Accountability

Summary

Academic accountability is a key ingredient is the success of California's charter schools and the students they serve. The ongoing success of the movement depends on a robust, clearly defined accountability system.

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Overview

Charter public schools play a critical role in strengthening public education in communities across California. Demand for charters grows annually as charter school students do better in school.

Academic accountability is a key ingredient in the success of California's charter schools and the students they serve. Charter school students are thriving academically, in part, because clear minimum performance standards have created an environment of freedom and autonomy in exchange for accountability, where high performing charter schools have flourished and many underperforming schools have closed.

Accountability matters to the California charter schools movement and to CCSA members. The ongoing and future success of California charter schools depends on a robust, clearly defined, accountability system.

CCSA is leading the way in accountability for charter schools by establishing clear and transparent academic performance expectations and providing resources to schools to foster a continuous cycle of improvement.

Within this article:

  • Learn about Accountability
  • Read about CCSA's Academic Accountability Framework
  • Explore Individual School Results
  • See what School Supports are offered by CCSA
Learn more about:

Background and Lessons Learned

Taking the Lead on Improving Academic Accountability

In 2009, CCSA's Member Council led the development and introduction of a fair and transparent Accountability Framework that sets Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria to measure academic performance of charter schools. To this day, CCSA uses this framework to:

  • Identify struggling schools in need of targeted interventions;
  • Guide our advocacy efforts, in support of and in opposition to, renewing and replicating charter schools;
  • Provide all charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance; and
  • Help present a clear picture of the performance of the entire movement.

Accountability Framework

In conjunction with the CCSA Member Council and in consultation with technical experts, CCSA developed an Accountability Framework to set minimum standards of academic performance at time of renewal. The Accountability Framework values academic rigor, growth, and comparisons with similar student populations. Importantly, it draws from public data (and thus is able to be implemented statewide) yet addresses some of the limitations of the state's current data infrastructure.

Painting a "Portrait of the Movement"

In addition to establishing a minimum bar for academic achievement, CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal enables us to look across a continuum of performance to identify schools that are far exceeding the performance of other schools serving similar student populations and compare charter performance with that of traditional public schools. This will enable us to help build networks of practice, provide targeted support to struggling schools and achieve a greater degree of transparency and collaboration among similarly oriented charters - whether in curricular approach or student population served.

CCSA's Achievement and Performance Management Team use this data to generate an annual Portrait of the Movement report, which features movement-wide analyses to aid efforts to assess, monitor and improve the academic performance of all charter schools. CCSA generates other studies and reports, available with with other major studies about charter schools in our Research and Data Library.

Public Call for Non-Renewal

After years of member engagement, consultation with technical experts, and rigorous testing by staff, CCSA formally adopted the CCSA Accountability Framework to guide our support for charter schools in renewal. Accordingly, CCSA will call for the non-renewal of schools in renewal that are below the CCSA Minimum Criteria for Renewal (learn more on the "Framework" tab of this article.).

For those schools falling below the criteria, CCSA will inform the schools and the authorizers, and we will publically encourage authorizers to exercise their authority to deny the charter renewal petitions and close the schools. Charter renewal is the time when charter school authorizers must determine if a charter school is fulfilling this promise. As a guide, state law directs local authorizers to use academic criteria as the single most important factor in considering whether to grant a charter renewal (Ed. Code 47607(a)(3)(A)).

Read more about our Public Call for Non-Renewal accountability efforts.

Lessons Learned: For Other States Interested in Building on CCSA's Accountability Efforts

CCSA has several years of experience designing and launching an academic accountability framework to guide advocacy efforts for renewing and replicating schools, including calling for the closure of underperforming schools. We have learned many lessons along the way and have identified best practices that we would like to share with others who may be interested in implementing robust accountability standards in their own states as well as state charter associations seeking to build accountability frameworks to guide their advocacy efforts.

Below are presentations shared from national reports and webinars highlighting CCSA's accountability work and lessons learned. For more information, please contact accountability@ccsa.org.

Deeper Research

CCSA has conducted extensive data simulations over multiple years, which have confirmed that charter schools of all grade level and school type are broadly distributed across the Accountability Framework and that the Minimum Criteria for Renewal do not unfairly treat schools serving traditionally disadvantaged students.

CCSA further tested the Accountability Framework by conducting an ambitious study of 58 charter schools across the state of California in 2011. Through site visits at nearly all of those schools and analysis of longitudinal student data, the study aimed to assess whether schools with low API status and growth scores were truly underperforming (as best as possible given the limitations of the data), to get schools' perspective of their own performance, and to assess the effectiveness of the Similar Students Measure (SSM) in identifying underperforming schools.

Read the full report "Assessing the Utility of State Academic Indicators for Measuring Performance in 58 California Charter Schools" (Note: school names are redacted for confidentiality).

Some of the findings of the report include:

  • Charter schools in this study are performing at comparatively very low levels of achievement (particularly in Math). Moreover, the data suggest that many of these schools are underperforming compared to how other schools are serving similar demographics of students, which are finding success despite greater challenges among their student populations.
  • Compared with other charters statewide, these schools had far lower performance in API scores, English and Math proficiency, and lost ground over time in student proficiency rates. In particular, Math proficiency levels were far lower for these schools. These data characterized the schools as far below average and not improving over time.
  • We do not see evidence that the K-12 and independent study schools are being unfairly penalized with the SSM.
  • We see similar numbers of high risk/high need populations served by the low performing CCSA Support and Non-Support charters. This suggests that the SSM is not inappropriately over-identifying or penalizing schools for serving high risk populations.
  • One third of the schools interviewed made comments that embodied low expectations for their students.
  • For 20% of the lowest performing charters, there is no longer a fit between their mission statement and who they serve.
  • Many of the lowest performing charters do not believe they are underperforming and do not evidence a clear understanding of accountability. More than half of schools (57%) believe they are not underperforming; two-thirds (63%) of the schools are unable to articulate a clear understanding of accountability.
  • Analyses of individual-student academic metrics contradict schools' assertions that, while school-wide results show poor performance, they are substantially increasing individual students' academic trajectories. We do not see evidence of such added value or disarticulation with our SSM measure.

In sum, this study suggested that, given the data limitations, CCSA's SSM instrument is properly calibrated to discern between schools that are performing well and those that are struggling.

Accountability Matters

Accountability Matters to the California's Charter School Movement and CCSA Members

We know that we cannot have an honest discussion about education reform and increasing accountability without acknowledging the fact that while a large number of charters are performing well, too many have demonstrated an inability to meet the challenge of excellence--granted to us by law--and chronically underperform.

  • Success of our movement depends on autonomy but this small number of chronically underperforming charters endanger the legislative and policy environment for all charter schools.
  • Without higher standards, we undercut a central reason for our movement's continued growth and development.
  • Without clear standards, underperforming charter schools are inappropriately renewed and clearly successful schools are subject to unnecessary distraction, micromanagement and re-regulation at the time of renewal.
  • And importantly, if we do not define accountability for ourselves, we leave it in the hands of others less knowledgeable about charters to define what may be less appropriate standards.

Framework

Since 2009, CCSA's Member Council has led CCSA's accountability advocacy efforts for renewing and replicating charter schools, including the development of CCSA's Accountability Framework that sets Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria to measure academic performance of charter schools. Academic accountability is a key ingredient in the success of California's charter schools and the students they serve. Charter schools have thrived, in part, because clear minimum performance standards have created an environment of freedom and autonomy in exchange for accountability, where high performing charter schools have flourished and many underperforming schools have closed.

CCSA's straightforward and transparent Accountability Framework provides all charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance, and also helps present a clear picture of the performance continuum across the entire movement.

Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria

While there are many important aspects to measuring the performance of a charter school, CCSA believes student academic outcomes should be the single most important measure of a school's success at the time of charter renewal or replication. CCSA's Accountability Framework is made up of two parts - an initial review of publicly available test score and postsecondary readiness data and then, for the subset of schools underperforming on all initial criteria, a Multiple Measures Review based on public and non-public data that is tailored to a school's mission and outcomes.

CCSA's Minimum Academic Criteria for Renewing and Replicating Schools, 2016-17

Charters meeting ANY initial filter OR showing academic success through the Multiple Measure Review meet the academic threshold to receive CCSA's full advocacy support for renewal or replication. CCSA opposes renewal and replication for schools below ALL initial filters AND that do not demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review.

Initial Filters
Three measures of state test scores and postsecondary readiness serve as "initial filters":

1) Status measure: Above 40th percentile on SBAC

  • Additionally, schools performing in the bottom 5th percentile need to participate in CCSA's Multiple Measure Review before receiving CCSA's advocacy support for renewal or replication
  • CCSA uses a weighted average of SBAC scale scores measuring how far the average student is above/below the "Met" standard and ranked 0-100th percentile statewide.

2) Growth/ Postsecondary readiness

  • Elementary/middle schools: Growth over time on SBAC
    (Will be finalized in 2016-17, we recommend looking at 2015-16 APD minus 2014-15 APD and identifying a percentile at which schools with high year-over-year growth qualify for CCSA's support)
  • High schools: 75% or more of 12th grade graduates completing all "a-g" requirements

3) Similar Students: "Within or above predicted" on either of the last two years on CCSA's Similar Students Measure (measures how schools are performing with similar students across the state)

Multiple Measure Review
Schools below ALL the initial filters or in the bottom 5% statewide on SBAC can share outcomes aligned to California's 8 state priorities as described in the school's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Schools can tell their own story of success by choosing measures most closely aligned to their mission.

CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria would not apply if a school is ASAM/Alternative, less than four years old, or has less than 30 valid test takers.

School Results

2016-17 Academic Accountability Report Cards

CCSA publishes Report Cards that show the results of every charter school based on CCSA's Accountability Framework that sets Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria to measure academic performance of charter schools. CCSA will publish 2016-17 Accountability Framework and Academic Accountability Report Cards on snapshots.ccsa.org in fall 2016. Report cards are available for all charter schools regardless of how charter schools perform based on CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria. A draft example of what the 2016-17 Academic Accountability Report Cards will look like is available. Preview a draft example.

Note that CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria do not apply if a school is: Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM), Alternative, less than four years old, or has less than 30 valid test takers.

School Supports

CCSA provides several support resources to help all California charter schools in the cycle of continuous improvement.

CCSA's Self-Assessment Portal

Charter school leaders across the state have asked for targeted tools to enhance their local school-based accountability efforts. In turn, CCSA created the School Self-Assessment Portal. Use this free resource to assess the success of the first half of the school year, highlight areas of development for spring, and plan strategically for the year ahead.

Log in today to track your school's progress, access informative data reports, and use hundreds of pre-screened resources. If you don't have an account yet, just email datarequest@ccsa.org. Don't delay.

NWEA MAP Assessments and Trainings

CCSA has partnered with the Northwest Evaluation Association™ (NWEA™) to allow California charter schools to receive a substantial discount on Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessments in Math, Reading, and Language Arts.

For just $11/student per year, California charter schools can administer the NWEA MAP assessments for 2015-16 (compared to a standard rate of $13.50/student). All charter schools in California are eligible to receive this discount. Charter schools currently using NWEA™ can receive the discounted rate in the form of a credit toward purchasing MAP® assessments in 2016-17.

School Leaders Network

California charter school leaders in San Diego and Los Angeles have formed professional networks focused on studying best teaching, leadership and learning practices in the transition to the Common Core.

Learn more about what the School Leaders Network charter leaders identified as critical in their transition to the Common Core standards. Read the 2014-15 findings.

Charter Leader Development Network

If you are planning to open a charter school in the 2016-17 school year, you are a first or second year charter leader, or you are leading a charter school in the first through third year of their first charter, you have a menu of high quality and free charter leadership professional development available to you through your CCSA membership. With the guidance of veteran charter leaders and national leadership experts, CCSA will provide a menu of leadership services to suit the needs of extremely busy new charter leaders. The goal of the program is to support new leaders in staying focused on the achievement of their students while effectively leading the vast number of competing priorities in the first critical years of the charter's development. Email your name, position title and school name to datarequest@ccsa.org to learn more or to participate.

Snapshots

Explore CCSA's snapshot reports that show how your school is performing on critical measures of student achievement.

  • The SBAC Summary Report will show you how the average student ranked in performance on the new SBAC assessment compared to all other schools in the state.
  • The College Readiness Report shows the progress of your students on a number of key indicators of your students' ability to be accepted and have success at the college level.

Starting in the 2016-17 school year, come back to see all the reports as they are updated to reflect the new SBAC results for your school and your region. See all reports on your school.

Accountability FAQs

On this page:

  • Accountability Framework
  • General Topics
  • Public Call for Non-Renewal

Accountability Framework

What is CCSA's Accountability Framework?

CCSA developed its Accountability Framework in 2009, working closely with technical experts and CCSA's Member Council, comprised of charter public school leaders from every region of the state. This framework is a multi-dimensional model that values academic rigor while also giving schools credit for growth and for taking on the challenge of serving traditionally disadvantaged students well. It provides the basis for CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal, a minimum performance standard that CCSA developed and uses as part of its advocacy efforts for charter schools seeking a renewal of their petition.

Under California law, charter school petitions are authorized for up to a five-year term, and may be renewed by the authorizer for additional five-year terms. To inform schools, authorizers and the public on school performance, CCSA publishes Academic Accountability Report Cards every fall that show the results of each charter school on the Accountability Framework and CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria. CCSA encourages authorizers to use this data in making their decision about whether to renew a school's charter.

What are CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria?

Learn more on the Framework tab.

Charter schools that meet ANY ONE of the initial filters OR demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review meet the academic threshold for CCSA's full advocacy support for renewal or replication. CCSA opposes renewal and replication for schools that perform below ALL initial filters AND that do not demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review.

Initial Filters
Three measures of state test scores and postsecondary readiness serve as "initial filters":

1) Status measure: Above 40th percentile on SBAC

  • Additionally, schools performing in the bottom 5th percentile need to participate in CCSA's Multiple Measure Review before receiving CCSA's advocacy support for renewal or replication
  • CCSA uses a weighted average of SBAC scale scores measuring how far the average student is above/below the "Met" standard and ranked 0-100th percentile statewide.

2) Growth/ Postsecondary readiness

  • Elementary/middle schools: Growth over time on SBAC
    (Will be finalized in 2016-17, we recommend looking at 2015-16 APD minus 2014-15 APD and identifying a percentile at which schools with high year-over-year growth qualify for CCSA's support)
  • High schools: 75% or more of 12th grade graduates completing all "a-g" requirements

3) Similar Students: "Within or above predicted" on either of the last two years on CCSA's Similar Students Measure (measures how schools are performing with similar students across the state)

Multiple Measure Review
Schools below ALL the initial filters or in the bottom 5% statewide on SBAC can share outcomes aligned to California's 8 state priorities as described in the school's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Schools can tell their own story of success by choosing measures most closely aligned to their mission.

Will CCSA support my school's renewal?

Charters meeting ANY initial filter OR showing academic success through the Multiple Measure Review meet the academic threshold to receive CCSA's full advocacy support for renewal or replication. CCSA opposes renewal and replication for schools that perform below ALL initial filters AND that do not demonstrate academic success through the Multiple Measure Review.

What are the next steps if my school falls below all three of the initial filters and is identified for a multiple measures review with CCSA?

CCSA is working to support schools to demonstrate and measure success through the Multiple Measure Review process by proactively outreaching to schools who are below all three of the initial filters, prioritizing those who are up for renewal soonest. Learn more about CCSA's Multiple Measure Review here or email accountability@ccsa.org.

What will CCSA's public 2016-17 Academic Accountability Report Card look like?

Updated Academic Accountability Report Cards will be published publicly in fall 2016. Preview a draft example.

How can CCSA member schools share feedback, ask questions or learn more about the Accountability Framework and Academic Accountability Report Card?
Does CCSA's Accountability Report Card fulfill charter school's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) requirements?

No, it does not. LCAPs are a state requirement intended to address all California eight state priorities as required by law. The California Department of Education provides many important data sources that will assist schools in preparing these reports. However, CCSA's Multiple Measure Review is aligned with the California eight state priorities. Schools preparing for renewal and participating in the CCSA Multiple Measure Review will likely be well prepared to present their data to make their most compelling case for renewal, and to support the creation and updating of their LCAP.


General

Why should accountability matter to the California's charter school movement and CCSA members?

The California Charter Schools Law, approved in 1992, opened the door to education reform and school choice, allowing charter schools to operate with autonomy and flexibility in exchange for increased accountability. In keeping with this covenant, California's charter schools are serious about creating significantly better learning opportunities for thousands of students than are available within the traditional public school system.

We know that we cannot have an honest discussion about education reform and increasing accountability without acknowledging the fact that while a large number of charters are performing well, too many have demonstrated an inability to meet the challenge of excellence--granted to us by law--and chronically underperform.

  • Success of our movement depends on autonomy but this small number of chronically underperforming charters endanger the legislative and policy environment for all charter schools.
  • Without higher standards, we undercut a central reason for our movement's continued growth and development.
  • Without clear standards, underperforming charter schools are inappropriately renewed and clearly successful schools are subject to unnecessary distraction, micromanagement and re-regulation at the time of renewal.
  • And importantly, if we do not define accountability for ourselves, we leave it in the hands of others less knowledgeable about charters to define what may be less appropriate standards.

Since beginning this accountability work in 2009, the goal has always been to move towards accountability based on individual student growth over time. We know that this will provide a much more accurate lens of the value that charter schools are providing to the thousands of students we serve. California's charter movement has been recognized locally, at the state-level and nationally for its leadership on accountability; we must continue to lead on this issue and as such Member Council is making several recommendations to the CCSA Board in June.

How will CCSA continuing to pursue accountability strategies for charter schools as California transitions to a new accountability system based on the Common Core?

Accountability has been a top priority for CCSA for many years. We have focused relentlessly on the pursuit of quality as a constant priority through many political shifts, legislative cycles and changes to California's school accountability systems. Every student only gets one chance at first grade or sophomore year - this work has an urgency that supersedes the impulse to wait and see. Our measures and criteria are designed to evolve as the system changes.

We are steadfast in our commitment to address chronic underperformance and take bold steps toward fulfilling the promise of charter accountability, not just in concept, not just in theory, but where the hardest decisions meet reality - the call for non-renewal.

As California defines its future accountability system, we are pressing for clear accountability measures that are consistent across the state and that prioritize strong academic outcomes for all students, particularly those most in need. We firmly believe that a school's success should be grounded in its ability to increase student academic achievement. As we update our accountability framework for the 2016-17 school year, we are advocating that the state define a small, clear set of uniform criteria aligned to the Common Core standards to assess charter performance. For schools falling below these minimum criteria, we recommend that the state engage in a review of multiple measures aligned to California's 8 state priorities.

How has Member Council been engaged with members on the issue of accountability?

In 2009, CCSA's Member Council, which consists of charter school leaders from across California, unanimously adopted an approach that called for improving academic performance criteria and addressing deficiencies in current law that make it difficult to close underperforming schools. This accountability strategy aimed to provide a clear, simple and fully transparent framework that provides all charter schools with tools to examine their individual performance, and also helps present a clear picture of the performance continuum across the entire movement. Since 2009, the Member Council and CCSA members have continued to work to refine this framework and the associated academic performance criteria.

As part of the updated accountability framework development, the Member Council has held multiple meetings (7 Council meetings and 4 working group meetings from 2014-15 to 2015-16) to discuss how CCSA could continue to work with our members and demonstrate leadership on this critical issue. In addition to many conversations with members over the year, we attended nearly all of the 33 regional meetings in Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016, allowing more than 750 participants to provide candid feedback on the package of recommendations that were being considered before they were finalized.

What is CCSA doing to support schools that are trying to improve?

CCSA has developed several support resources to help all California charter schools in the cycle of continuous improvement, particularly those schools that are at risk of being below CCSA's Minimum Academic Accountability Criteria. See the School Supports tab of this article for more details.

Is CCSA setting itself up as a regulatory agency to make renewal decisions?

Absolutely not. What we are providing is a more robust, reliable set of criteria using publicly available data to aid authorizers in making appropriate renewal decisions. Authorizers have the jurisdiction to make renewal decisions, based upon the current provisions of law, which provide guidance regarding criteria for renewal. What we have found over years of analysis and testing of the criteria, is that there are some significant shortcomings to the current provisions which make it quite difficult for districts to make sound, timely decisions at the time of a charter's renewal. Further, the way these criteria are applied is extremely uneven across the state, which has allowed for the re-authorization of charters that are chronically underperforming.

How are CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal better than what exists in current law?

As California's Academic Performance Index has been discontinued and as the California State Board of Education (SBE) considers changes to the state's accountability system, there have been questions about which criteria should apply to charter school renewal decisions. The two criteria currently in law are California Education Code §§ 47607(b) and Ed. Code §§ 52052(e)(4). Also still applicable is SB1290, which directs authorizers to consider increases in pupil academic achievement for all groups of pupils served by the charter school as the most important factor in determining whether to grant a charter renewal. The majority of the metrics cited both Ed. Code sections are based on California's API, which the State Board of Education has indicated it is unlikely to produce moving forward. The remaining criteria require alternative measures that show increases in pupil academic achievement for all groups of pupils schoolwide and among significant subgroups. However, these alternative measures are not defined. CCSA's criteria are straightforward, clear, and holistic; leveraging both public test score data along with a multiple measure review aligned to California's 8 state priorities.

What's at stake in pushing forward with accountability measures now rather than waiting?

All charter schools serving children in California must be held accountable for educating them well; and while we can debate endlessly about defining perfect measures--under which circumstances and impacting which schools--we know we cannot wait. The time to act is now - because our children require the urgency of our deliberate response. By having a clear and honest analysis, charter schools can learn from the best, and we can take a closer look at the schools that are not delivering results to their students and families. We cannot have an honest discussion about education reform and increasing accountability without closing the charters that are chronically underperforming.

Why is CCSA creating its own accountability framework when the state is still developing one?

The State Board of Education (SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) are working towards adopting a final LCAP template and LCFF evaluation rubric in September 2016 for use beginning in the 2017-18 school year. Under the federal ESSA accountability system, schools will be identified in 2017-18 for intervention beginning in 2018-19. The SBE has signaled its desire to embed ESSA criteria in its state accountability framework to avoid having two separate systems.

In materials describing this emerging system, CDE, West Ed and SBE staff emphasize that they seek to develop an accountability system that examines multiple measures and improvement on those measures. The goal is a dashboard of multiple criteria to provide a holistic assessment of schools' performance and to determine when schools and districts require initial assistance or more extensive intervention. The concern for renewing charter schools is that multiple measures will quickly become a complex web of metrics that may both trip up high performing charter schools or provide justification for continuing to renew chronically underperforming charter schools. Already we see indicators that the number of measures on which schools will be assessed - statewide and for all subgroups - is growing exponentially.

Given this state context, CCSA's ongoing, proactive stance on accountability is crucial to ensure that charter schools are evaluated with straightforward, clear, fair, outcome-based measures that prioritize academic outcomes for students. We are already seeing instances across the state in which districts are choosing unreasonably and arbitrarily high or low standards for charter school renewal. That said, as the state builds its accountability system and there are opportunities for alignment, CCSA staff will adjust its Framework to ensure as much alignment with state and federal accountability efforts as possible.


Public Call for Non-Renewal

Why does CCSA publicly call for the non-renewal of charter schools below minimum criteria?

Since 2011, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has annually called for the non-renewal of charter schools that are below CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal. This public call for non-renewal represents a significant step towards advancing accountability and fulfilling our collective promise of quality education for children across the state. The Charter Schools Act approved in California in 1992 opened the door to education reform and school choice, allowing charter schools to operate with autonomy and flexibility in exchange for higher accountability.

CCSA developed an Accountability Framework to guide this work in 2009, working closely with over 20 technical experts and researchers and CCSA's Member Council, which consists of charter school leaders representing every region of California and diverse school types. The CCSA Accountability Framework guides CCSA's efforts to raise accountability standards in a way that values academic rigor while also giving schools credit for growth and for taking on the challenge of serving traditionally disadvantaged students well. The Framework is the basis of CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal, a minimum performance standard that CCSA developed and uses as part of its advocacy efforts for charter schools seeking a renewal of their petition.

How does charter renewal work?

Anyone who wants to open a new charter school writes a charter petition, a detailed plan for how they'll run the school. Under California law, charter school petitions are authorized for up to a five-year term, and may be renewed by the authorizer for five more years. The authorizer is usually the local school district - some charter schools are authorized by their county office of education or the State Board of Education. California state law directs local authorizers to use academic criteria as the single most important factor in considering whether to grant a charter renewal (Ed. Code §§ 47607(a)(3)(A)). To inform schools, authorizers and the public on school performance, every fall, CCSA publishes Academic Accountability Report Cards that show the results of every charter school on the Accountability Framework and CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal. CCSA encourages authorizers to use this data in making their decisions about whether to renew a school's petition. We also publicly call for the non-renewal of schools below CCSA's Minimum Criteria for Renewal.

What is the scale of the problem? How many schools are likely to be closed as a result of the accountability initiative?

Only the schools that have consistently failed to meet academic and growth targets and that are up for renewal are the subject of CCSA's public call for non-renewal. Only authorizers have the authority to decide not to renew a charter school's petition. Learn more about PCNR 2011-2015.

Does CCSA's accountability initiative hurt charter schools that are not in renewal by labeling them 'underperforming'?

We do not publish Accountability Report Cards publicly for schools below CCSA Criteria until schools have had an opportunity to correct potential demographic data errors (like all other schools) and/or work with us to identify individual student level longitudinal analysis that may be even more precise than our Similar Students Measure (SSM). Schools that do not meet CCSA's minimum criteria but are not in renewal should take this information as an early warning tool that can help them identify new strategies to address not just their renewal in the upcoming years, but also assess how long they have and how far they have to go to meet criteria, to ensure the full support of CCSA. This early warning system should inspire vigorous deliberation at the school site about how best to accelerate performance before renewal.

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