Twenty-four states and Obama administration expand access to charter public schools

June 18, 2012

A June 7 Education Week article reports that 23 states have passed laws to ease or eliminate state caps on charter schools, create new, independent entities to authorize them, and help charters secure more funding or better facilities. 

The Education Week reporter calls this a flurry of new laws.  I’d say it is more like a blizzard.

Lawmakers know that charter public schools are popular with parents.  They are responding to pressure from parents and the research showing that high-performing charter schools are achieving great results for students.  See our Policy Brief, “An Option for Learning: An Assessment of Student Achievement in Charter Public Schools.” 

The states of Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee have all removed caps on the number of charters schools that can be started in these states.  Other states, like Massachusetts and Ohio, have eased caps on charters.  Utah and Wisconsin increased the enrollment capacity of charter schools.  Maine passed a law permitting charter schools, becoming the 41st nation to do so.  These states now join the 15 states which don’t have caps on opening charter schools.  California allows 100 new charter schools every year. 

In 2012, the Obama administration will invest $255 million through several grant programs administered by the Charter Schools Program to:

  • support charter school efforts to find suitable facilities;
  • disseminate information about successful charter school practices;
  • replicate and expand high-quality charter schools;
  • help plan and implement public charter schools.

Increasing student access to charter public schools is propelling this blizzard of state and federal action.