Only a handful of the dozens of agencies across the country that approve and oversee charter schools are doing a perfect job of it, a report by a charter authorizers’ group says.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, a nonprofit group based in Chicago, surveyed 381 organizations charged with approving the largely independent public schools. The survey’s aim was to measure the degree to which the authorizers had adopted 12 basic practices that the national group had found to be key. Such practices included: interviewing all charter applicants; establishing criteria for approval, renewal, and evaluation of schools; enlisting expert panels to review applications; and approving charters for only five-year terms.
Three authorizers—the Albuquerque, N.M., public schools, the Chicago school system, and the Philadelphia school district—scored high on all 12 criteria. At the low end of the scale was the Mitchell County school board in southwest Georgia. It met three of the group’s criteria.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as Charter Authorizers Get Middling Marks