The District leads the nation in terms of the strength of its public charter school laws and their implementation, according to a new report issued Wednesday by a national group that supports charter schools.

The Center for Education Reform released its annual report card, in which it examines and rates the charter school system in every state, and found that less than half the states have good, effective charter school laws.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run schools, some of them by for-profit organizations. First created 21 years ago, there are now about 6,000 charter schools across the country, educating roughly 2 million students, according to the center.

The District, where more than 40 percent of public school students attend charters, leads the nation in terms of the amount of financial support given to charters and the amount of autonomy they possess, among other things, the center said. The District was ranked at the top last year as well.

In contrast, Virginia and Maryland were ranked among the worst states in terms of public charter laws and implementation.

The report card is available at