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Automatic Closure of Low-Performing Public Charter Schools

Todd Ziebarth

The National Alliance advocates for the growth and expansion of high-quality charter schools. While we believe it is important to foster the growth of charter schools achieving great academic results for students, it is equally important to close charter schools that are not improving student outcomes.

We are pleased to see that over the past several years, state lawmakers have increasingly enacted legislation, often based on our model law, to better support the growth of high-quality public charter schools—including strengthening accountability provisions for these innovative public school options. At the same time, a growing number of states have passed laws that require charter schools to close if they do not meet certain performance benchmarks.

This week we released a state policy snapshot that provides an overview of automatic closure policies in the 15 states that have such laws, which is an increase of four states since we last released this snapshot in 2014.

As state lawmakers consider these policies, they should give serious thought to several issues, including authorizers’ track records in closing low-performing public charter schools, the sophistication of their states’ accountability systems, and how to handle public charter schools that serve high percentages of at-risk students.

We commend policymakers who have acted to enforce the quality of their state’s charter school landscape through strong accountability measures. We also strongly encourage lawmakers to work closely with the local public charter school stakeholders who are committed to quality as they investigate this policy issue.