cap of 40 charter schools during the initial five years that it is in effect and inequitable funding for public charter school students.
While Washington’s law ranked highly, potential areas for improvement include lifting the state’s cap, and ensuring equitable funding.
Washington State Charter Schools Association CEO Patrick D’Amelio remarked: “We are very pleased to see our law again ranks among the top three in the nation for its insistence on quality, flexibility, and accountability. Today’s news underscores what our state Supreme Court’s recent ruling affirmed: that Washington’s charter public schools have an important place in our state’s public education system. Backed by one of the nation’s strongest laws, our sector will continue to promote innovative and diverse school models that will make a measurable and lasting impact on systemically underserved students and communities.”
The National Alliance’s 2019 rankings measure each state’s charter school law against the “gold standard” model charter school law, A Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Schools: Second Edition, released in October 2016. The Tenth Edition of Measuring Up to the Model ranks public charter school laws in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Each law receives a score based on 21 essential metrics, including accountability, flexibility, and funding equity.
“As we begin National School Choice Week, the timing is right to recognize the role charter schools play in strengthening the public education system as a whole,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “As the report shows, many states are improving the quality of their charter school laws. At the same time, we recognize that until every state has a high-quality law—and every student who wants to attend a charter school is able to—our work is not done. We look forward to working alongside policymakers, school leaders, and education advocates to ensure every state creates an environment for all students to succeed.”
For additional key findings from the report, please view the press release from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.