States and Scores
STATES AT A GLANCE: CHARTER SCHOOL STATES AND THEIR STATE POLICY SCORES
NACSA’s scoring rubric is based on a framework of policies in law, regulation, and/or rules. The eight policies are not new ideas, nor are they cumbersome rules and regulations. They are simply cornerstones of charter school excellence protected by state law.
NACSA recognizes that it may be more difficult for certain states to enact some of the policies for a variety of reasons. Moreover, policies are only one part of the puzzle—what people do with them through implementation and the development of practices matters, too. Implementation does not exist in a vacuum; it is done within an administrative and political landscape by people and institutions that might not always get it right the first time.
Beyond the policy framework, lawmakers, stakeholders, and authorizers must ensure that the policies are implemented properly to provide quality charter schools to families and avert perverse incentives that undermine the system. Over time, a successful charter school system requires a combination of smart policy, committed people, and strong practice.
As with any policy, it’s all about the implementation:
- Ohio serves as an example of why strong policies alone are not a magic bullet for turning around charter sectors. Beginning in 2009, Ohio passed a series of reforms and now scores very well on this rubric, but rigorous implementation has, until recently, stalled. NACSA believes that once these reforms get through several key stages in the upcoming year—including the first comprehensive authorizer evaluation cycle—Ohio’s strong policies can right the ship.
- A handful of other states that rank very high on the analysis, such as Nevada and Texas, adopted many of NACSA’s recommended policies in response to concerns about the quality of their charter sectors. These states show initial signs of improvement, explored in case studies in 2015, and give hope that student outcomes will continue to improve as implementation continues.
- States with newer charter laws, such as Alabama, Maine, Mississippi, and Washington, score highly on NACSA’s rubric because their laws reflect many current recommendations. However, with their recent entry into chartering, on some policies they do not yet have implementation records to show policy application and outcomes.
Click on each state for its detailed score analysis.