Supported by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, there is a new effort underway to change Maryland charter schools law.
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a unique public school that receives public funding but operates independently of the established public school system. Charter schools are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while still being held accountable for advancing student achievement by the state. Charter schools are open to all children, they do not charge tuition and they do not have special entrance requirements.
A dozen years after the 2003 Maryland law allowed the creation of charter schools, there are currently only 47 charter schools with 18,000 students enrolled. Charter schools by county:
–Anne Arundel County Public Schools – 2
–Baltimore City Public Schools – 31
–Frederick County Public Schools – 3
–Prince George’s County Public Schools – 10
–St. Mary’s County Public Schools – 1
The current Maryland charter school law:
–Allows new start up schools and existing public school to become charter schools
–Does not limit the number of charter schools for the state or any LEA
–Identifies local board of education as the primary authorizer of charter schools
–Identifies the State Board of Education to serve as a secondary authorizer as a result of an appeal decision or for a restructured school
–Requires that charter schools receive funding that is commensurate to funding received by other public schools
–Gives charter schools a right to appeal decisions made by local boards of education
–Requires that charter school employees are public school employees of the local school board
–Requires that local school boards adopt a charter school policy
Read more about the specifics of Maryland Charter School Laws here.
According to charter school advocates, Maryland’s current law stifles growth of the charter movement, and the Abell Foundation report, to be released Tuesday, found state policies foster an unwelcome environment.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has signaled that he would advocate changing the charter law. Last week he named as senior adviser Keiffer Mitchell, a prominent Baltimore Democrat, in part to focus on giving more students access to charters. State legislative leaders also have said they are willing to look at ways to make it easier to open and operate charters–Learn more.