Federal Charter Schools Program: A New Model for Quality Growth

National Alliance

Over the past year, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has engaged in a nationwide dialogue with charter school operators, key stakeholders, and other supporters to consider what changes ought to be considered as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, and the CSP as part of it, approaches reauthorization in 2007. Throughout our dialogue, we asked charter school supporters to identify their top goals for the CSP. Four such goals emerged regularly: 1. Supporting quality start-ups 2. Providing incentives for the passage of strong state laws 3. Helping expand and replicate successful models 4. Developing long-term support infrastructures, including authorizers Our own observations, along with feedback from charter school advocates in the field, suggest that the CSP has performed well in addressing the first two of these goals although more work should be done to advance strong state laws. The last two goals, however, have not been addressed well under the CSP; nor is the program currently designed to have a significant impact in these areas.