National Report Ranks Washington’s Charter Law Fourth in the Nation

Washington’s voter-approved charter school law is the fourth strongest in the nation, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual state-by-state comparison of charter school laws released today.

Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws scores each state’s charter school law against 20 essential components from the National Alliance’s model law. This comes on the heels of Washington’s top-ranking by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (“NACSA”) in their December report, On the Road to Better Accountability: An Analysis of State Charter School Policies, a state-by-state comparison of charter school laws focused on authorizer accountability.

To date, ten charter schools have been authorized in Washington, with one currently open, eight more to open in 2015-16, and thus far one more for 2016-17. In response to the report’s release, Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association (“WA Charters”) issued the following statement:

“It is reaffirming to see that Washington’s voter-approved charter school law, modeled and informed by best practices nationally, measures up high against the National Alliance’s model and NACSA’s standards. Our law focuses on the development of a high-quality, transparent charter sector that is held accountable to high standards for meeting the academic needs of our most historically disadvantaged students and communities. While Washington’s charter law has an unmistakable focus on improving student outcomes, it laudably remains open to bringing new and innovative academic programs to our state, providing educators with flexibility to best meet the individual needs of every student.

“However, while Washington’s relatively new law is strong, there is room for improvement. The National Alliance’s report notes that Washington’s charter law and the state’s charter sector would be greatly strengthened by the removal of the cap of 40 charter schools over the initial five years, as well as by the equitable treatment of public charter schools as it relates to meaningful access to facilities or facility financing. Nevertheless, the public charter schools currently being incubated by WA Charters remain uniquely positioned to begin closing the achievement and opportunity gaps that exist in Washington.”

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