Charters: So You Say You Want To Become An Authorizer
Everybody wants to be an authorizer these days -- unions (Union-backed group given green light to authorize charter schools) and district superintendents (like DCPS's Kaya Henderson mentioned it again earlier this week). But it's not so easy to do, or do well, and Chicago might be the best or most convenient example of this. Until this year, CPS was the sole authorizer. There were caps on the number of charters (though not so much on the number of campuses). There was an elaborate process for applying for and getting approval from the Board. But the in-house nature of the approval process didn't necessarily help ensure that Chicago charters were so much better than charters in other places, or even as well or better coordinated with regular schools as in other places. So while I can understand the desire to get into the authorizing game, both practical and political, I'm not sure that there's a case to be made that we know it works. Personally, I'd rather have districts and unions work on revamping their overall operations -- charterizing them, if you will -- so that district schools have some of the advantages of charters. Then again, I'm not yet convinced about relinquishing, either, so perhaps I'm just a neanderthal on this stuff.