Delaware’s Charter School Law (Still) Middle of the Pack
According to a recently-released report by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Delaware’s charter school law ranks 22nd out of the 42 states that allow charter schools, as measured against 20 “essential components of strong public charter school law.” This ranking is down from 18th last year, a decline largely due to being leapfrogged by other states that made more substantial changes to their charter laws, particularly Maine, Indiana and New Mexico.
The report stressed that Delaware’s law “needs significant improvement in several areas including expanding authorizing options, beefing up its provisions for performance-based contracts, and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities,” and, as we’ve previously observed, we concur.
That said, the report did acknowledge some progress in Delaware over the past 12 months. Specifically, our score on the criteria for “Multi-School Charter Contracts and/or Multi-Charter Contract Boards Allowed” increased by three points, due to the passage last year’s charter school bill. While we agree that HB 205 was a first step in a longer process of creating an environment where charter schools can be regarded as an integral part of Delaware’s overall education reform strategy, much more comprehensive action is still needed. Our middle-of-the-pack performance is another reminder of how difficult it will be to attract new high-performing charter operators to Delaware, let alone allow the existing, high-quality charters to thrive.
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