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No Child Left Behind News
Providing regular news on implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act as it applies to charter schools.

Policy Brief No. 1

"NCLB Title I Accountability and Charter School Authorizer Obligations"
William Haft and Rebecca Cass

Non-regulatory Guidance for Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued guidance on March 25, 2003, related to the impact of the new Title I requirements on charter schools.

The long-awaited guidance helps clarify the role of the charter authorizer in implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) school accountability provisions. Consistent with congressional intent, the non-regulatory guidance upholds the charter authorizer as the entity responsible for holding charter schools accountable for Title I, Part A provisions, unless state law specifically preempts this role for authorizers by giving over such charter school accountability to a state's education agency.

While the guidance makes clear that charter schools are subject to the same Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and other accountability requirements as all public schools governed by a state's Title I accountability plans, it encourages such state plans to "respect the unique nature of charter schools" and to "reflect input from charter operators and authorizers."

To access the ED guidance, go to . . .

The guidance provides general information on how the NCLB Act impacts charter schools, including details on accountability requirements; public school choice; supplemental educational services; and teacher and paraprofessional qualifications. ED also will soon issue new guidance on the Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Some of the questions the guidance answers are how the new law defines a highly qualified charter school teacher; whether charter schools are required to make adequate yearly progress like other public schools; and if parents must be notified if a charter school is identified as in need of improvement "While charter schools are held to the same rigorous standards as other public schools, NCLB also respects the freedom and autonomy that the schools enjoy under state law," stated ED's news release.

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