NACSA is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools.

Authorizer Voices: It's A Balancing Act

We dream about it, write about it, work for it: Balance. Work/Life. Spending/Saving. Learning/Doing. Salt/Sugar. Authorizing is no different. The best authorizers understand that while the law protects children’s access to charter schools, ensuring this access is a balancing act.

The fourth installment of our Authorizing Voices series shows how it takes skill, finesse, and restraint to offer schools support and information, hold them responsible for results, but provide them with room to problem solve at the school level.

Inside Charter School Growth: A Look at Openings, Closings, and Why Authorizers Matter

Given authorizers’ important role in approving new schools and closing failing ones, it’s critical to explore how authorizers are impacting charter school growth and enrollment as a whole.

By taking an inside look at the numbers, our latest analysis seeks to do just that. Is the slowdown on charter school growth related to a lower approval rate for charter applications?  Do states that add more authorizers see more growth?

Read our key findings→

About Authorizers and Authorizing


NACSA’s One Million Lives campaign is dedicated to providing one million more children the chance to attend a great school that will prepare them for success throughout their lives.

We recently asked leaders in authorizing to tell us why they do this important work.

What spoke to me was that these were the public’s schools, not just public schools, and that communities had a right to determine what was going on in those buildings, based on their wants and needs. The one-size-fits-all didn’t work. It didn’t work for me; it certainly wasn’t going to work in the future, because the world is so different.”

Robbyn Wahby, Founding Executive Director, Missouri Charter Public School Commission

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Since the start of the charter movement, authorizing practices have evolved. We know what practices are critical to fostering high-performing charter schools. We recognize our duties to ensure the autonomy of the schools we oversee, to protect the rights of students and the public, and to close schools that are not living up to our expectations.

Authorizers play a vital role within the charter school community. By implementing these 12 Essential Practices, they help pave the way for every charter to be a great educational option for children.

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The Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, first established in 2004, reflect the lessons learned by experienced authorizers. This foundational resource for NACSA has been used to guide authorizing practices across the country and is referenced in state statutes. It focuses on the ends that authorizers should aim to attain in creating and upholding high expectations for the schools they charter while recognizing there are many means of getting there.

The Principles articulate a set of beliefs about quality charter school authorizing. The Standards identify core authorizer responsibilities and describe how the principles are upheld within each responsibility. Consult this resource often as a guide to understanding and fulfilling the critical responsibilities of charter school authorizers.

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