U.S. Department of Education Emphasizes Charter School Oversight, Including NACSA’s National Authorizing Standards


U.S. Department of Education Emphasizes Charter School Oversight, Including NACSA’s National Authorizing Standards

Chicago, Ill. — Today the U.S. Department of Education announced the next round of Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants. In a press conference, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan voiced his support of the nation’s charter schools and their successes, while emphasizing the Department’s high expectations for monitoring and oversight in a “Dear Colleague” letter to State Education Agencies. In response, Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) issued the following statement:

“For the past 25 years, every Administration—Republican or Democrat—has supported charter schools. We applaud the Secretary’s emphasis on quality outcomes and oversight of the use of public dollars. The “Dear Colleague” letter released today letter contains the strongest emphasis on oversight we’ve seen so far and is a position we welcome, as we firmly believe in quality and accountability for all schools, including charter schools.

“NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, listed as the first resource in the “Dear Colleague” letter, are the nation’s preeminent standards for effective charter school oversight, allowing authorizers to hold schools to high standards and protect student and public interests, while ensuring charters are allowed the independence they need to thrive.

“Quality authorizing is essential to creating a consistently high-performing, transparent and accountable charter sector across the nation. With professional authorizing standards in place, the public can rely on authorizers to prevent the fraud and waste that diverts attention away from the sector’s real and sustained success changing the lives of millions of kids and families.

“Effective authorizing is about opening only schools that have the best likelihood of succeeding. It’s about carefully monitoring each school for academic and fiscal performance. And it’s about closing those that don’t live up to their promises, while allowing the ones that hit it out of the park to grow.

“The DOE is right to put the national spotlight on authorizers and hold them to the same high standards we hold each school. The charter sector is only as strong as its weakest authorizer.”

There are over 1,000 authorizers in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia. Depending on individual state law, authorizers can be school districts, state education agencies, independent boards, universities, mayors and municipalities, and not-for-profits.

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For more information on authorizer accountability and charter school oversight, visit https://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

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