2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 0%
Alaska earns an “F” in CER’s charter school law rankings. Alaska’s law is very weak because it allows for only district authorizers and districts are also responsible for providing operational funding to charters. Charters have little autonomy in Alaska because of their dependence upon districts.
- Law passed: 1995
- Number of charter schools: 29
- Estimated charter school enrollment: 6,600 (down 1 percent from 2016)
- Virtual charter schools allowed
- Alaska does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized
- Charter schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Alaska earns 2 of 15 points for “authorizing.” Only school districts can authorize charter schools in Alaska, though the state must approve districts as authorizers. One positive aspect of Alaska’s law is that a charter can appeal to the state if a district makes an arbitrary or unfair decision. Unfortunately, the state’s power to approve authorizers and hear appeals makes it an über authorizer. This is dangerous in that it can limit diversity an innovation in the charter sector.
- Alaska earns 11 of 15 for “growth.” While Alaska does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized, its regulatory environment has made it difficult for successful charter schools to expand. In recent years there has been little growth in the number of new charters opening and in student enrollment in charter schools.
- Alaska earns 4 out of 20 points for “operations.” In Alaska, charter schools are required to negotiate with school districts for the vast majority of their exemptions from regulations that typically apply to districts, including collective bargaining agreements This means that charters don’t always have the autonomy they need to differentiate themselves. When charters are not exempt from collective bargaining agreements, in particular, there is little difference between charters and district schools. Charter school teachers must be traditionally certified.
- Alaska earns only 1 of 15 points for “funding equity.” Districts provide charters with their annual budgets. The law states that a charter school’s budget must be equal to the per-pupil amount that the district receives, including state and federal categorical grants. However, the district can further deduct operational expenses and set administrative costs of up to 4 percent. Charter Schools receive no per-pupil facilities funding.
Teacher Quality Score: 62%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C
Identifying Effective Teachers D
Retaining Effective Teachers F
Exiting Ineffective Teachers F
Overall State Grade C