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Public Charter School Movement in Louisiana Ranked 2nd of 26 states

New National Alliance Report Ranks State Charter School Movements on Growth, Quality, and Innovation

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today unveiled a new report that ranks the “health” of the public charter school movement in 26 states across the country. Focusing on the factors essential for a strong charter school movement such as growth, quality, and innovation, this report ranks Louisiana 2nd.

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Louisiana ranked highly because of these factors:
  • Louisiana’s public charter schools served a higher percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students when compared with traditional public schools in 2010-11 (16 percentage points more).
  • Ninety-seven percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas as compared to 81 percent of traditional public schools in 2011-12.
  • Seventy-one public charter schools opened in Louisiana between 2009– 10 and 2013–14, a 15 percent average annual open rate.
  • An average of 27 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited higher academic growth when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 (50 more days in reading and 65 more days in math).

The Health of the Public Charter School Movement: A State-by-State Analysis is a companion to the National Alliance’s annual rankings that evaluate each state’s charter school law. Expanding beyond the work of evaluating state laws, this new annual report utilizes 11 different measures to determine how well a state’s charter schools are performing, innovating, and growing.

“This report provides an important framework for us to determine the overall health of the charter school movement in each state,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “We are pleased to expand our work to address the question of how states are growing and strengthening their public charter schools and expect that this report will become a meaningful benchmark of the charter school movement each year.”

In the first-ever rankings, Washington, D.C. and Louisiana topped the list of the 26 states that were evaluated, while Nevada and Oregon found themselves at the bottom of the rankings.

“Quality is the key to the success of Louisiana’s charter schools,” said Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. “From the Louisiana Legislature’s commitment to keeping our charter law strong, to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and local boards adopting best practices in the authorization process, our schools are succeeding because the legal framework gives them the autonomy they need to thrive. Our law gives multiple pathways to authorization and by ensuring state public education dollars follow the child, charters are a viable option that remain focused on empowering educators to make school- and classroom-level decisions.”

The report found that Louisiana scored well on the following indicators:

  • Seventy-one charters opened in Louisiana between 2009-10 and 2013-14, a 14.5 percent average annual open rate.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited higher academic growth when compared with traditional public school students between 2007-08 and 2010-11 (50 more days in reading and 65 more days in math).
  • Public charter schools in Louisiana served a higher percentage of free- and reduced-price lunch students when compared with traditional public schools in 2010-11 (16 percentage points more).
  • 97 percent of the state’s charters were located in non-suburban areas in 2011-12 as compared to 81 percent of traditional public schools.
  • An average of 27 percent of the state’s charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that were tracked in 2011-12.

However, the report also found that only one community in Louisiana had more than 10 percent of its public school students in charters during 2012-13.

The report calls for the state to enact policies to increase the impact of the movement’s success, including ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Click here to download the Health of the Public Charter School Movement: A State-by-State Analysis. The pages which outline Louisiana’s stats are p. 78-81.Call Jonathan Barnes at (504) 897-6110 or bcobarnes@aol.com if you have trouble downloading the report or need a personalized copy sent to you.