State-approved “authorizers” have the power to approve new charter schools and to review whether charter schools are meeting expectations.
States have different laws about who can authorize charters and how many charters can be granted. They also have different standards for whether to approve a school or renew its charter.
Authorizers can include government bodies (such as local education agencies, mayors’ offices and state boards of education), universities and not-for-profit organizations. These organizations are responsible for maintaining high standards at charter schools.
So far, there is limited academic research on how authorizing practice affects school quality, but the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers suggest rules and standards for authorizers to adopt to ensure the creation of high-quality charter schools.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers: Holding Public Charter School Authorizers Accountable State Experiences and Policy Recommendations, May 2015
National Association of Charter School Authorizers: State-by-state map