Agency Commitment and Capacity

Alignment for Change in Hawaii

This case study is one in a series that explores local progress on charter school authorizing in various corners of our country. We’ll dig into what was needed, how it happened, and why it matters to the ultimate quest we all share: creating and sustaining great public schools for all U.S. children.

The series starts in our nation’s most far-flung locale: Hawaii.

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Charter School Replication

“The Charter School Sector continues to expand as parents seek high-quality public education options. In 2012-2013, the sector served more than 2.3 million students in nearly 6,000 schools. If recent growth trends continue, the sector could double in size by 2025, serving 4.6 million children and representing nearly 10% of all public school students.

Research on charter school quality finds significant variations in performance across the sector. Many charter schools achieve outstanding results for students. Most perform on par with traditional public schools, although a number do continue to underperform.

The question is: will growth in the charter sector reflect today’s pattern of mixed quality? Or could adoption of judicious policies and practices create conditions that allow us to double the percentage of charter schools that provide an excellent education for students?”

Alignment for Change in Hawaii

This case study is one in a series that explores local progress on charter school authorizing in various corners of our country. We’ll dig into what was needed, how it happened, and why it matters to the ultimate quest we all share: creating and sustaining great public schools for all U.S. children.

The series starts in our nation’s most far-flung locale: Hawaii.

When It Really Matters: Charter Renewal Decisions at the State University of New York

The charter renewal decision is one of the most significant high stakes decision in public education. It determines the continuing existence or termination of a school. It has the potential to be a celebration of the accomplishments and success of a school—and its students—that was built from the ground up a few years earlier. On the other hand, it may be the public declaration that a school did not live up to its promises to the public or to the parents and students that chose to attend.

Viewpoint: Differentiated Charter Authorizing Strategies for Innovation, Scale, and Quality

A maturing charter sector still operates on first-generation laws designed to launch a few experimental schools. However, the charter sector has moved beyond this initial launch stage of its development. The new focus on scaling quality and the growth of managed networks has placed particular demands on old policies, practices, and authorizing capabilities. Growth in online and blended learning, interest in high-level STEM, and conversions and turnaround are additional new pressures on the one-size-fits-some process. States should update authorizing laws to incorporate multiple pathways and new capacities that reflect the realities of the charter landscape, and take advantage of emerging opportunities to add quality educational options.

Viewpoint: Chartering Pre-K: How Natural Synergies Between the Charter and Pre-K Movements Can Improve Public Education

Both the charter school and universal pre-K movements have grown substantially during the past 10 years. Nearly 5,000 charter schools now exist in 40 states and the District of Columbia, serving some 1.6 million students—up from 2,300 schools serving 580,000 students only a decade ago. The growth in state pre-kindergarten enrollments has paralleled the growth of charter schools. From 2001–2009, the number of children enrolled in state pre-K programs rose from 700,000 to more than 1.2 million, and state spending on pre-kindergarten more than doubled, from $2.4 billion to $5 billion.

The Fund for Authorizing Excellence: 2009-2012 Three Year Report

Between 2009 and 2012, NACSA’s Fund for Authorizing Excellence invested more than $2 million to strengthen the practices of dozens of authorizers throughout the country. NACSA’s grantmaking program provided authorizers from California …

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Stepping Up: University Leadership in the Charter School Sector

Colleges and universities throughout the country are stepping up their involvement in the charter school sector. Driven by a commitment to advance education reform, connect research to practice and better serve the …

Steering the Course for Success: Authorizers and Effective Charter School Governance

Researcher Gary Gruber has stated, “No other singular variable is more important for the health and vitality of a school than the way that it is governed. Teacher competencies, student achievement, parental …

Steadying the Three-Legged Stool: Authorizers, Charter Schools, and Education Service Providers

In carrying out their work, authorizers typically work to achieve steadiness in a two-party accountability relationship with a charter school. Introducing a third-party service provider adds complexity to the relationship, but need …

Square Pegs: Charter Authorizers in Non-Charter Agencies

In a 1985 Newsweek interview, Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs described the team that created the Macintosh as “a group of people going in essence back to the garage, but in a …

School Districts Choosing to Charter

School district associations across the country have often opposed charter school legislation as strongly, or more strongly, than have teachers unions. They typically argue charter schools will threaten the tradition of local …

Replicating Quality: Executive Summary

The Charter School Sector continues to expand as parents seek high-quality public education options. In 2012-2013, the sector served more than 2.3 million students in nearly 6,000 schools. If recent growth trends …

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Replicating Quality: 2014 Report

“The Charter School Sector continues to expand as parents seek high-quality public education options. In 2012-2013, the sector served more than 2.3 million students in nearly 6,000 schools. If recent growth trends continue, the sector could double in size by 2025, serving 4.6 million children and representing nearly 10% of all public school students.

Research on charter school quality finds significant variations in performance across the sector. Many charter schools achieve outstanding results for students. Most perform on par with traditional public schools, although a number do continue to underperform.

The question is: will growth in the charter sector reflect today’s pattern of mixed quality? Or could adoption of judicious policies and practices create conditions that allow us to double the percentage of charter schools that provide an excellent education for students?”

Navigating Special Education in Charter Schools Part II: The Authorizers’ Role in Ensuring Quality Special Education Programs

What ought authorizers do to ensure that the charter schools they approve provide a quality education to students with disabilities who enroll in their school? That is the question many authorizers wrestle …

NACSA Charter School Replication Guide: The Spectrum of Replication Options

One of the most important and high-profile issues in public education reform today is the replication of successful public charter school programs. With more than 5,000 failing public schools in the United States, there is a tremendous need for strong alternatives for parents and students.

NACSA Spotlight on Essential Practices

The cornerstone of these practices is NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, first published in 2004 and regularly updated as the field evolves. This is the foundational text for authorizers, who are charged with promoting school quality through flexibility over inputs and accountability for outcomes. Increasingly, Principles & Standards (P&S) has also become a guidepost for education advocates and lawmakers who craft and revise state charter school laws and policies.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2013 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its sixth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2012 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its fifth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

The State of Charter School Authorizing: A Report on NACSA’s Authorizer Survey – 2011 Edition

NACSA seeks to document and analyze the progression of charter school authorizing practices through its annual authorizer survey. Each year, the organization documents its findings in The State of Charter School Authorizing. Now in its fourth edition, the report highlights trends in authorizing and the use of NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing to affect the education of thousands of charter school students. This annual report provides an overview of the policies, practices, and characteristics of the nation’s largest charter school authorizers, as well as a sampling of smaller authorizing entities. It also builds upon the data presented in previous reports on NACSA’s authorizer survey.

Viewpoint: Charter 2.0 — Charter Schools and Public Education in Colorado

This paper examines the various policy and implementation levers available to inject affirmative solutions into the charter school landscape, along with some important guiding principles that serve as a backdrop to the development of policy and programs.

Charter 2.0 is a combination of public policy and private-sector support, all designed to incorporate into our system the various lessons learned during the past 17 years. The basic formula is as follows:

1. Ensure a pervasive background of nationally recognized industry standards applicable to charter schools and charter authorizers
2. Ensure the responsibility for implementation and enforcement of these standards is placed firmly in the hands of the party best suited for the role and
3. Ensure all the parties involved have the right support

Topics of interest include: law and policy, authorizing standards

Index of Essential Practices 2013

Since the start of the charter movement, authorizing practices have evolved. We know what practices are critical to fostering high-performing charter schools. We recognize our duties to ensure the autonomy of the schools we oversee, to protect the rights of students and the public, and to close schools that are not living up to our expectations.

The Index of Essential Practices details 12 practices, derived from NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, which are critical to fulfilling the responsibilities of an authorizer. It is meant to help strengthen authorizer practices and policy throughout the country.

The Index also serves as an important tool for authorizer self-evaluation. It includes data on individual authorizer practices self-reported in responses to NACSA’s annual survey of authorizers. NACSA recommends that authorizing staff and boards, charter schools, and lawmakers look to see how many Essential Practices are in place for them, and implement any missing practices.

Authorizers play a vital role within the charter school community. By implementing these 12 essential practices, they help pave the way for every charter to be a great educational option for children.

Index of Essential Practices 2012

Since the start of the charter movement, authorizing practices have evolved. We know what practices are critical to fostering high-performing charter schools. We recognize our duties to ensure the autonomy of the schools we oversee, to protect the rights of students and the public, and to close schools that are not living up to our expectations.
This second edition of the Index of Essential Practices details 12 practices, derived from NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, which are critical to fulfilling the responsibilities of an authorizer. It is meant to help strengthen authorizer practices and policy throughout the country.

The 2012 Index also serves as an important tool for authorizer self-evaluation. It includes data on individual authorizer practices self-reported in responses to NACSA’s annual survey of authorizers. NACSA recommends that authorizing staff and boards, charter schools, and lawmakers look to see how many Essential Practices are in place for them, and implement any missing practices.

Authorizers play a vital role within the charter school community. By implementing these 12 essential practices, they help pave the way for every charter to be a great educational option for children.