Protecting Charter School Excellence in State Law
Currently, more than 1,000 charter school authorizers work under a wide range of policies in 44 states. Some states have clear policies about charter school performance and accountability; others allow failing charter schools to stay open, or prevent the opening of excellent new charter schools, or both.In most states, the laws that govern charter schools and authorizers outdated, and some are weak or vague about school quality and accountability. Most state charter school laws need to be clearer and stronger.
NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing were developed a decade ago and are continually updated. Over the year’s, NACSA and its members have developed policy recommendations—eight of them—that uphold the primary national professional principles of authorizing: to uphold school autonomy; to maintain high standards for schools; and to protect student and public interests.
The eight policies reflect those principles put to work within state law—the logical, natural next step of the field’s values.These policies aren’t new ideas, nor are they cumbersome rules and regulations. They’re simply cornerstones of charter school excellence protected in state law.
Authorizer Quality Policies
|1. Who Authorizes (alternative authorizer): every charter school can be authorized by at least one body other than the local school district|
|2. Authorizer Standards: the state endorses national professional standards for quality charter school authorizing|
|3. Authorizer Evaluations: a state entity can evaluate authorizers on their practices or the performance of their charter schools—regularly or as needed|
|4. Authorizer Sanctions: authorizers face consequences if they have poor practices or a high proportion of persistently failing schools|
View Alternative Authorizer Policy Brief PDF
School Accountability Policies
|5. Reports on Performance: every authorizer publishes an annual report on the academic performance of the charter schools it oversees|
|6. Performance Management and Replication: every charter school is bound by a charter contract and a set of performance expectations; high-performing charter schools are encouraged to replicate|
|7. Renewal Standard: authorizers can close charter schools that don’t meet their academic performance expectations|
|8. Default Closure: charter schools that perform below a certain minimum threshold are closed|
View Default Closure Policy Brief PDF
Complete State Policy Agenda
These recommended policy provisions are based on NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing are based on NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, developed a decade ago and continually refined to keep pace with developments in the field. The Principles & Standards promote high academic standards, protect school-level flexibility, and safeguard the interests of students and the community.