Response to Report, "Charter School Black Hole"

October 21, 2015

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CCSA provided the following statement in response to a report by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), "Charter School Black Hole" released on October 21, 2015.

Accountability is a defining issue that separates California's charter schools from other public schools -- not because charters lack accountability, but because they are held to tougher accountability standards.

While following the same state and federal laws as other public schools, charter public schools must also:

  • Petition their authorizers for approval to operate;
  • Provide quarterly, semi-annual and annual financial reports (annual independent audit) to their authorizers;
  • Provide detailed reports to any state or federal agency from which they receive a grant;
  • And if they are operated by a 501c3 nonprofit, they must follow federal incorporation laws, provide financial and operational information to the IRS, and make that information publicly available. 

Academically, while being expected to meet the same exact state and federal standards as traditional schools, charters must go above and beyond. Every five years at renewal, charters must prove that they meet established academic performance criteria. If they fail to do so, their authorizer is legally entitled and obliged to deny renewal of the charter and close the school.

CCSA also believes that charter schools should be held to high standards of performance and when they do not perform, we advocate for their non-renewal. Closing chronically underperforming charter schools is one of the strongest tools available to ensure quality in California's charter school sector.

It is true. Charter schools close for a variety of reasons. Rather than being seen as a problem, charter school closures should be viewed as an indication of a healthy public school system committed to meeting parent demand for high quality school choice options, and providing the transparency and accountability that parents and the general public wish to see in place for all public schools.

Additional Information

CCSA has had to respond to similar reports on multiple occasions that were simply inaccurate, rehash old allegations and fail to recognize progress in the charter school movement. Read our responses here:

For more information on how California's charter schools are held accountable, visit: /understanding/faqs/#funding.

Read the statement from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

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