North Carolina Ranks 11th in New 2022 Ranking of State Charter Laws

By May 19, 2022 News

North Carolina ranks 11th in new rankings of state charter laws, tying with Massachusetts and New York. North Carolina earned a “C” grade overall. Those are some key findings from the Center for Education Reform‘s (CER) new 2022 annual ranking and scorecard.

Scorecard criteria for state charter laws emphasize equity, autonomy

Each year, CER evaluates state charter laws based on several factors:

  • Charter authorizers (multiple authorizers and authorizer independence)
  • Growth (no caps on the number of charter schools, scalability)
  • Operations (charter autonomy, teacher freedom, flexibility to innovate)
  • Equity (fair funding for operations, facilities, Pre-K)

What makes for a better ranking and higher grade? No surprise here: States that provide equitable funding, freedom to grow and innovate, charter autonomy, and flexibility for charter authorizers produce stronger charter movements.

Topping the scorecard this year: Arizona, which dethroned Florida to lead the nation in charter laws. However, both states earn an “A” grade from CER for their charter laws.

How do the top charter states compare to North Carolina?

Here’s what CER says about Arizona and Florida:

While both states have aggressively responded to the needs of parents to provide a wide array of education opportunities, Arizona made a comeback to overtake Florida as the first place winner in the advancement of charter schools.  The Grand Canyon State increased funding and the proportion of students in charter schools, which have been innovatively creating new models of education – like microschools – which appeal to a broad array of parents.

Clearly, all of this makes a difference in overall growth–as measured by a state’s number of charter schools and charter students. In Arizona, for instance, about 28% of all public schools are charter schools and 20% of students attend public charter schools, according to CER.

What about Florida? CER notes that 17% of public schools are charter schools while around 12% of students are enrolled in charter schools. In Washington, D.C., which ties Michigan for third overall, almost 50% of students attend charter schools.

In North Carolina, about 10% of public schools are charter schools. Charter students comprise 8.6% of the total public school population, according to 2022 state data.

So, strong laws and policies matter a great deal. They help foster an environment that is favorable to charter growth and a sustainable charter movement. The inverse is also true, as CER notes: “Overregulation and underfunding force charters to behave as district schools by another name.”

Here’s the 2022 Scorecard:

CER’s 2022 Scorecard of Charter Laws & State Rankings

Read CER’s press release here.