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Colorado's charter school law is the second best when it comes to being supportive of the charter movement, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The nonprofit pro-charter group annually ranks how well each state's charter school statutes measure up to a "gold standard" model law. States are ranked based on composite scores that take 21 metrics like equity, flexibility and funding into consideration, according to the alliance.

Because only 44 states have charter school laws, only those states were evaluated and ranked.

Colorado narrowly lost the top spot to Indiana, which won through a tie breaker, the report says. Colorado tied Indiana with a score of 181 points out of 240 possible. In the case of ties, the alliance looked to subsets of scores in priority areas like quality control and autonomy. The state continued to rank second in the nation, out of 44 states evaluated.

Washington came in third, with Minnesota and Alabama rounding out the top five.

"Some work remains to be done" in the area of providing more equitable funding to Colorado charter schools, the report noted. Additional potential areas of improvement included "continuing to strengthen equitable access to capital funding and facilities, and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools."

Some areas where the state performs well, according to the report:

  • Colorado ranks first for "adequate authorizer funding."
  • It also ranks first for "extracurricular and interscholastic activities eligibility and access" and "equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding."
  • It ranks second in the "fiscally and legally autonomous schools with independent charter school boards" category.
  • It ranks third in the "no caps" subcategory.
  • It also ranks third for allowing multi-school charter contracts and/or multi-school contract boards.

Colorado's public charter school law was enacted in 1993. Last school year the state was home to 250 public charter schools in which nearly 121,000 students were enrolled, the report states.

Newly elected Gov. Jared Polis founded two charter schools. But some public-education advocates say charter schools can detract from the mission of public schools.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools bills itself as "the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement."

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