CCSA Responds to CREDO's Online Charter Schools Report

October 27, 2015

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CCSA provided the following statement in response to CREDO's 2015 report about online charter public schools.

CCSA is discouraged to learn of the underperformance of full-time online charter public schools, according to a report released today by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). This report represents one of the most in-depth examinations of this school model to date.

At CCSA, we are actively working with parents, teachers and community leaders to create significantly better learning opportunities for students and their families. That means not only supporting the growth of high-performing schools, but also shining a light on those charter schools that are not best serving students.

While online charter schools serve only a small proportion of charter school students nationally (6%) and in California (4%), we believe that all charter schools should be held to high standards of accountability. And when charter schools do not meet the needs of students, based on our own extensive accountability framework and multiple-measure review, we advocate that authorizers do not renew (close) chronically underperforming charter schools. We know that closing low-performing charter schools is one of the strongest tools available to ensure quality in California's charter school sector. In doing so, California's charter school movement reaffirms its commitment to the transparency and accountability parents and the general public wish to see in place for all public schools.

Given this documented performance and the existing role of charter school authorizers in the state of California, we would encourage authorizers to hold clear, consistent and robust minimum performance expectations for all schools in renewal, including online charter schools. Like all schools, online charter schools should succeed on behalf of children or they should close.

It is important to note that this research only addresses full-time online charter schools and does not assess the performance of other charter public school models, including blended-learning programs (many of which are classroom-based). Specifically under the nonclassroom-based legal classification of schools, there are many different education delivery models including a small number of 100% online schools but also including personalized learning schools, homeschooling programs, traditional independent study programs, and hybrid programs. Many of these models are proving to be effective in raising student achievement and innovation.

CCSA works to ensure that California's charter schools deliver on their promise to students and families. Charter schools operate with greater autonomy and flexibility in exchange for increased accountability.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at