What are the standards for public charter schools? 

When we talk about charter schools, we often get questions about accountability. This article aims to clear up any confusion about how charter schools are held to high standards of accountability that meet or even exceed the level of accountability for traditional public schools.  

In Indianapolis, charter schools experience three levels of accountability:  

  1. Nonprofit Board – A nonprofit board governs every Indianapolis charter school, providing governance and oversight. These boards include diverse, local community members and professionals who each bring a specific expertise, in areas like finance, operations, legal, academics, or community engagement.  
  2. Charter Authorizer – In order to operate as a public school, Indianapolis charter schools must receive authorization from a formal body. The Indianapolis Mayor’s Office authorizes most Indianapolis charter schools. Indianapolis is actually the first state in the country to give the mayor, a democratically elected official, authorizing power over charter schools. The Indianapolis Mayor’s Office oversees the academics, finances, and operations of mayor-sponsored public charter schools that educate about 18,000 students across the city. If a school’s authorizer determines the school is failing to meet expectations, it can revoke their charter which means the school can no longer operate.  
  3. Indiana Department of Education – The third layer of accountability for public charter schools is the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). If a charter school is not advancing student achievement, the IDOE has the power to intervene.