Arizona Charter School Reforms Recognized in National Charter School Policy Analysis

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Arizona Charter School Reforms Recognized in National Charter School Policy Analysis

New accountability and oversight provisions demonstrate state’s shift to quality charter schools

Strong charter school provisions enacted by the Arizona legislature last year lead to huge gains on a national ranking of charter school policies out today from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA).

On the Road to Better Accessibility, Autonomy, and Accountability,” provides an analysis of current charter school oversight policies across the nation. Each state is scored against eight nationally-recommended policies create the foundation from which to build and sustain better public schools.

Arizona’s score improved dramatically as a result of new measures that increase accountability for charter schools and authorizers, the groups who approve and monitor each school. Authorizers are now required to report to the Auditor General on the academic performance of the schools they manage, provide assurances and evidence of their appropriate oversight, and can be subject to consequences if they do not perform their essential role to ensure quality charter schools.

“Arizona is a national example of how smart policy, combined with thoughtful implementation by committed individuals, can work to transform a state’s charter school sector,” said John Hedstrom, Vice President of Policy at NACSA. “The state’s focus on quality both in its charter schools and the organizations that monitor them is producing tremendous results for kids.”

But policies aren’t the only thing driving Arizona’s shift towards a highly accountable charter landscape. Arizona’s authorizers are able to hold schools accountable and send a clear message that poorly performing charters won’t be allowed to remain open. Data from the Arizona Charter Schools Association shows on average, the state has closed more than 20 poorly performing (either academically or operationally) charter schools each year since FY12.

The shift to quality and accountability is producing great results for children. Arizona’s charter students outperformed the state average in reading and math by nearly 10 percent in every grade level in the inaugural AzMERIT scores, released by the Arizona Department of Education on November 30.

“Arizona’s charter sector has undergone a significant transformation in recent years and our children are benefiting from it,” concluded Eileen Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “It is wonderful to see our hard work recognized on a national level.”

To view Arizona’s full state analysis or to read the full report, visit


The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Our research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the charter school sector. With authorizers and other partners, we have built the gold standard for charter school authorizing. Through smart charter school growth, these authorizers will give hundreds of thousands of children an opportunity for a better education each year. More at


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