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Arkansas falls in group's charter-school rankings

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published January 29, 2013 at 8:35 a.m.

— Arkansas has fallen several spots in a national group's annual rankings of state charter-school laws, though officials say the change mostly reflects efforts in other states.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says Arkansas fell eight spaces to 25th in the latest rankings, which measure the strength of charter-school laws in 43 states based on components including quality and accountability, equitable access for funding and facilities, and limited caps on charter-school growth.

Arkansas' overall score increased from 113 last year to 122 this year, though the group says the increase was because of changes in its methodology rather than changes in Arkansas charter laws. That dropped Arkansas from 17th last year to 25th.

"This drop had more to do with the aggressive changes made in other states than with any steps backward in Arkansas," the alliance said on its website.

The group noted that Arkansas could improve its ranking by "creating additional authorizing options, increasing operational autonomy, ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities, and enacting statutory guidelines for relationships between public charter schools and educational service providers."

The top five states with the strongest charter-school laws were Minnesota, Maine, Washington, Colorado and Florida.

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