Colorado’s charter school law ranks nations’s second best

Colorado’s charter school law is the second strongest in the nation, according to a national advocacy group’s rankings released this week.

“Colorado’s law does not cap public charter school growth, provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability to charter schools, and provides multiple authorizers and a robust appellate process for charter school applicants,” the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said in its 2021 edition of “Measuring up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws.”

“It has also made notable strides in recent years to provide more equitable funding to charter public schools–although some work remains to be done,” the report says.

The report cited a couple of areas that could use improving in Colorado’s charter law: Strengthening equitable access to capital funding and facilities and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

““Public charter schools in Colorado continue to see an increase in enrollment as families and students seek the innovation, flexibility and quality that they provide,” said Dan Schaller, president of the Colorado League of Charter Schools. “Much of the success of charter schools in Colorado is due to the strong charter law we have. Without it, students and families all across our state would have fewer public school options to choose from, and the pandemic has helped demonstrate just why having such a wide diversity of options and approaches to pick from is so important.”

Colorado public charter schools serve more than 125,000 students, which is approximately 16% of Colorado’s student population. For context, Denver Public Schools is Colorado’s largest school district, and it serves 90,296 students.

According to the report, Indiana has the nation’s strongest charter school law, Maryland the weakest.

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