Iowa 2016 State Policy Detail
COMPLETE POLICY REVAMP ESSENTIAL TO FUTURE
Iowa has established a charter school sector 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.
NOTEWORTHY IN 2016
SCORE INCREASE: +3
- Reports on Performance (+3). The Iowa statute was scored incorrectly in 2015. The law requires the State Board to publish an annual report evaluating the state’s charter school program overall that contains performance information for each charter school, including the self-reported progress each school has made towards its individual charter goals.
- 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. Iowa is one of only five states with a dual-approval system, which is nearly synonymous with limited-autonomy charter schools.
- Endorse professional standards for charter school authorizing.
- Create a strong renewal standard that directly links school academic performance to renewal.
- Require contracts and performance frameworks for all charter schools.