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Charter School Accountability in New York: Findings from a Three-Year Study of Charter School Authorizers. Charter School Research Project.

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New York State currently has three charter school authorizing agencies. Until now, their oversight has focused on performance based, contractual, and regulatory accountability. An emerging literature suggests that authorizers are reluctant to actualize the accountability/autonomy exchange by closing schools for failure to meet performance targets. This qualitative study, however, suggests that the promise of performance based accountability is primed to be actualized in New York. Since the oldest charter schools in New York are 3 years old, 2 years remain before performance based accountability faces the 5-year renewal test. All three authorizers insist that schools' performance goals are defined and measurable. Several New York charter schools have already been closed for performance and fiscal reasons. The fact that New York has a highly developed performance based accountability system suggests that authorizers will take performance based accountability seriously. New York's charter schools are subject to contractual accountability. While charters serve an important planning function for prospective school founders, helping authorizers to identify both strengths and weaknesses in developing schools, contractual accountability, if inflexibly interpreted by authorizers, may lead to fear of making needed school changes and a "compliance mentality" by charter school practitioners. The study asserts that authorizers should use periodic site visits and detailed review of required records to ensure regulatory accountability. (Contains 31 references.) (SM)

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Author:Ascher, Carol; Echazarreta, Juan; Jacobowitz, Robin; McBride, Yolanda; Troy, Tammi; Wamba, Nathalis
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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