Authorizing Data in Depth: Essential Practices



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Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of large authorizers are now implementing at least 11 or more of NACSA’s 12 Essential Practices for Quality Authorizing. That represents a nearly threefold increase, up from a baseline of fewer than one-quarter of large authorizers (23 percent) in 2012. Authorizers have consistently done well with such practices as having strong criteria for new school applications, charter school renewal, and revocation, and requiring financial audits of all schools they oversee.


These large authorizers reported implementing 11 or more Essential Practices in the 2015 authorizer survey:

  • Albuquerque Public School Charter School Office
  • Arizona State Board for Charter Schools
  • Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel
  • Audubon Center of the North Woods
  • Ball State University Office of Charter Schools
  • Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Brevard County Schools
  • Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Colorado Charter School Institute
  • Denver Public Schools
  • Detroit Public Schools
  • District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
  • Douglas County School District RE-1
  • Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio, Inc.
  • Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West
  • Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University Ferris State University
  • Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
  • Friends of Education – Minnesota
  • Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation
  • Kids Count of Dayton, Inc.
  • Lake Superior State University Charter Schools, Technical Academy Group
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Charter School Operations
  • Milwaukee Common Council
  • Nevada State Public Charter School Authority
  • New Jersey Department of Education
  • New Mexico Public Education Commission
  • New York State Education Department
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
  • Novation Education Opportunities
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • Ohio Council of Community Schools
  • Orange County Public Schools
  • Orleans Parish School Board
  • School District of Palm Beach County
  • St. Aloysius Orphanage
  • State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia
  • State University of New York Charter Schools Institute
  • Texas Education Agency
  • University of Central Missouri
  • University of Missouri–Kansas City
  • Volunteers of America–Minnesota

However, there is still cause for concern, as too many large authorizers have not adopted many of these foundational practices. Nearly 21 percent of large authorizers are implementing nine or fewer Essential Practices. Authorizers are still not implementing at high rates such areas as using a panel of experts to evaluate new school applications, annual public reporting of school performance, and establishing an initial five-year charter term, forcing a high-stakes review at that time.