BRIEF - Charter School Authorizers and Student Achievement: A Case Study of Ohio

January 2011

This one-page brief summarizes a new working paper by Ron Zimmer, Brian Gill, and Kaitlin Obenauf that examines the variation in charter school performance in one state to assess one of the key levers of charter school policy: the decision about which types of organizations may authorize charter schools. The authors use individual student-level data from Ohio—a state that allows a wide range of agencies, including nonprofit organizations, local school boards, education service centers, and state universities, to be authorizers—to examine the effectiveness of various authorizer types.

The analysis suggest that policymakers seeking to promote the growth of the charter sector while simultaneously ensuring high quality may do better, at least in Ohio, to promote high-quality authorizing practices rather than focusing on authorizer type.