Build Knowledge – Authorizer Accountability

Authorizer Accountability

Authorizers are an integral part of the charter school sector. Their decisions impact each and every past, current, and future charter school student and family.

Principles & Standards

The Foundation of Authorizer Accountability Policy and Practice

This foundational resource is used to guide authorizing practices across the country and is referenced in state statutes. It focuses on the ends authorizers should aim to attain in creating and upholding high expectations for the schools they charter while recognizing there are many means of getting there. The Principles articulate a set of beliefs about quality charter school authorizing. The Standards identify core authorizer responsibilities and describe how the principles are upheld within each core responsibility. Consult this resource often as a guide to understanding and fulfilling the critical responsibilities of charter school authorizers. The three national professional principles are to uphold school autonomy; to maintain high standards for schools; and to protect student and public interests. Accountability policies reflect those three principles put to work within state law—the logical, natural next step of the field’s values.

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What is Authorizer Accountability?

As authorizers, we must hold ourselves to the same high standards we expect from every charter school. Authorizer accountability is one way we do that. These policies – adaptable to local context – promote four core activities to protect student and public interests.

Authorizer Accountability means:


Establishing clear expectations for authorizer practices and responsibilities.


Being transparent about authorizer actions and outcomes.


Identifying when authorizers are doing well, or doing poorly.


When necessary, applying consequences for poor quality authorizing.

Authorizer Accountability in Action

21 states require authorizer standards.

11 states require authorizer evaluations.

26 states have reports on school performance.

13 states have consequences for authorizers.

Expertise in Authorizer Accountability

Amanda Fenton

Federal Policy Consultant

Full bio

Amanda Fenton

Federal Policy Consultant

Full bio