Colorado is seventh in the nation when it comes to the quality of its charter school laws, according to a ranking released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. That's actually a downgrade from last year, when Colorado ranked fourth in the country. Why the slip? The folks behind the rankings say it's because other states stepped up their game.
"There were a lot of shake-ups on the list this year. Most notably, Maine's new charter law is ranked number one after passing a strong charter law that is aligned with the (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools's) model charter law, although it is yet to be seen how the implementation or enforcement of the law plays out," Ursula Wright, interim president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said in a statement. "While we see an increasing number of states creating favorable policy environments for high-quality charter schools, we acknowledge there is still a lot of work to be done."
Colorado did some of that work very recently, with the State Board of Education approving new standards for charter school authorizers just last week. While those rules came too late to be considered for this year's rankings, Alliance spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says they'll likely count for next year. "The rankings for this year are cooked," she writes in an e-mail. "Colorado remains a leader and in the top ten, though!"
On its website, which features a nifty interactive map, the Alliance explains the reasoning behind Colorado's number-seven ranking. Of the Centennial States, it says:
Colorado did not pass any legislation in 2011 impacting its score and ranking. Its score stayed at 130 points. However, its ranking dropped from #4 to #7 because it was surpassed by states that made substantial changes to their charter laws.
Colorado remains a leader in providing facilities support to public charter schools, although challenges remain. Potential areas for improvement in the law include enacting statutory guidelines for relationships between charter schools and educational service providers as well as enacting statutory guidelines to govern multi-school charter contracts and/or multi-charter contract boards.
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