NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1027036
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Charter Authorizers Face Challenges
Gustafson, Joey
Education Next, v13 n3 p32-37 Sum 2013
Since the first charter school opened 20 years ago in Minnesota, charters have been a focus of school reform advocates and the subject of substantial research. Yet the regulators of the charter industry (called "authorizers" or "sponsors") remain a mystery to many. In fact, many authorizers work in isolation, developing their own best practices, and are often just trying to keep their heads above water. Why is this? Is it that reformers have appropriately been focused on the charter schools themselves? Or is the notion of regulation within a movement that has autonomy as its lifeblood simply not a popular topic? Regardless, the quality of authorizing matters. Authorizers evaluate charter school applications, oversee charter schools once they are up and running, and decide, based on various performance measures, whether to renew or revoke the schools' charters. Strong authorizing can create and support high-quality charter schools, and weak authorizing can enable lousy charter schools to open or stay open. This article first describes the impact authorizers have on the charter compact and the authorizing landscape. A discussion of what determines authorizer quality, authorizer funding, and the need for long-term stability of expert staff follows. Finally, the article examines how charter laws can be changed and what questions this raises regarding the current authorizing structure and resources. The article concludes that if charter school accountability is to exist as intended, authorizers have to be funded on a secure and permanent basis. If local and state policymakers decide how much to fund authorizing bodies on an ad hoc basis instead, then accountability will continue to be hit or miss. Only high-quality authorizing will ensure that only high-quality charter schools open and grow.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A