Model Legislation for Charter Laws

Article excerpt

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia allow charter schools to operate, but most of these states need to overhaul their laws governing these schools, according to a report from the Center for Education Reform (CER). In October, CER released "The Essential Guide to Charter School Lawmaking: Model Legislation for States" to provide a format for creating strong charter laws that can withstand political changes with regard to funding, operations, and accountability.

In CER's 2012 annual report card of charter laws, more than half of states' legislation received a grade of C or below. CER examined four key components of successful charter laws to draft the model legislation, and concluded that effective laws:

* Permit independent sponsors to create and manage charter schools. States with an independent state charter school board or university managers have more schools, and higher quality schools. "School boards still see charters as competition and don't want to invite them into the area," says Alison Consoletti, CER vice president of research. "Also, these people already have another job, and most states and school boards don't have the staff to also manage a charter. …