What makes for a successful state charter movement? The Center for Education Reform has sought to answer this question since 1996, through a detailed scorecard. As a result, the group knows what works–and what doesn’t. The 2021 scorecard offers the latest look at how state laws are helping or harming the charter movement.
A national scorecard ranks the states
Here’s the scorecard for 2021. Click on the screenshot image to take a closer look, or click here to read the write-up.
What makes for a winner?
Here’s the fundamental idea from CER:
The simple and original principle of charter schooling is that charter schools should receive enhanced operational autonomy in exchange for being held strictly accountable for the outcomes they promise to achieve. When charter school laws honor this principle, innovative, academically excellent charter schools flourish. In turn, schools that fail to produce strong outcomes close.
How does NC’s charter movement stack up?
North Carolina ranks 13th in the 2021 scorecard, unchanged from 2020. NC does well on the issue of growth. But, the state has plenty of room for improvement. What would help? North Carolina loses significant points, for instance, for funding inequity, constraints on autonomy, and issues related to charter authorizers. (CER advocates for multiple, independent authorizers.)
Secrets for success
What promotes charter success in any state? CER sums up:
… [C]harter school success depends on the policy environments in which charter schools operate. Some state laws and regulations encourage diversity and innovation in the charter sector by providing multiple authorizers to support charter schools and allowing charters real operational autonomy …
… Too many states, however, hamper charter schools with weak laws and needless regulations. These make it difficult to distinguish charters from their district counterparts.
Share the basics about charter schools with CER’s Charter FAQs.