Authorizing Matters for Quality

Why Authorizing Matters for Quality


What is Quality Authorizing?

Authorizers should ensure each school has freedom and flexibility to innovate and meet student needs, while also making sure the school is succeeding and open to all. If and how authorizers fulfill their responsibilities—approving new schools, monitoring performance, and closing failing schools—determines the overall quality of charter schools in a community.

Smart, proactive authorizing can transform public education, as we’ve seen in places like Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.

Good authorizers make it their mission to give more students access to great schools. They expand choices for parents by opening and growing more great schools. They focus on what a charter school achieves, not how it does the work. They set clear expectations on the front end and use strong accountability on the back end. If a school isn’t serving students and taxpayers, a good authorizer closes that school and works to ensure students can smoothly transition into better options.

What is Bad Authorizing?

When done well, authorizing is a catalyst for charter school quality and growth. Unfortunately, the quality of charter laws and authorizing institutions varies across the country. This is why we see uneven charter quality and availability, as some authorizers block access, innovation, and growth.

When authorizers overregulate schools, they create the same box-checking, red tape, and one-size-fits-all directives that sparked the creation of charter schooling in the first place. When they create too many obstacles to opening a charter school, they do a disservice to kids and families that need options. And when they turn a blind eye to quality—or completely forgo their responsibilities—they fail children by allowing mediocre schools to remain open.

How You Can Help

It doesn’t have to be this way. We all can play a role to fulfill the promise of charter school authorizing and help open the door to a better future for millions more students.


Browse our interactive, authorizer showcases to learn how other authorizers across the country have tackled obstacles to school growth and quality.

Advocates & Policymakers

Good charter school policy can address common authorizing issues.

Foundations & Philanthropists

Contact us to learn more about our upcoming Pipeline Summit, where we’ll explore new charter school data and ask the question, “Do we have the schools we want?”