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Two Dozen States Are Still Not 'Charter Friendly,' Says Report

Two dozen states lack the kind of "charter-friendly" policies they need to earn top points on their Race to the Top applications, according to a new review of charter school laws.

Charter schools are public schools allowed to operate independent of many of the rules that govern traditional public schools. In setting qualifying criteria for some of the $4 billion in economic stimulus money available to states through the Race to the Top fund, the U.S. Department of Education has promised to give extra points to states that are supportive of charter schools.

Today's report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools finds that 13 states continue to cap the growth of charter schools. Another 11 states, the report says, have yet to enact laws establish public charter schools.

The report also ranks states and districts based on how closely their state laws align with the organization's vision of what a charter school law ought to look like. Its top 10 jurisdictions, in order, are: Minnesota, the District of Columbia, California, Georgia, Colorado, Massachusetts, Utah, New York, Louisiana, and Arizona.

Look for the number of charter-friendly states to grow, however, once state legislative sessions get under way this year. In this EdWeek story, my colleague Erik Robelen reports that Alabama Gov. Bob Riley is calling for action in 2010 to allow charter schools to operate in his state for the first time and more states may follow suit.

UPDATE: As an observant reader has pointed out, the original list of top ten states above should have included California as the third state. I have since added it. My apologies to the Golden State.

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