Charter Schools


The Trump administration is making school choice expansion a cornerstone of their education policy. In a recent speech, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promised “the most ambitious expansion of school choice in our nation’s history.” Charters and other school choice options are...

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are operated by nongovernmental boards or organiza- tions, which can be nonprofit or for-profit, and are in a short-term contract with the state or state designated authorizer. The state or designated authorizer sets performance and operating standards, which must be periodically evaluated.

Currently, 44 states have authorized charter schools. Of those that have charter schools, 24 states have explicitly defined or permitted cybercharter schools. Cybercharter schools provide either all or the majority of their instruction online.

This month, Kentucky became the 44th state to authorize charter schools, which are publicly funded schools that are operated by non-governmental entities. Will there be a 45th state to join the ranks of those with a charter school law any time soon? Possibly.

It has been 25 years since the passage of the first state law authorizing charter schools in Minnesota. On Saturday, Dec. 10 at the 2016 CSG National Conference, three panelists—state government leaders from Kentucky, Massachusetts and North Carolina—reflected on the history of charter schools and discussed visions for the future.

CSG Midwest
Ohio lawmakers approved legislation this fall that will require more accountability and transparency in charter schools, which now educate one of every 10 students in the Buckeye State. Between 2003 and 2013, federal data show, enrollment in these alternative public schools jumped from 3.4 percent to 10.0 percent in Ohio.

Conversations concerning authorization of charter schools typically include the question, “Do students at charter schools out-perform their counterparts at public non-charter schools?” It's certainly a fair place to begin a discussion of this issue. A report released this week in Georgia suggests they do not, although the report contained enough good news to buoy charter school advocates in the state.

Stateline Midwest ~ March 2013

Charter school enrollment is growing every year, and some states in the Midwest are a big part of this trend.

The U.S. Department of Education released progress report information for the 12 states that received Race to the Top funding in 2010.  The specific summaries highlight the reform efforts and initiatives each state is implementing along with challenges along the way.  Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee developed aggressive plans for statewide reform and secured funding for the work.

Educators and policymakers realize that all of America’s students need a high-quality education to prepare them for college and careers. 2012 promises to be another busy year in  transformational strategies in education. In order to ensure a world-class education, leaders will likely address these top five issues facing states and territories (“the states”) this year.

The Obama administration is taking steps to engage the states in a new dialogue to address issues facing education in the U.S. today. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former Chicago school superintendent is leading the charge to spark reform in the nation’s schools. He’s open to anything that will address underperforming schools and close the achievement gap, and that includes altering the way education funding is awarded as well as supporting changes states are already making. “My only goal is success,” he said. Capitol Ideas visited with Duncan about the issues.