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Holding Public Charter School Authorizers Accountable: State Experiences and Policy Recommendations

Margaret Lin

Accountability is one of the central values of the public charter school concept. To date, most attention from policymakers and other education leaders has focused on school-level accountability. However, as more states have come to appreciate the essential role of public charter school authorizers in a quality public charter school movement, policymakers are increasingly recognizing the need to include provisions for authorizer accountability in state public charter school laws and policies.

This brief will first present the state policy provisions recommended by the National Alliance and NACSA to promote authorizer accountability and provide a look at the extent to which states across the country have adopted these provisions. Next, the brief will highlight and discuss the experiences and lessons from four states—Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Ohio—that have taken action on authorizer accountability in diverse policy and authorizing environments. Lastly, drawing from these state experiences, the brief will offer recommendations to strengthen state policies on authorizer accountability, augmenting the ideas already advanced by the National Alliance’s model law and NACSA policy guidance.