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Fordham Institute Study on Charter School Authorizing

June 5, 2003

A statement by Mark Cannon, NACSA executive director, upon the release of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute study, “Charter School Authorizing: Are States Making the Grade?”


“The Fordham report reveals that many authorizers are doing a good job of ensuring quality charter schools, despite flawed state laws and limited resources. The findings make clear that states and local districts need to be more supportive of these independent public school options for students.

“If we want more quality charter schools - and the thousands of parents who’ve placed their children on waiting lists clearly do - then we need to give authorizers more resources and workable state laws.

“With most charter authorizers strapped for funds, the authors of the Fordham report are right to praise those that make the current process work as well as it is. Some do outstanding work with little support from their states. (The report averaged the grades in states with multiple authorizers.)

“The report’s graders were tough, and they gave low marks if a state was putting up barriers by capping the number of charter schools, giving little relief from bureaucratic rules, or for providing too little funding for the authorizer to do a good job. In many cases, authorizer grades were lowered simply because they are stuck implementing flawed policies.

“Skimping on financial and policy support for charter schools and the agencies that authorize them, serves only to jeopardize the very achievement gains - especially among poor and minority students - that are the hallmark of the charter school movement.”

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For a copy of the full report, visit the Fordham Institute website at:
www.edexcellence.net/tbfinstitute/authorizers.html


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