by Joey Gustafson
June 13, 2013
Since the first charter school opened 20 years ago in Minnesota, charters have been a focus of school reform advocates and the subject of substantial research. Yet the regulators of the charter industry (called “authorizers” or “sponsors”) remain a mystery to many. In fact, many authorizers work in isolation, developing their own best practices, and are often just trying to keep their heads above water. Authorizers evaluate charter school applications, oversee charter schools once they are up and running, and decide, based on various performance measures, whether to renew or revoke the schools’ charters. Strong authorizing can create and support high-quality charter schools, and weak authorizing can enable lousy charter schools to open or stay open.