For Immediate Release: January 10, 2016
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, renee.lang@nasbe.org, 703-740-4841

NASBE’s State Education Standard Explores the Role State Boards of Education Play in Public Charter Schooling

Alexandria, VA – As President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary is vetted on Capitol Hill, NASBE’s new issue of its journal, The State Education Standard, offers a timely, thoughtful look at the role of state boards of education in public charter schooling. Authors in this issue urge state boards—24 of which have some authority to authorize charter schools—to think more systematically about how charter schools fit into their overall vision for education and offer guardrails for decision making.

Public Impact’s Bryan Hassel opens the issue with an overview of the current charter school landscape: Where are these schools, who are their students, and what are the big issues on the horizon for the sector? Robin Lake of the Center for Reinventing Public Education’s argues that state leadership in encouraging collaboration between school districts and charters is essential to increase charter school quality and advance school turnaround efforts.

The issue also includes perspectives on the question of charter accountability. Andy Smarick, president of the Maryland State Board of Education, argues that having two systems for delivering public education requires state boards to define two approaches for accountability. In reviewing 25 years of charter history, Jeffrey Henig, professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, concludes that the success of charters depends critically on public officials and those who elect them: “There is no strong accountability at charter schools without the strong oversight of public officials,” Henig writes.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers’ Nelson Smith discusses what state boards can do to ensure that charter authorizers are up to the task of overseeing charters. He notes several state efforts to ensure charter authorizer evaluations are not an afterthought but rather an integral part of an accountability system.

The Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter explore popular critiques of charter schools: that they are foes to teachers unions and have, over the years, resegregated public schools. They highlight ways state boards can ensure charters are places that embrace diversity and teacher voice. And in a personal essay, state board veteran Samuel Henry shares his experience with charter schools in Oregon.

Read the full January 2017 issue of The State Education Standard. Individual articles can be downloaded here.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, promote excellence in the education of all students, and ensure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.

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