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Charter Ranking Roulette: An Analysis of Reports That Grade States’ Charter School Laws

Publisher: American Journal of Education, 114(2).
Page Numbers: 273-298

Since 1996, the Center for Education Reform has released an annual report card, grading each state’s charter school legislation and labeling as the “strongest” those laws placing the fewest and slightest restrictions on charter schools. While the Center for Education Reform rankings have undoubtedly been the most influential, at least four other systems have been developed. In this article, we analyze the different ranking systems, including a new approach we have developed in order to illustrate the arbitrariness of any given ranking system and to highlight some key charter school issues. We then investigate the general, popular phenomenon of rankings in the field of education, exploring the benefits, drawbacks, and appeal of such rankings.

© 2007 by The University of Chicago.