Successful Charter Schools are More Than a Collection of Great Teachers and an Effective Curriculum
  • They are also nonprofit corporations that must operate with maximum efficiency in order to produce strong results despite funding disparities and facilities challenges unique to charter schools.
  • They are multi-million dollar start-up enterprises whose stakeholders are parents, taxpayers, and public authorities.
  • Because they are public schools, charters are publicly accountable not just for academic results, but also for sound stewardship of public dollars.
  • Most often, charter schools falter because of deficiencies in finance, governance, and other operational domains.
“Recent reports indicate that two-thirds of mid-term charter revocations have happened for reasons other than academic performance. This may be because financial and organizational failures are often evident before academic shortcomings, but it confirms that sound operations must be in place to ensure charter school success. Without a sound infrastructure in place, education will fail.”Margaret Raymond, Director, Center for Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, A Framework for Operational Quality
Building Charter School Quality: Strengthening Performance Management Among Schools, Authorizers, State Charter Support Organizations and Funders (BCSQ)

A three-year federally funded project that focuses on strengthening the charter movement through quality schooling, BCSQ has identified and produced companion reports that lay out two necessary frameworks for achieving this goal:

  1. Academic quality
  2. Operational quality
Charter Schools Face Substantial Financial & Operational Issues

While there is high growth in the number of charter schools opening across the country (1,500 new charter schools over the past four years), school leaders spend too much time worrying about finance and operations vs. instructional leadership…

…and yet 68% of charter schools still fail for financial and mismanagement issues:

School leaders spend 33% of their time on organizational and financial management, versus just 21% on instructional leadership. [1]

657 charter schools have been closed nationally: 565 or 81% for non-academic reasons, versus 92 or 14% for academic reasons. [2]


[1] Working Without A Safety Net: How Charter School Leaders Can Best Survive on the High Wire, National Charter School Research Project, September 2008.

[2] The Accountability Report: Charter Schools, The Center for Education Reform, February 2009.