Each year since 2008, NACSA has conducted the nation’s only targeted survey of charter school authorizers and authorizing practices. We will release the latest survey results starting on April 15 in an email series designed to connect data about authorizer practices with real implications for kids, families, schools, and communities. More on that another day.
Today, I’m thinking ahead. As Senior Research Analyst at NACSA, my job is to collect the data that will be most useful to people in the field. Right now, authorizers tell us a lot, including:
- How many new school applications do authorizers receive and approve?
- How many schools did they review and renew or close?
- How many staff members do they have?
- How do they oversee schools?
- Do they have policies to encourage replication of schools?
These—and many other areas—have traditionally formed the core of our survey.
What we learn is used far and wide. State policymakers use the information to improve charter school accountability, members of the media use it to build stories about local authorizers or schools, and authorizers themselves use it to benchmark their practices against peers across the country.
For the upcoming 2015 survey—which we will begin right after we release the 2014 results—we are reserving space to ask hundreds of authorizers your questions about authorizing, especially questions that get at what is beyond the “nuts and bolts” of authorizing.
Here are some of our ideas about what else we’d like to know:
- What do authorizers think about using chartering to “turn around” failing schools?
- Do authorizers see it as their responsibility to help kids find new quality schools after a charter is closed?
- What about equity issues?
- What are authorizers doing related to suspension/expulsion and special education?
- What do authorizers think the future of authorizing looks like?
- What about overseeing virtual schools?
The number of potential areas to learn more about is huge. That’s why we are asking you to help us: what do you – as an authorizer, a reporter, a parent, a legislator – want to know more about when it comes to charter school authorizing?
What do YOU want to know?
Tweet us your questions using our Twitter handle, @QualityCharters, using the hashtag #askauthorizers.
Or post to our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/qualitycharters