2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 65%
Despite having some of the strongest charters in the country the charter school sector is overregulated and bureaucratic in ways that limit growth.
Connecticut only has one entity that can authorize charter schools is the state board of education. The State Board is very bureaucratic making it very difficult for charters to open which has drastically cut the growth of charters in Connecticut short. In addition, a lack of funding and a heavy regulatory environment further limited charter school growth.
Connecticut earned a D on CER’s most recent charter school law rankings. Their grade was hurt partially because of the states lack of multiple charter school authorizers only having the state commission and because there has been a slow growth in the number of charter schools over the past couple years indicating that regulations are strangling charter school growth in Connecticut.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 1996
- Number of Schools: 31
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 9,700 (up 9percent from 2015-16)
- Connecticut caps charters at 25 percent of district enrollment
- Charters are permitted to contract with CMOs but not EMOs for management purposes
- Connecticut earned a 3 out of 15 for authorizers because in Connecticut there is one entity that can authorize charter schools: the State Board of Education. Decisions made by the state board are final and not subject to appeal. While having the State Board of Education authorize charter schools is preferable to having districts authorize schools, multiple entities able to authorize charter schools (even districts) would be preferable, because it would provide another option for charter schools to be authorized This would better fit the needs of a specific school. Having a variety of schools that operate differently is the hallmark of a successful charter school environment, with only one authorizer, that this will not happen. Additionally with only one authorizer, there is a large potential for regulations to be be imposed since every charter school needs to be authorized by the same entity and cannot pick one that is less regulative.
- Connecticut earned a 5 out of 15 for growth because charter schools are capped at the lower value of 250 students or 25percent of district enrollment. Additionally, further chartering was halted until two schools can be chartered that focus primarily on ELLs. Arbitrary caps like these ultimately serve to deny students opportunity without justification.
- Connecticut earned a 10 out of 20 for operations. Schools can apply to the state for waivers from state regulations, but the state maintains control over all charter school funding. The law explicitly states that Connecticut charter schools ought to be treated just like district schools. Charter schools thrive if they have the autonomy to make the decisions they need to in order to be effective for students. In order to do so, they need freedom from regulations. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s law does not provide such freedom. Additionally, charter schools are different from traditional public schools, and treating them similarly means that charter schools lose the very things that can make them special. Connecticut earned a six-and- a- half out of twenty for funding equity. The state legislature sets an annual appropriation for the total amount of funding, meaning no money comes directly from the school district. Currently, state charters receive around $11,000 per pupil. Connecticut also provides a one time grant of $500,000 for facilities funding when charter schools start up, but does not provide any additional per-pupil funding. Charter schools in Connecticut also receive per pupil Pre-Kindergarten funding if they wish to run a such program.
Teacher Quality Score: 78%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C
Identifying Effective Teachers B-
Retaining Effective Teachers C-
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-
Overall State Grade C+