2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 0%
Alaska has a weak charter school law due its placing charter schools at the mercy of school districts.
Alaska has one and only one entity that is able to authorize charter schools, local school districts. This means that in order for charter schools to survive and thrive they acquiesce to the will of the local school district which means that charters in Alaska are not the innovative bodies they could be and often look just like traditional district schools.
Alaska Earned an F in CER’s charter school law rankings because charter schools are reliant on school districts to be both authorizers and for operational funding and support. Despite having no charter cap this large dependence on school districts and lack of autonomy from school districts means Alaska has earned a failing grade.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 1995
- Number of Charter Schools: 29
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 6,600 ( down 1percent from 2016)
- Alaska does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized
- Virtual Charter Schools are allowed
- Charter Schools Can Contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Alaska earned a two out of fifteen for authorizers. The only entity that can authorize charter schools in Alaska are local school districts (with an appeals process). The state has the right to approve of all of school district authorizing decisions which makes the state an uber authorizer. Uber authorizers are harmful to the growth of charter schools because they limit the ability for authorizers (who are experts in what makes a successful charter charter school) to authorize the schools that they feel would be best for the community.
- Alaska earned an eleven out of fifteen for growth. While Alaska does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized, Alaska’s regulatory environment has made it difficult for successful charter schools to expand. These regulations have directly led to the poor level of growth that charter schools have seen in both the number of students attending charter schools and number of schools in recent years.
- Alaska earned a four out of twenty for operations. In Alaska, charter schools are required to negotiate with school districts for the vast majority of their exemptions from local regulations that would affect public schools. This is problematic because charter schools thrive based on their ability to act autonomously and make decisions that best fit the needs of their students. Regulations impede such process, making charter schools less effective when it comes to working with students. Additionally, charter schools are subject to the existing collective bargaining agreement for teachers unless exemptions are made. Without these exemptions, charter schools in Alaska are often hamstrung with staffing decisions and do not have the ability to act as autonomously as they need to be effective. Additionally, Charter school teachers must be certified in the same manner that traditional public school teachers are. The sole effect of this policy is that it prevents individuals who have not gone through the bureaucratic measures of teacher certification from working with students even if the charter schools thinks they are the right individual for the job.
Alaska earned a one out of fifteen points for funding equity. The school board provides the charter with its annual budget that must be equal to the amount generated by per-pupil revenue, deducts any operational expenses and sets its own administrative costs up to four percent. The per-pupil revenue for charter students is determined in the same way as for traditional public schools and includes local and district funds, grants and federal impact aid. Charter Schools Receive no per Pupil Facilities Funding.
Online Learning Score: 62%
For the first time, Alaska’s statewide virtual school, Alaska’s Learning Network (AKLN) received full funding in 2013, although overall funding for online learning is still a problem. Digital learning is of particular importance in Alaska due to the geographic disparity and number of rural and remote districts and schools.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 62%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers F
Expanding the Pool of Teachers F
Identifying Effective Teachers D+
Retaining Effective Teachers D
Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-