Standards

Standards for Authorizers Of Charter Schools Issued

By Lynn Olson — May 26, 2004 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

How to oversee and evaluate charter schools is relatively new territory for the hundreds of school boards, universities, nonprofit groups, and other organizations that now have the responsibility for authorizing such schools. To help them with that task, the board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers has approved a set of voluntary standards.

“We think strong authorizing practices will lead to good charter schools and improved student achievement,” said Greg Richmond, the president of the Alexandria, Va.-based group and the director of the charter school office for the Chicago public schools. “These are things that we have learned, as experienced authorizers, are good practices that will develop good schools for kids.”

“Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing,” from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.

The document, “Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing,” was adopted this month. It addresses core areas for which authorizers are responsible, including designing and overseeing the application process, negotiating contracts, providing oversight and evaluation of charter schools, and deciding whether their contracts should be renewed.

By using the principles and standards, said Mark Cannon, the group’s executive director, authorizers can honor the autonomy of charter schools while holding them, as recipients of public funding, accountable for student achievement.

‘Set Out a Marker’

The question of whether authorizers are adequately evaluating the quality of charter schools has been the subject of recent studies and debate. (“Study: Charter Evaluations Have Room for Improvement,” Feb. 25, 2004.)

The association, which represents 50 authorizers in 21 states and the District of Columbia, has been trying to improve such practices. Last year, it released a paper describing critical issues facing charter school authorizers, with examples of how such issues were being addressed around the country.

Because authorizers face legal, financial, and other constraints, said Mr. Cannon, the group’s board decided to make the principles and standards available as guidance. Members are not required to follow them, nor does the document prescribe an exclusive approach to authorizing charter schools.

Board members decided “the best way to encourage widespread adoption of quality practices would be to set out a marker and encourage authorizers to freely and voluntarily associate themselves with this approach,” Mr. Cannon said.

Among other actions, the principles state that high-caliber authorizers should approach their role deliberately and thoughtfully; strive for clarity, consistency, and transparency in what they do; and use objective and verifiable measures of student achievement as the primary measure of school quality.

The standards stress the importance of fair procedures and rigorous criteria for evaluating charter school applications. They also advocate that charter school contracts clearly articulate the rights and responsibilities of each party regarding school autonomy, expected outcomes, measures for evaluating success or failure, the conditions under which the authorizer may intervene in the school’s operation or revoke a contract, and the terms for renewal.

As part of the continuing oversight and evaluation of such schools, the standards say that authorizers should provide “clear, adequate, and evidence-based” notice of problems, allow reasonable time for problems to be fixed, and make decisions about whether and how to intervene on a clear and consistent basis.

According to the standards, authorizers should grant renewals only to a school with a “high- quality educational program that has achieved the goals and standards identified in its contract, is organizationally and financially viable, and has been faithful to the terms of its contract and applicable law.” Authorizers also should outline a protocol for the orderly closure of schools, when necessary.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 26, 2004 edition of Education Week as Standards for Authorizers Of Charter Schools Issued

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Florida's New African American History Standards: What's Behind the Backlash
The state's new standards drew national criticism and leave teachers with questions.
9 min read
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the Celebrate Freedom Foundation Hangar in West Columbia, S.C. July 18, 2023. For DeSantis, Tuesday was supposed to mark a major moment to help reset his stagnant Republican presidential campaign. But yet again, the moment was overshadowed by Donald Trump. The former president was the overwhelming focus for much of the day as DeSantis spoke out at a press conference and sat for a highly anticipated interview designed to reassure anxious donors and primary voters that he's still well-positioned to defeat Trump.
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in West Columbia, S.C., on July 18, 2023. Florida officials approved new African American history standards that drew national backlash, and which DeSantis defended.
Sean Rayford/AP
Standards Here’s What’s in Florida’s New African American History Standards
Standards were expanded in the younger grades, but critics question the framing of many of the new standards.
1 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida State Board of Education in the teaching of Black history.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida state board of education in the teaching of Black history.
Fran Ruchalski/The Florida Times-Union via AP
Standards Opinion How One State Found Common Ground to Produce New History Standards
A veteran board member discusses how the state school board pushed past partisanship to offer a richer, more inclusive history for students.
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards The Architects of the Standards Movement Say They Missed a Big Piece
Decisions about materials and methods can lead to big variances in the quality of instruction that children receive.
4 min read
Image of stairs on a blueprint, with a red flag at the top of the stairs.
Feodora Chiosea/iStock/Getty