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For Second Year in a Row, Washington’s Charter Public School Law Ranks Third in the Nation

Jan 22, 2019 | Blog

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2018 | Contact: Maggie Meyers at or 724-263-9826

OLYMPIA, WA — 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 Public Charter School Laws, Tenth Edition. For the second year in a row, Washington took third place. This ranking comes on the heels of the Washington Supreme Court’s October 2018 ruling, which affirmed the state’s charter public school law—allowing the sector to continue serving more than 3,200 students, and putting to rest a prolonged legal battle over charter schools in the state.

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 measures 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.

“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,” said Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) CEO Patrick D’Amelio. “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. And while our law ranked highly, we will continue to look for potential areas for improvement, including ensuring equitable funding for charter public schools.”

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. There are currently twelve operating charter public schools serving more than 3,200 students in King County, Tacoma, Walla Walla, and Spokane. One more school, Ashé Prep, a K-8 model, will open this year in Skyway, south of Seattle. More schools are in the pipeline, including several at different stages of incubation in the WA Charters School Leadership and Design program.

“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.”

Click here to read the National Alliance’s full report: Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter Public School Laws, Tenth Edition. For additional key findings from the report, please view the press release from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.