The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) today released its 2012 Index of Essential Practices, a set of professional practices to guide quality charter school approval and monitoring.
Good charter school authorizing is critical to improving the quality of charter schools across the nation. For authorizers—those entities that approve, monitor, renew and if necessary, close charter schools— the Index also serves as a tool for initial self-evaluation, and includes findings on individual authorizer practices across the country.
“The Index lays out a set of authorizing practices that can strengthen the charter school initiative in a given state—and that means better schools for children and families,” said NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond.
NACSA’s Index of Essential Practices articulates a set of 12 practices for authorizers that can significantly improve the quality of their work—and in turn the quality of the charter schools in their portfolios. The 12 Index components, which include practices such as requiring a signed contract with each charter school and having established renewal criteria, are basic, minimum expectations—not complex challenges that will take years to implement. They serve as a starting point to enable any of the nation’s nearly 1,000 charter authorizers to improve their own work.
Reporting on authorizers that include those responsible for overseeing the majority of charter schools in the nation, this year’s Index indicates authorizers are implementing nine or ten of the 12 Essential Practices.
“This report tells us whether authorizers are using these Essential Practices, but it does not evaluate how well they’re using these practices, so it’s not the whole story. The ultimate measure of strong authorizer practice is the quality of an authorizer’s schools and whether children are learning,” Richmond said.
The Index is informed by NACSA’s annual authorizer survey, which in 2012 covered 157 active authorizers, both large and small. A companion report, The State of Charter School Authorizing 2012, will be released in the coming weeks. It will contain aggregated results of NACSA’s entire authorizer survey, showing patterns in adoption of essential practices, new data on charter school openings and closures, and other indicators of progress in the authorizing profession.
Quality authorizing is the cornerstone of NACSA’s One Million Lives campaign, launched in late 2012 to engage a broad coalition to give one million more children the chance at a great education by closing the lowest-performing charter schools and opening many more great new charter schools.View Press Release PDF