Virtual Charter School Accountability: What We Can Do Now

The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC), in collaboration with the National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), has developed a tool for authorizers and states to provide more effective oversight of virtual charter schools. Virtual charter schools educate about 180,000 students in 23 states (7 percent of charter school enrollment), and many states and authorizers are struggling with the question of how to hold virtual charter schools accountable for their outcomes.

This paper gives state education agencies and authorizers the tools and perspectives needed to provide better-informed and more effective oversight right now. It offers practical guidance to change the conversation going forward. Authorizers can establish clear communication with virtual charter schools about how their performance will be documented and measured before a charter is granted. Clarity regarding outcomes can improve the renewal process, and help authorizers better ensure these schools are living up to their promises to students and families.

The NCSRC and NACSA produced this paper in consultation with a working group of state education agency officials and charter authorizers with extensive experience in the virtual sector.

This resource includes a full paper and a shorter primer that highlights key findings from the research. Each can be accessed by clicking the "Download resource" icons above.