Practices That Matter

Quality Practice Project: Leadership, Commitment, Judgment

NACSA examined the contexts and practices of authorizers with some of the strongest portfolios of charter schools in the country, as well as the practices of authorizers with average portfolio performance. When we compared the two groups, many distinctions emerged.

The following contexts and practices apply to authorizers with strong charter school portfolios. Although there are clear distinctions that set authorizers with strong portfolios apart from those with average portfolios, findings associated with both cannot be dismissed as unimportant. Our research did not examine authorizers with low-performing schools; while not tested, some findings may be necessary for at least an average school portfolio, or foundational for a strong portfolio of schools.

NACSA encourages authorizers to review these findings against their own work and ask questions about how they could improve. In some settings, authorizers may encounter barriers preventing the replication of some practices and contexts. In these instances, authorizing institutions, authorizing staff, local advocates, and policymakers should work together to remove such barriers.

Findings are organized into four categories: