Building Charter School Quality
A project funded by the United States Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement

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.

Results & Outcomes of the BCSQ Initiative

1. National Quality Standards

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 standards.

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.

2. State-Level Reports

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 February 2011.

3. Impact on the Public Education Landscape

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.

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Building Charter School Quality Partner Organizations

Learn more about these organizations by visiting their websites at the links below.

Colorado League of Charter Schools National Association of Charter School Authorizers National Alliance for Public Charter Schools CREDO at Stanford University Building Charter School Quality