As the charter sector continues to grow and student enrollment becomes a larger percentage of overall district enrollment, new challenges are presenting themselves that require a change in the way authorizers approach the creation and maintenance of charter schools, especially in the way that they interact with traditional public schools.
In their new report, Beyond the Fringe: Charter Authorizing as Enrollment Grows, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) talks about specific challenges facing areas of high charter school growth. Specifically, they do a case study of two authorizers in fast growing and high achieving charter sectors–Denver Public Schools and the DC Public Charter School Board–and look at how they address key challenges affecting their work.
Beyond the Fringe explores the issues that communities must often address to ensure parents and students have equitable access to great public schools. While the report does not give specific “fixes” or advocate for any specific public policy solutions, it does offer ideas, findings and processes to use when addressing resource issues like transportation and access to facilities, enrollment processes, student equity issues, accountability issues when authorizing and evaluating schools, and open communication with families and the public school system.
They provide six key takeaways to help guide authorizers facing similar challenges:
- Be a systems leader. Play a key role in problem solving.
- Get comfortable with trade-offs and compromises.
- Build strong relationships.
- Prioritize access to resources.
- Consider third parties as problem solvers.
- Get ahead. Problem solving should not wait.