Knowledge Core Keyword: Authorizing Standards
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
“I don’t think that would work too well here; we’re pretty unique.”
Authorizers around the country have said this since the first authorizing shop opened in Minnesota in 1992. Sometimes, the concern is well-founded. Not every problem requires an identical solution.
But as the charter school sector expands and matures, the database of what’s needed and what works grows more robust. Certain patterns have emerged and NACSA is paying close attention to them.
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’re all on: creating and sustaining great public schools for all U.S. children.
The series continues on our nation’s East Coast, in New Jersey, a microcosm of all the promise and problems in our nation’s public school system. We pay attention to New Jersey—a state that has been chartering schools since 1997—for its dramatic efforts to improve authorizing practices during the last few years. They have stepped away from mere compliance into the light of performance, shaking up the status quo and deciding that “as good as” wasn’t good enough for their charter school sector.
If you attended the 2012 NACSA Leadership Conference, you probably heard reference to NACSA’s Accountability in Action: A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure. This resource is designed to assist the staff and board members of authorizing agencies as they address the wide array of challenges involved in any closure decision. Now NACSA has made it even easier to use this resource by converting the publication’s Action Plan for Closure into a new format allowing authorizers to customize their own plan, track its status, and make notes to help guide their closure process.
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 …