SEA Webinar: The State Role in Supporting Charter Innovation


Facilitator: Alex Medler,Senior Director, National Charter Schools Resource Center


  • Nora Flood, Walton Family Foundation
  • Jordan Posamentier, Center on Reinventing Public Education
  • Andy Smarick, American Enterprise Institute

Description: Thought leaders and charter supporters engaged in a conversation on what role the state could, or should, take to promote innovation by charter schools. The current debate focuses on whether the charter sector has become too dominated by a limited set of approaches to teaching and learning or too much growth in urban settings and too few schools in other geographic settings. 

People are looking for ways to increase innovation and for opportunities to remove barriers to innovation. In addition to shifting philanthropic priorities, those promoting greater innovation have identified potential obstacles in state accountability systems and the administration of various programs, including the funding of the Charter Schools Program (CSP).

In this interactive webinar, a panel of thought leaders representing foundations, researchers, authorizers, and former state education agency (SEA) officials shared their thoughts on the state role in supporting charter innovation. They explored the need for innovation as well as opportunities to support innovation or reduce state-level barriers to innovation through various tools, practices, and ideas. Along with a focus on removing obstacles to foster innovation, the webinar addressed designing activities through the CSP grant or broadly through the SEA to provide incentives for innovation.

Following a panel discussion, the audience joined a broad conversation on the topic. Participants had the opportunity to discuss these issues with the presenters and their peers in a closing Q&A portion.