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Building Excellence in Charter School Authorizing

Through the award of two consecutive national grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Charter School Program, NACSA has undertaken a broad program of research and technical assistance focused on Building Excellence in Charter School Authorizing (BECSA). For an overview of our current work, read this abstract.



View the Principles and Standards for Quality Charter School Authorizing, which were officially adopted by the NACSA membership on May 14.




Currently, NACSA is publishing a series of Authorizer Issue and Policy Briefs to showcase in a quick and easy to read format specific authorizing issues, challenges, practices, and strategies that illustrate and instruct the theory and practice of charter school authorizing.



Click on a topic below:

Issue Brief No. 1 - Renewal Decisionmaking
"When It Really Matters: Charter Renewal Decisions at the State University of New York"
William Haft

Issue Brief No. 2 - Roles and Responsibilities
"Building a Foundation for Success: How Authorizers Can Help Schools with the Facilities Challenge"
Robin Halsband and Bryan C. Hassel

Issue Brief No. 3 - Agency Capacity and Infrastructure
"Built for Quality: The Capacity Needed to Oversee Charter Schools"

Issue Brief No. 4 - Ongoing Oversight and Evaluation
"The Value of Quality On-Site School Reviews: Seeing Is Believing"
Rebecca Wolf DiBiase

Issue Brief No. 5 - Ongoing Oversight and Evaluation II
"Charter School Authorizers and Oversight: Where is the Line Between Effectively Holding Schools Accountable and Overregulation?"

Issue Brief No. 6 - Agency Capacity and Infrastructure
"School Districts Choosing to Charter"
Robin Lake

Issue Brief No. 7 - Agency Capacity and Infrastructure II
"Square Pegs: Charter Authorizers in Non-Charter Agencies"
Nelson Smith

Issue Brief No. 8 - Renewal Decisionmaking
"The Authorizer and Charter School Closures: Exercising Adaptive Leadership to Protect the Public Interest"
Veronica Geyer

Policy Brief No. 1 - Authorizers and NCLB
"NCLB Title I Accountability and Charter School Authorizer Obligations"
William Haft and Rebecca Cass

The Critical Design Issues for Charter School Authorizers has provided a guiding framework for all of our BECSA work. Through a series of planning questions, Critical Design Issues identifies a core set of activities and practical choice options associated with a comprehensive charter school authorizing program. The accompanying illustrations and case studies augment the value of the guiding questions by documenting approaches used by experienced authorizers.

To download a copy of the Critical Design Issues publication, click on...
Issues & Illustrations (pgs. 1-48)
Case Studies (pgs. 1-5, 49-133)

Single printed copies are available for free to NACSA members or for $10 shipping & handling for non-members. To order, contact us via e-mail ([email protected]).





Check back often to browse our, Online Library of Charter School Authorizer Resources, which is constantly updated. This easily searchable resource offers an online compendium of authorizer-developed policies, protocols and tools for all areas and phases of chartering practice.


Over the next three years, NACSA will be adding substantially to this body of work thanks to support from the federal Charter School Program.

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