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D.C. Ranks High Among States With Charter Schools

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A national charter school advocacy organization has ranked D.C. among the top places in the country for having pro-charter laws. The same report places Maryland and Virginia at the bottom.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks D.C. 11th of 42 jurisdictions with charter school laws. That's three spots lower on the list than the District ranked last year, according to Todd Ziebarth, vice president of state advocacy and support for the alliance. There are two main reasons, he adds.

"Their policies around ensuring that kids in charter schools get the same amount of public funding as kids in traditional schools is severely lacking," Ziebarth says. "At the same time that's been happening, we've seen a number of states significantly improve their laws over the last few years and they've moved ahead in ranking."

For example, New Mexico moved from 20th to fourth place and Indiana from 25th to sixth.

Maryland is ranked 41st on the list, and Ziebarth says the charter school laws in the state are "weak." Teachers in charter schools are rarely unionized, he points out, which gives principals more flexibility and autonomy. But in Maryland, that's not the case.

"It's one of the few states in the nation that require charter schools to be part of district and union collective bargaining agreements," Ziebarth says.

Virginia's ranks 37th on the list this year. 

"It's a state that passed it's law in '98 and 14 years later, has all of four charter schools," Ziebarth says. "It's similar to Maryland and needs improvement across the board."

Maine is ranked first for pro-charter laws while Mississippi was last. 

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