Strong New Charter Law Puts Washington State 4th in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’Annual State Charter School Laws Rankings Report

For Immediate Release | Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Contact: Maggie Meyers at (724) 263-9826 or

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual state-by-state ranking of charter public school laws, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws, Eighth Edition. Having recently re-established a strong statewide charter public school law, Washington is the newest state to join the report, ranking 4th for its first year back in the rankings. Washington’s law allows multiple authorizers via local school districts and a new statewide authorizer, has strong quality control components, gives operational autonomy to public charter schools and provides equitable operational funding to public charter schools.

The 2017 rankings are the first that measure each state’s charter school law against the National Alliance’s updated model charter school law, New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Public Schools: Second Edition, which was released in October 2016. These rankings reflect new provisions from the model charter school law regarding flexibility, accountability, and equity.

“We are pleased that the newest national charter school law rankings identify Washington’s law as one of the strongest in the country. The high quality of our growing charter public school movement in Washington is indeed a reflection of the strength of our law, which is designed to address the educational needs of at-risk students and communities.” said Washington State Charter Schools Association interim executive director, Rekha Bhatt.

The National Alliance’s model law ranking scores the charter school laws in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Each law receives a score based on 21 essential metrics, which include flexibility, accountability, and equity. These 21 components are drawn from the National Alliance’s New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Public Schools: Second Edition.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Indiana has the nation’s strongest charter school law in the country for the second year in a row. Indiana’s law does not cap charter school growth, includes multiple authorizers, and provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability.
  • Washington became the newest addition to the rankings in 2017, having passed legislation that re-established its charter school law after the Washington Supreme Court declared its previous law invalid, becoming the 44th jurisdiction (43 states and D.C.) with a charter school law.
  • Mississippi made major improvements to its law by now allowing students in school districts rated C, D, or F to cross district lines to attend a charter school and permitting charter school employees to participate in the state retirement system and other benefits programs.
  • Maryland continues to hold the lowest spot, ranking 44th with the weakest charter school law in the country. While Maryland’s law does not cap charter school growth, it allows only local school district authorizers and provides little autonomy, insufficient accountability and inequitable funding to charter schools.

Click here to read the full report.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit

About Washington’s Charter Public Schools

Currently, the state’s existing eight charter public schools serve more than 1,600 students in King County, Tacoma, and Spokane. By Fall 2017, with the expansion of each existing school, and the opening of three more new authorized schools in Southeast Seattle, West Seattle, and Walla Walla, more than 2,500 Washington students will be attending charter public schools.

Washington’s charter public schools are helping to close the education equity gap. A majority of charter public school students in Washington are students of color, as compared to 43 percent statewide, and a majority of charter public school students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, as compared to 45 percent statewide. 15 percent of the students we serve receive special education services, as compared to the statewide average of 13.5 percent. Reflecting the diversity of the students they serve, 39 percent of our schools’ founding teachers identified as people of color, whereas the the statewide average for nonwhite teachers is 13 percent.

In some communities, traditional public schools are meeting the needs of local students. But in other communities – particularly communities of color that struggle with poverty – they are not. According to 2015-16 academic results, students at Washington’s charter public schools are making impressive gains in reading and math.