Yesterday in Scottsdale AZ, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers announced that How State Charter Laws Rank Against The New Model Public Charter School Law, by Todd Ziebarth and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, is the 2010 recipient of the NACSA Award for Excellence in Advancing Knowledge.
NACSA drew particular attention to the rankings’ potential impact on the craft of authorizers, who were largely overlooked in the first generation of charter laws: It is critical that state laws accelerate the movement of more authorizers toward the “best-in-class” practices exhibited by the nation’s best ones. Aligning state laws with the model law’s “quality control” provisions will move us in that direction….These new rankings not only show which state laws are making the grade, but also show how they do it: by paying attention to specific issues that are crucial to school and student success.
We’re thrilled that the Alliance and Model Law pub (with its online database) have won this recognition. It has already helped move the national conversation toward fostering great charter schools, not just lots of them. But know something else: This is just the latest instance of Todd Ziebarth's “Advancing Knowledge.” He’s been doing that for a long time now, going back to his days envisioning the shape of all-charter districts for the Education Commission of the States; through all kinds of publications rooted solidly in fact; and especially, doing what he does every day to advise movement leaders and policymakers around the country on how to ground decisions in real evidence about what works.
Although aided by a blue-ribbon task force, supported by able consultants, and cheered on by Alliance staff, Todd was the driving force behind the 2009 model state charter law, and it was he who made the rankings themselves a wonderfully substantive tool for serious policy analysis.
And he’s the best kind of colleague: He knows his stuff but lets you think you thought it up.
The charter movement is awfully lucky to have him on our side.