The Task Force on Charter School Quality and Accountability issued their Renewing the Compact report in 2005. This seminal charter school report set forth goals around five key areas:

  • Achievement: Focus resolutely on student achievement
  • Talent: Draw talented individuals to the classroom and leadership positions
  • Funding: Gain equitable funding for charter schools
  • Support: Increase support for the charter school community
  • Scale: Build up successful schools and close those that fail

A new report from the North-Carolina based Public Impact evaluates the progress that the nation’s charter school sector has made over the last seven years in regards to meeting the goals above. It also provides recommendations for improvements moving forward. Public Impact interviewed a variety of key stakeholders including education leaders, charter school representatives, and think tanks.

The first question asked of the interviewees looked at positive developments or trends over the past several years. Major successes over the last seven years include:

  • Proof points of quality: Charter schools around the country demonstrate that underserved students can achieve at high levels.
  • Increased recognition of quality and accountability:  Policymakers and authorizers have increased their focus on quality

Along with recent successes, numerous challenges still remain, including the following:

  • Inadequate supply of new high-quality schools: Not enough strong charter founders exist to provide better education options for children
  • Persistence of too many chronically low-performing schools: While progress has been made with regards to quality, authorizers still fail to close low-performing schools too often.
  • Slow growth of the best charter schools: High-performing CMOs are not expanding quickly enough to meet demand.

The charter sector has come a long way and its successes are worth celebrating, yet as the report demonstrates multiple challenges still remain. In order for the charter school sector to reach its full potential the leaders must work together and take on the challenges mentioned above to provide all students an excellent education. Fortunately, Public Impact offers some thoughtful recommendations for moving forward and to read these for yourself check out their new report.

Fulfilling the Compact: Building a Breakthrough, Results- Driven Public Charter School Sector
Prepared for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools by Public Impact
June 2012

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