Report: State Policies Create Barriers to Early Childhood Charter Schools
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have legislation that allows
charter schools as well as state-funded preschool programs, and 32 of those
jurisdictions have at least one charter school serving preschoolers, but state
policies present a barrier to charter preschools in many jurisdictions,
according to a new report from The Thomas B.
Fordham Institute and the National
Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The report, "Charter Schools
and Pre-K: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration," argues
that charter preschools have the potential to improve educational outcomes for
low-income students and identifies which states allow charter elementary
schools to offer state-funded pre-kindergarten programs, how many charter
schools serve preschoolers, and what barriers exist to prevent charter schools
from offering pre-kindergarten programs.
Key findings from the report:
- 13 states lack either charter school laws or state-funded
- 9 states have laws prohibiting charter schools from offering
- 35 states and the District of Columbia have both state-funded
pre-kindergarten and charter school laws; and
- 32 of those jurisdictions have at least one charter school serving
preschool students, although some of those charter preschools do not
receive state funding.
According to the report, the seven jurisdictions that are most hospitable to
charter preschool programs are Washington, D.C., Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Maine,
Wisconsin and Connecticut. The most common barriers to creating charter
preschools cited in the report were low funding levels, small pre-kindergarten
programs and barriers to automatically enrolling preschool students in charter
Based on its findings, the report provides numerous recommendations to
expand access to state-funded preschool programs by establishing policies that
allow charter schools to offer these programs.
The full report is available as a free, downloadable PDF from The Thomas B. Fordham Institute's
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].