Late last week, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released On the Road to Better Accountability: An Analysis of State Charter School Policies, an inaugural report that provides a state-by-state comparison of charter school laws with a focus on authorizer accountability. Washington was the top-ranked state, with a maximum 30/30 score among states with few authorizers. This is great news for Washington students and families as more high-quality public charter schools become authorized in our state.
“This report is the first of its kind, and offers a comprehensive review of state laws and policies impacting charter schools, as well as the public bodies that authorize them,” said Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters). Since the voter-approved charter school law was passed in Washington, policy makers, authorizers, public education advocates, and parents have demonstrated a deep commitment to quality in our communities’ charter schools. We have looked to the lessons learned from other states that have come before us in order to avoid certain pitfalls as well as to employ proven best practices that are known to be effective.
“It is reaffirming to see that the NACSA review ranks Washington highest among states that share similar authorizing characteristics, and we are confident that our state’s policy environment will help to both promote and protect quality in charter schools.
“Moreover, the report reinforces the critical role that authorizers play in growing and sustaining a strong charter school sector that supports our vision of empowered communities with high-quality public school options for all students. We are very fortunate that our state’s two public charter school authorizers – the Washington State Charter School Commission and Spokane Public Schools – have adopted rigorous application and renewal standards consistent with NACSA’s Principles & Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, a compendium of best practices from across the country. We look forward to further collaboration with Washington’s charter school authorizers and NACSA to ensure that our work continues to support the laudable goals envisioned in our voter-approved charter law.”