The charter school concept began nearly 25 years ago with great energy around this central premise: increased autonomy in exchange for increased accountability for performance. It meant opening new public schools and when necessary, closing the few that don’t work for kids.
Authorizers are the public officials charged with creating better public education opportunities for more children using charter schools. While it’s more dynamic and exciting to focus on growth, authorizers have a responsibility to kids and the public to ensure no school that fails kids are allowed to continue to do so.
For more than 50 years, passionate educators, scholars and political leaders who rue school failure have agreed on very little when it comes to the best way to reform our education system. But we can likely agree on this: Kids shouldn’t have to go to schools that fail them year after year. As the data shows, authorizers are carefully and boldly making decisions on who should—and who should not—be allowed the privilege of serving our students.
Data from NACSA’s annual survey of charter school authorizers shows that when closure is necessary, the strongest authorizers prepare school communities for what’s to come. They assure them that the choice to close is a last resort, but ultimately the right call.