Louisiana ranks fifth among the 18 states with the most charter school-friendly laws, according to a report issued Monday by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The report praised the state for putting no caps on the maximum number of charter schools, allowing multiple authorizers and providing the schools a fair amount of autonomy and accountability.
“Louisiana has one of the strongest laws in the country,” according to the 180-page review.
“It has laid a strong foundation for the creation of a healthy charter public school movement,” it said. “However, the law most needs to provide more equitable funding and facilities support to charter students.”
The alliance is a charter school advocacy and nonprofit group in Washington, D.C.
Charter schools are public schools run by nongovernmental agencies.
Louisiana had 129 of the schools in 2014-15 — the year studied — that were attended by about 69,000 students.
New Orleans has one of the heaviest concentrations of charter schools in the nation, mostly springing up after Hurricane Katrina leveled its long-troubled public school system in 2005.
Backers say charter schools are a key part of the choice movement that gives families multiple options for their children in a state long known for low public school achievement.
Opponents say the schools, which were first authorized in 1995, have largely failed to deliver the innovative classrooms they promised.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to push for new restrictions on the schools during the upcoming regular legislative session, including how they are authorized.
In previous years, the alliance ranked all 43 states that allow charter schools. Louisiana was ranked second last year.
However, this time, it focused on 18 states that met newly drafted criteria, including having at least 2 percent of their students in charter schools.
Louisiana had 10 percent of its students in charters in 2014-15, according to the report.
The District of Columbia was listed as having the “healthiest” charter school laws in the nation, followed by Indiana, Michigan and Massachusetts.
Louisiana ranked fourth when all 43 charter states were tabulated.
The state was faulted for having only two communities where more than 10 percent of students attend charter schools; a drop in the percentage of students who scored in the state’s top two categories in the accountability system; and a rise in the percentage of schools performing in the bottom two categories, to 39 percent.