Idaho’s Charter Law Ranking Improves for 2016

Idaho’s Charter Law Ranking Improves for 2016

A new report out this week by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, On the Road to Great Charter Schools, provides recommendations on how states can effectively use charter school policy to give schools the autonomy they need to thrive while ensuring public dollars are put to good use. The report shows that as a nation we’ve made progress, but there’s much to be done; one in three charter schools operates in a state with weak charter policies.

“Idaho’s charter school policy landscape has been steadily improving since 2013 and the latest NACSA ratings are further evidence of these gains. But, there is more that needs to happen around operational flexibilities and facilities financing if Idaho is to continue expanding great learning choices for its families and children in coming years,” said Terry Ryan, CEO of Idaho Charter School Network.

Significant charter policy reforms in 2013 made a major impact on the quality of Idaho’s charter school law and brought new accountability measures to Idaho’s charter schools. Since then, Idaho has continued to improve charter school policy in order to better advance quality and improve achievement in Idaho’s charter schools. The 2016 NACSA ranking showed a 1 point increase over last year from the addition of charter legislation that allows for replication of a high quality charter school under one authorizing board.

In order to further improve Idaho’s laws, NACSA has the following recomendations:

  • Endorse professional standards for charter school authoring. In practice, the Idaho Public Charter School Commission employs many best practices in charter school authorizing. Codifying this expectation for all authorizers will ensure consistent high quality across the authorizing sector.
  • Institute a default closure policy to make closure the expected outcome for failing charter schools.
  • Consider adopting authorizer screening, evaluation, and sanction policies if additional authorizers become active. State law allows Higher Education Institutions to authorize charter schools. The state would benefit from additional authorizer quality initiatives—for example, authorizer applications or other screening processes—such as those adopted in Minnesota or Indiana. These initiatives are quality control measures that ensure only authorizers with a commitment to quality are allowed to authorize. These policies would prevent authorizer-shopping activities from eroding charter school accountability, a problem in states with more than two non-LEA authorizers.

NACSA is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to great public schools. They focus their efforts on authorizers who are the legal entities that decide who can start a new charter school, set expectations and oversee school performance, and decide which schools should continue to serve students or not.

View the report here and dive into Idaho’s detailed policy assessment.