Building Charter School Quality Fact Sheet
Friday, January 28, 2011
Overview As the charter school movement continues to expand
nationally, one of its most pressing challenges is the wide
variance in charter school quality. To address this challenge, a
coalition of four leading charter school organizations partnered in
a four-year project to develop new performance standards to
strengthen quality and improve the performance of charter schools
nationwide, known as Building Charter School Quality (BCSQ).
The convening partners include the Colorado League of Charter
Schools (the League), CREDO at Stanford University, the National
Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the National Association
of Charter School Authorizers. BCSQ, funded by the U.S. Department
of Education, was formed in 2007.
BCSQ has, for the first time within the charter school
landscape, developed national consensus on charter school quality.
The initiative led to the development of two reports outlining
academic and operational quality standards that can be applied to
charter schools across the country.
The reports also include guidance as to how different
stakeholders - including charter schools, charter authorizers,
charter support organizations, policymakers, and education leaders
- can implement policy and practice to adhere to these
I. A Framework for Academic
Quality is intended as a practical tool to guide improvement
throughout the charter sector, regardless of a school's mission,
educational model, or student population. It outlines a core set of
principles that charter schools, authorizers, and other
stakeholders should seek as a foundation for school evaluation.
II. A Framework for
Operational Quality is intended as a practical tool to
guide schools around the essential indicators of operational
quality and associated measures and metrics. It can be used as a
practical tool to spur and guide improvement throughout the charter
sector by offering standards of practice applicable to any kind of
charter school, anywhere.
III. Performance Management
Institute which includes a series of trainings that helps
schools, authorizers, charter school organizations and policymakers
put the Frameworks into action.
Following development of the national quality standards, BCSQ
partners began implementing its work in four target states:
Colorado, Arizona, Ohio and New Mexico. State reports were
developed for these states, serving as guides for the state's
charter sector, policymakers and education leaders to take steps to
strengthen school performance. The state reports provide an
overview of the state's charter school landscape and pinpoint each
state's strengths and weaknesses.
New Mexico's report was released in November 2010, with Colorado
released in January 2011 and Ohio and Arizona to be released in
The BCSQ partnership is working to adopt its efforts across the
national education landscape, beginning with Colorado. Over the
course of BCSQ's work, the Colorado League of Charter Schools
spearheaded efforts that enabled the state to develop and implement
the Colorado Growth Model, which is currently being adopted in five
other states, with another nine states looking into implementation.
Additionally, all authorizers in Florida have adopted a common
renewal framework based upon the BCSQ frameworks.