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Press Releases / Statements

ESEA Testing and Accountability

January 23, 2015 

In response to the U.S. Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee hearing on testing and accountability, (scheduled for 9:30 am, Wednesday, January 21, 2015), Greg Richmond, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), released the following statement:

"Testing, and the information that testing generates, is being debated in Congress today. For many this will be a political debate. But for the more than 1,000 government and not-for-profit entities that are charged with authorizing charter schools, the outcome of this debate will not be a political failure or victory—the outcome will have a dramatic effect on our ability to make smart decisions that impact children in more than 6,000 public charter schools. We need annual testing data in order to make well informed decisions about how well our schools are working for our children.

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Massachusetts Audit Obscures Successful Charter School Outcomes

December 18, 2014

The audit released today by the Massachusetts State Auditor of the administration of the charter school program by the Board of and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE and DESE) misses the forest for the trees.

No one questions the need for confidence in the state’s handling of school data, but administrative issues should not obscure successful outcomes. The Massachusetts charter office oversees one of the most vibrant and high-performing charter sectors in the nation. This is due in large part to its record of rigorous application processes, comprehensive oversight, and prudent decisions on renewal and revocation of charter school contracts.

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NACSA Launches New Communications Effort

Jobi Cates named VP of Communications

November 18, 2014

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is pleased to announce that Jobi Cates has joined the organization as Vice President of Communications.

Cates comes to NACSA from Human Rights Watch, where she served as the Senior Director of the Chicago Office since 2008. In her role there, she led an integrated communications and advocacy initiative to end the practice of sentencing children who commit serious crimes to “life without parole.” As the organization’s top representative in the Midwest, she was responsible for raising significant private funds to support Human Rights Watch’s global agenda and for building a broad and influential constituency to support the organization’s advocacy efforts.

Cates is a veteran of the charter school community. In the mid-1990s, she helped develop the charter application for one of Illinois’ first charter schools—now a thriving network. As a grant maker, she supported dozens of charter schools in formation and in their early years. Later, as a lobbyist, she advocated for improved charter school finance laws in Illinois, and to increase the “cap” on the available number of charters in Chicago. Before joining Human Rights Watch, she was the Illinois Advocacy Representative for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Passionate Advocate for Children and Former Authorizer Joins NACSA Staff

Karega Rausch named VP of Research and Evaluation

September 30, 2014

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers is pleased to announce that Karega Rausch will join the organization next month as Vice President of Research and Evaluation.

Rausch is currently a member of the leadership team with the Equity Project at Indiana University. In this role, Rausch is responsible for ensuring the project’s research, practice, and service goals are achieved. Rausch also brings with him a wealth of charter school authorizing, educational policy, community engagement, and strategic advocacy experience. Prior to joining the Equity Project, Rausch founded and served as Director of the Indianapolis affiliate of Stand for Children, a national educational advocacy nonprofit.

Karega Rausch is no stranger to NACSA. He first connected with the organization when he served as the director of charter schools in the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office – widely recognized as one of the nation’s strongest authorizers. He joined NACSA’s Board of Directors in 2010 and was re-elected in 2013.

“It’s our deep pleasure to welcome Karega in his move from our board to our staff,” said Greg Richmond, NACSA president and CEO. “Karega is a proven leader in the charter sector, and has the breadth of experience and depth of thinking required for this role.”

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NACSA Applauds Focus on Student Outcomes and Serving At-Risk Students

New report on the health of the charter school movement welcomed by NACSA

October 1, 2014

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) welcomed today’s release of the
National Alliance for Public Charter School’s (the Alliance) new national report on charter school

“The Alliance report offers a valuable data set,” stated Greg Richmond, President and CEO of
NACSA. “NACSA applauds the report’s emphasis on improved academic outcomes, as well as the
opening of new good schools, and the closing of poor-performing ones, which are central tenets in
NACSA’s One Million Lives campaign.”

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NACSA Calls Annenberg Institute Accountability Report Disappointing, Incomplete

Highlights need for more states to set high expectations found in NACSA’s Principles & Standards

September 18, 2014

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released the following statement in response to the recommendations in a report on authorizer accountability released yesterday by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

“The Annenberg Institute’s report on “Public Accountability for Charter Schools” is a disappointing entry in the important discussion of how to improve education for America’s children. Its recommendations are incomplete, judgmental, and not based on research or data. If the report’s recommendations were implemented, charter schools would become clones of traditional public schools, losing the flexibility needed to be innovative and better.

In Annenberg’s report, a significant number of important accountability standards and authorizing practices are unaddressed or superficially addressed. Throughout the report, the author repeatedly assumes the worst about charter schools and fails to acknowledge the thousands of charter schools that are working well and the millions of families who believe a charter school is the best choice for their children. The citations that the author offers in support of her recommendations are almost entirely newspaper articles and blog posts. This is surprisingly sloppy work for an institute housed at Brown University.

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National Organization Supports Stronger Standards but No Moratorium

Better Oversight Is Needed But Opposes Halt On New Charter Schools

September 18, 2014

With this morning’s announcement by Democratic state legislators in Michigan proposing a moratorium on new charter schools in the state, Greg Richmond, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released the following statement:

“The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) opposes proposed legislation to establish a moratorium on new charter schools in Michigan."

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NACSA Lauds South Carolina’s Strong Stance on Charter Quality

Releases statement on signing of bill to improve accountability for state’s charters

June 13, 2014

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) congratulated the state of South Carolina for taking a notable step in improving the overall quality of the state’s charter school sector. In a statement released today, NACSA president and CEO Greg Richmond lauded Governor Nikki Haley for her signature of South Carolina’s revised charter law and the demonstration of her personal commitment to high quality education options for Palmetto state families.

South Carolina legislators introduced bill H3853 in direct response to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers’ (NACSA) One Million Lives campaign, which has a goal to get one million students into better schools by 2017.

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New Report Highlights Growth and Maturation of Charter School Authorizing

NACSA releases findings from it sixth annual authorizing survey

May 8, 2014

In the midst of National Charter School Week, a new report by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) finds that the number of charter school authorizing agencies continues to expand, reaching more than 1000 active authorizing organizations for the first time. In The State of Charter School Authorizing 2013 NACSA provides its sixth annual report on the findings of its survey of the authorizer sector.

“The number of charter schools throughout the country continues to steadily increase and so does the number of agencies approving and monitoring those schools,” said Greg Richmond, president and CEO of NACSA. “We are seeing more educational opportunities for students and families, which is good, but we are also seeing a lot of variation in the quality of schools and their oversight. We would rather see consistently high standards and performance for all.”

This year’s survey findings illustrate considerable diversity among charter school authorizers. Of the 1045 authorizing entities nationwide, half oversee just one school. In contrast, the nation’s single largest authorizer, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, oversees 517 charter campuses. The impact of the work of the largest authorizers is underscored by the fact that the 104 largest authorizers oversee 72 percent of the nation’s charter schools.

One of the report’s key findings indicates that the size of an authorizer’s portfolio is directly related to its adoption of key practices to ensure quality. To support stronger performance regardless of size, NACSA has outlined 12 practices essential to authorizing. This year’s report shows gains in five of 12 practices, with the largest increase coming in the number of authorizers that report conducting interviews of charter school applicants prior to approval.

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NACSA CEO Selected as Pahara-Aspen Fellow

NACSA’s President and CEO Greg Richmond has been selected to participate in the Summer 2014 cohort of the highly selective Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies innovative leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools for low-income children and communities.

Richmond is joined in the cohort by 23 other education leaders including NACSA Board of Director member Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education of the New Mexico Public Education Department and National Advisory Board member Jed Wallace, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Charter Schools Association.

Read the full announcement here.

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