Dear Charter Authorizers,
1. Some of you are becoming school districts–bureaucratic and directive. What happened to ‘autonomy for accountability’? Reading some of your renewal reviews, it’s like having a boss all over again.
2. Timelines are so long and apps are so big and expensive to prepare, you’re shutting people out especially minority operators.
3. Non-renewing low performing schools is tough, but it’s your job–it’s the charter bargain.
4. Some of you have outlawed innovation by requiring same-old-same-old. Ol’ fashioned prep schools get it done for some kids but there’s a new world of opportunity out there including learning online.
5. Time to check in with your state’s RttT team, you’ll want to update your process to accommodate the conversions/restarts contemplated in the plan. In fact, you’ll probably want to work with the Chief to define a two step process to 1) identify conversion/restart partners and 2) match them with local opportunities.
6. Local rejectors (districts that will never approve an app) are torturing folks; create an expedited denial process or give applicants the ability to apply directly to the state.
7. Create a ‘Rapid-Pass’ for high performers that want to expand.
8. Where there is likely to be a large number of public or private schools converting to charter, suggest to the legislature that a separate niche authorizer be formed to deal with these unique circumstances.
9. Be thoughtful about location, transportation, access, and facilities; you’re often the portfolio manager. We need equitable choice focused on, but not limited to, the highest need areas.