Nevada’s strong charter school laws earned the highest score in 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.
“Nevada is a national example of how to get charter school reforms right,” said John Hedstrom, Vice President of Policy for NACSA. “The new laws give charter schools the room they need to innovate and thrive, while still maintaining strong oversight measures that protect against fraud and abuse. The Nevada charter community now has the responsibility to make sure these reforms are faithfully implemented.”
The report highlights measures adopted during the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions that increase accountability for the state’s charter school authorizers—the groups that approve and oversee charter schools. Most notably, authorizers will now be evaluated every three years by the State Department of Education. The evaluations will be based on the performance of the schools in the authorizer’s portfolio, as well as the authorizer’s adherence to nationally recognized best practices in charter school authorizing.
“Over the past four years, we’ve shifted the focus of our charter school policies from processes and procedures to a focus on outcomes for kids,” said Interim State Superintendent Steve Canavero. “This national recognition confirms that Governor Sandoval’s leadership has created a foundation for great schools today and in the future.”
Going forward, the report recommends Nevada policymakers address the autonomy of its statewide authorizer, the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority. Currently, the Authority faces severe budget constraints which threaten its ability to staff appropriately and fulfill its statutory role as the promulgator of model authorizing practices across the state.
“Nevada’s investment in smart policy has set the stage for significant gains in student achievement,” Canavero continued. “But these gains will only be realized if we repair Nevada’s authorizing infrastructure to make sure the organizations opening and monitoring our charter schools have the resources to do their jobs effectively.”
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