Why Good Authorizers Should Close Bad Schools

October 27, 2010

NewSchools team members Jim Peyser and Maura Marino provide an overview of charter school closure and the need for both solid evidence of necessity and political will.

They explain that charter schools serve a variety of purposes, empowering parents by giving them more educational options from which to choose; providing opportunities for innovative educators to implement new approaches to teaching and learning; creating schools for specific student populations or neighborhoods that are underserved by local school systems; and putting competitive pressure on school districts to change and improve.

The charter sector is thus driven by diverse purposes, and authorizers have different reasons and motivations for chartering schools. Despite these differences, a bedrock principle of the movement is that charter schools must have the freedom to determine their own course within the broad parameters of their charters, and in return, they must be held accountable for their results — and closed when they’re not delivering on those results.

This chapter was written for Accountability in Action:A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure, a publication of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.