New accountability and oversight provisions bring Connecticut’s charter school law up-to-date
Strong charter school oversight provisions enacted by the Connecticut 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).
The report, “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 known best practices in state policy that help to ensure a consistent, high-performing charter sector.
For years, Connecticut’s numerous high-performing charter schools had obscured the need for stronger charter school policy. In response to high-profile charter oversight concerns that surfaced nearly two years ago, lawmakers passed significant accountability provisions that enshrine many national best practices into state law and bring the nearly 20 year-old law up-to-date.
“Connecticut’s smart new accountability provisions are a necessary booster shot for the health of the state’s charter sector,” said John Hedstrom, Vice President of Policy at NACSA. “The state now has stronger tools to make sure charter schools and charter management organizations provide the great educations that they say they will.”
Connecticut’s score increased due to three new provisions in state law that increase transparency and accountability for charter school performance. Specifically, the new law requires charter schools to detail the specific achievement goals they will be responsible for meeting in a performance framework and annually report their progress towards meeting these goals to the Commissioner of Education. These results will also be used by the state to determine whether the school’s charter contract should be renewed.
The report also identifies several other areas where Connecticut policymakers should focus on, such as measures to protect the independence and flexibility of charter schools, as well as ensuring equitable funding levels and procedures for charter schools. This should include revisiting the role the General Assembly plays in the approval of new charter schools.
“We now have policies on the books that rightly focus on holding charter schools accountable for their outcomes,” said Jeremiah Grace at the Northeast Charter School Network. “Going forward, we must pay close attention to the balance between accountability and individual school flexibility, so that the demands of compliance don’t stifle the innovation in the sector.”
To view Connecticut’s full state analysis or to read the full report, visit www.qualitycharters.org
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 www.qualitycharters.org