Today the Fordham Institute published a great commentary piece by Jamie Davies O’Leary on why we should expect more of our gatekeepers of charter schools: authorizers.
Authorizers, known as sponsors in the Buckeye State, are the gatekeepers of quality at a charter school’s inception. They conduct due diligence on new school applicants, including examining applicants’ track records, conducting interviews with each candidate and making data-driven decisions about whether or not the school would likely deliver on its promises to children, communities and ultimately, taxpayers.
And Ohio’s high number of first-year closures suggests that Ohio’s authorizers can do a better job. As she states, “when a closure happens in the first year or two of operations, there were usually warning signs; if heeded, those signs should have kept the school from ever opening. If Ohio charter schools are going to improve, better decision making about new school applicants will be critical.”
It’s worth a read, especially as the Ohio legislature debates measures in House Bill 2 to improve authorizer quality and increase school accountability.