Missing link to quality charter schools
By Jonathan Cetel
The theory behind public charter schools is simple: greater flexibility in exchange for increased accountability will produce more high-quality options for families. What’s proven to be the challenge is the “accountability” part of this equation.
Too often, we place blame on the charter operators and ignore the entity responsible for holding charter schools accountable: the authorizer.
In the life cycle of a charter school, it is up to the authorizer to grant or deny the charter, monitor the school’s progress over the life of the charter, and decide whether to renew the school’s charter once its term is over.
Currently in Pennsylvania, local school boards are the sole entity permitted to authorize brick-and-mortar public charter schools. This needs to change if our state wants to provide more high-quality choices for kids and parents.
Right now, there is a bipartisan bill in the General Assembly that would permit colleges and universities to authorize charter schools. Success stories exist across the charter spectrum and across all types of authorizers, but as the charter sector has grown over the last 20 years, certain patterns have started to emerge.
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