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Charter Schools

"The State of Charter School Authorizing 2008: A Report on NACSA's Authorizer Survey"

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A new reportRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader finds that the approval rate for opening new charter schools appears to be declining among the nation’s 50 largest charter authorizers, which are the bodies charged with overseeing and holding the independent public schools accountable.

“Authorizers appear to be getting choosier,” said Susan Miller Barker, the vice president for research and evaluation at the National Association for Charter School Authorizers, the Chicago-based group that conducted the study. “We think that’s a good thing.”

That said, the report cautions that a variety of other factors also may help explain the drop, including state caps limiting the number of schools and a decrease in qualified applicants.

The report finds that between 2005 and 2008, the 50 largest authorizers approved 34 percent of applicants, or 516, from a pool of more than 1,400. In 2005, the approval rate was about 50 percent, and prior to 2003 it was 68 percent.

Overall, as of January 2009, the report identified 819 authorizers nationwide in six categories: local education agencies; higher education institutions; state education agencies; nonprofit organizations; independent chartering boards; and mayors or municipalities.

Most authorizers oversee fewer than five schools, with the majority responsible for just one or two charters. Only 66 authorizers, or 8 percent, oversee 10 or more charter schools, the study finds. Those 66 oversee 54 percent of charter schools, enrolling 77 percent of all charter students.

The three biggest authorizers in order are the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, the Texas Education Agency, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Vol. 29, Issue 03, Page 5

Published in Print: September 16, 2009, as Charter Schools
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