District of Columbia 2016 State Policy Detail
A LEADER IN CUTTING-EDGE POLICY
The District of Columbia continues its leadership in cutting-edge authorizing policy, passing new legislation to better oversee complex charter management relationships.
- Clarify the components of the charter agreement required under law in order to keep pace with evolving practices and policies. Current law does not require that charter agreements contain all of the elements needed for effective charter school oversight.
- Endorse robust authorizer standards that are equivalent in rigor to nationally recognized standards for charter school authorizing.
- Establish a default closure policy in law based on a state-defined minimum threshold of performance. In practice, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB) uses its rigorous performance frameworks, annual reviews, and a formal five-year review process to, in effect, make closure the expected outcome for schools that fail to meet the performance goals set forth in their charter contracts. A default closure policy will complement this practice by setting a universal expectation that the identified “worst of the worst” schools will be closed. This still allows the authorizer to continue enforcing higher performance standards for its schools through its contracting process while establishing an additional, universal safeguard to ensure consistent identification of persistently failing schools for closure.