New Report Recommends Stricter Authorizing Practices for Missouri's Public Charter Schools

Joy Torchia 816-932-1045
Deborah V. Robinson 202-521-2828

(Kansas City, Mo.) Feb. 1, 2011—The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), with the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today released a report, "Delivering on the Promise: How Missouri Can Grow Excellent, Accountable Public Charter Schools," which issues recommendations to improve practices to close the state's lowest-performing public charter schools.

"It is important that we as the national advocacy group for the public charter school sector take a strong stand on charter school quality—both academic and operational," explained Peter C. Groff, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Report author Nelson Smith, senior advisor, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said "The report also equips state legislators with clear goals and benchmarks that should be considered during the upcoming legislative session. Policymakers can reference the report for an empirical analysis of the charter sector and the potential to better this public-education option."

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Create a new statewide authorizer in Missouri to approve and oversee high-quality public charter schools;
  • Prioritize state oversight by clarifying the criteria by which the State Board of Education can hold authorizers accountable for performance;
  • Provide adequate resources to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that will support its charter school responsibilities properly;
  • Close chronically low-performing charter schools by creating standards of academic performance and taking action against persistently failing schools;
  • Equalize resources between charter and other public schools by making charters eligible for all state-funding streams; and,
  • Improve the authorizing environment by requiring incumbent authorizers to re-apply for their status.

"This timely report comes on the heels of the first decade of charter schools in Missouri. We hope it will encourage legislators and the education community to take specific steps to improve and strengthen this important part of our public schools," said Munro Richardson, vice-president of education, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

About the NAPCS
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) is the national nonprofit organization committed to increasing the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently don't have access to quality public schools.