Alaska 2016 State Policy Detail
TIME FOR TRUE AUTONOMY
Alaska’s charter school sector has grown despite a particularly weak law. Current policy essentially serves as a “shell law”—a placeholder, ready for additions and improvements to ensure stable, quality, and legally autonomous schools as well as a viable alternative authorizer.
- Create legally autonomous schools. Policy should ensure that schools have a legally autonomous governing board and autonomy in crucial areas of school operations.
- Eliminate the dual-approval system and empower school districts and an alternative authorizer to directly approve charter schools. Alaska is one of only five states with a dual-approval system, which is nearly synonymous with limited autonomy charter schools. If an alternative authorizer is not viable, the state should, at a minimum, empower the State Board of Education and Commissioner of Education to serve as an authorizer on appeal.
- Endorse professional standards for charter school authorizing.
- Create a strong renewal standard that directly links school academic performance to renewal.
- Require performance frameworks and annual performance reports for all charter schools.Alaska has a moribund charter school law. Creating legally autonomous schools should be the primary policy goal for the state. Policy should ensure that schools have a legally autonomous governing board and autonomy in crucial areas of school operations.