Wisconsin 2016 State Policy Detail
BUILD ON 2015 IMPROVEMENTS TO LOCK IN QUALITY
Wisconsin’s charter law permits a variety of school types and, beginning in 2015, a large number of statewide authorizers. Given this potentially large number of authorizers, the state should strengthen its law with key authorizer quality and school accountability policies to ensure consistency and quality across the sector.
- Institute a strong renewal standard. Empower authorizers to close schools that fail to achieve the performance goals in their charter contract.
- Require regular authorizer evaluations. Requiring authorizers to adhere to NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, as state law does, is an important step to help ensure authorizing quality. These standards should be reinforced through authorizer evaluations and authorizer sanctions. This is important in a state such as Wisconsin, which has, to date, created a patchwork system of authorizers, each with their own variable jurisdiction. Regular evaluations can identify any deficiencies before they create problems.
- Ensure that new charter school governing board autonomies, particularly for district-authorized “instrumentality schools,” are implemented to maximize charter school flexibility. If these are not implemented as such, the state should revisit the status of these schools and explore changing them to some status other than “charter schools.” This would more accurately reflect their relationships to their local school district and their relative lack of autonomy.