A Commitment to Quality: National Charter School Policy Forum Report

Ben Hoffman

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Innovation and Improvement
October 2008

In the waning weeks of the Bush Administration, the Department of Education has issued new NCLB regulations that garnered some press and a report on America's Catholic schools that barely got any at all. In another little-noticed last hurrah, this report recaps the conversations at a May 2008 forum and highlights the charter movement's evolution from "innovation" to "accountability" to "quality." But the report also admits that the sector "stands at a crossroads," with too many impediments to opening new charters and too many current ones underperforming. To address the former, it urges policymakers to remove state charter caps while also upping facilities funding (easier said than done, given today's economy) and that states establish a diversity of high-quality authorizers--universities, state boards, etc.--to complement the good ole' local education agency (LEA). And to assist with the latter, the report stresses the need for a better support infrastructure and advocates for charter autonomy and accountability, echoing recommendations Fordham made two years ago. And if the bad apples still can't shape up within five years, shut ‘em down, the DOE wisely says. To read more, including how charters can develop political will, human capital, and a unified voice, click here.

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