Inside Charter School Growth: A Look At Why Authorizers Matter

Changing the number of authorizers in a state has no relationship with charter school growth.

Authorizers play an important role in shaping the quality and quantity of charter schools in each state, but there is no correlation between a change in the number of authorizers in a state and the number of charter schools.

In fact, in the last five years, the number of charter schools has increased in most states while these states have seen little change, no change, or a decrease in the number of authorizers. For example, 81 more schools opened in New York over the last five years, while the number of authorizers held steady at four. In Arizona, three fewer authorizers approved 39 more schools since 2012.

As a result, the path to giving more families access to quality charter schools is less about the quantity of authorizers, and more about quality. This starts with authorizers committed to upholding school autonomy, accountability, and access coupled with strong policies that ensure charter schools are good for kids and taxpayers.