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As the public charter school movement in the United States approaches its 25th year, its intensified emphasis on high-quality options and outcomes stands to benefit students across the educational spectrum. But its evolution remains uneven. Of the 42 states plus the District of Columbia whose laws allow for charter schools, the role these schools play within broader public school portfolios varies greatly. Clearly, some proven approaches stand to inform, and improve, others.
Three jurisdictions whose charter school movements are currently poised at critical junctures in the nation’s mid-Atlantic region are New Jersey, the District of Columbia and Virginia. Ultimately, the role charter schools will play within public education may hinge on the outcome of policy directions to be determined in the near-term.
This analysis considers the legal and funding framework governing charter schools in each jurisdiction, in context of overall education trends. It offers specific policy recommendations, informed by the charter school experience nationally, that can be expected to benefit the high-quality charter school options available to students, for the reasons described.
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