State Board Launches New Charter School Authorizer Evaluation Process

Monday, February 07, 2022 | 11:15am

February 7, 2022

CONTACT: Elizabeth Tullos
(615) 961-3382

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — During its February quarterly meeting last week, the State Board of Education released its first set of charter school authorizer evaluations, which ensure the effective operation of all authorizers and evaluate authorizer quality.

The State Board was charged with conducting periodic charter school authorizer evaluations by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2019 legislative session. Under the statutory requirement, the State Board developed an evaluation system based on its Quality Charter Authorizing Standards Policy. As of 2022, Tennessee is only the fourth state to adopt an authorizer evaluation process.

“The Board believes that quality authorizing leads to quality charter schools and increased opportunities for our students, which is the ultimate goal of the authorizer evaluations,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “This new evaluation process gives authorizers valuable feedback that can increase the oversight and support to their charter schools.”

Each charter school authorizer evaluation begins with the formation of an evaluation team and an examination of the authorizer’s performance based on the Board’s Quality Charter Authorizing Standards rubric. At the conclusion of the evaluation, authorizers receive a final report detailing specific feedback, scores on the rubric’s 24 standards, an overall rating, and follow-up actions. Authorizers can earn an overall rating on a scale from zero to four, with score ranges indicating unsatisfactory/incomplete, approaching satisfactory, satisfactory, commendable, and exemplary designations.

Prior to launching the new charter authorizer evaluation process, the State Board of Education collected feedback from charter school operators, authorizers, and stakeholders and convened a task force to help develop the evaluation process. In 2020, the Board conducted a voluntary pilot evaluation to collect feedback on the process and further refine its evaluation practices.

Tennessee’s charter authorizer evaluation cycle is conducted over a two-year period. The 2021 evaluation cohort included Knox County Schools, Hamilton County Schools, and Shelby County Schools. Evaluations for Tennessee’s remaining authorizers — the Achievement School District, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission — will begin in fall 2022.

Additional information, including the charter authorizer evaluation reports, is available on the State Board of Education website.