In a previous review, I examined The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) Index of Essential Practices 2012 which discusses how states are doing in accomplishing the “essential practices” for charter school authorizing. Ohio sponsors performed well, even though they met some difficulty reaching higher marks because of Ohio’s charter school law. One of the critiques I had was that these essential practices were self-reported and did not fully unpack the policy implications for these authorizers and the states where they work. Recently, however, NACSA released an accompanying report called The State of Charter School Authorizing 2012 that elaborates on the Index by attaching policy recommendations for both authorizers and states. This report, using authorizer demographics and survey data from authorizers, shows that charter school authorizers and states can better serve their charter schools and hold them to higher accountability standards. NACSA finds that the authorizers are performing well on the index but still suffer challenges in closing schools, hiring experts, and working with state laws. Based on the survey findings, NACSA recommends the following for charter school authorizers and the state lawmakers:

  • Authorizers need to develop strong policies for both replication and closure of charters;
  • Authorizers must invest in human capital development to increase both the quantity and quality of charter school educators; and
  • State policy makers must work with charter authorizers to develop stronger measures of school accountability.

Even though the report finds that authorizers are moving in the right direction with details like lower charter school application approval ratings (suggesting that authorizers are being more selective), the fact remains that there are charter schools that are failing to appropriately teach their kids. And it’s the role of authorizers to mature and develop the measures necessary to push the charter school movement forward.

SOURCE: National Association for Charter School Authorizers. The State of Charter School Authorizing 2012 (Washington, DC: National Association for Charter School Authorizers, 2013)

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