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Charter School Policy: A 50-State Comparison

Charter School Capital

April 1, 2020


charter school policy

Charter School Policy: A 50-State Comparison

Editor’s Note: This is a great resource on charter school policy that was published on January 20, 2020. It is from the Education Commission of the States and compares charter school policies and how they align or differ across the 50 states. Education Commission of the States is the trusted source for comprehensive knowledge and unbiased resources on education policy issues ranging from early learning through postsecondary education.

We think it’s vital to keep tabs on the pulse of all things related to charter schools, including informational resources, and how to support school choice, charter school growth, and the advancement of the charter school movement as a whole. We hope you find this—and any other article we curate—both interesting and valuable.

50-State Comparison: Charter School Policies

Charter schools are semi-autonomous public schools that receive public funds. They operate under a written contract with a state, district or other entity (referred to as an authorizer or sponsor). This contract — or charter — details how the school will be organized and managed, what students will be expected to achieve, and how success will be measured. Many charter schools are exempt from a variety of laws and regulations affecting other public schools if they continue to meet the terms of their charters.

Charter school laws vary from state to state and often differ on several important factors, such as who may authorize charter schools, how authorizers and charter schools are held accountable for student outcomes, and whether charter school teachers must be certified.

Currently, 45 states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws. West Virginia’s charter school laws, created in 2019, are the newest.

Education Commission of the States has researched charter school policies in all 50 states to provide this comprehensive resource, updated January 2020. Click on the questions below for 50-State Comparisons, showing how all states approach specific charter school policies. Or view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

50-State Comparisons

Charter School Basics

 Charter School Applications

 Charter School Authorizing

Charter School Autonomy and Accountability

Charter School Funding

 Charter School Teachers

 Virtual Charter Schools

Related Resources

Charter School Capital logoSince the company’s inception in 2007, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $2 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!



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