Alex Quigley Perspective: For Charters, ‘Slow and Steady Wins the Race’

By April 30, 2024 News
Alex Quigley, a member of the Charter Schools Review Board and the executive director of Durham Charter School, has a new EdNC editorial out on the charter authorization process. Alex co-authored the article with David Griffith of the Fordham Institute. You may recall that Fordham recently released a report evaluating North Carolina’s charter authorization decisions and later charter school outcomes. Read more about that report in an earlier Coalition blog post.

Alex Quigley is the executive director of Durham Charter School and a member of the Charter Schools Review Board. Photo credit: Alex Quigley.

Here’s an excerpt from Alex’s piece:

North Carolina’s charter school movement is at a crossroads.

The recent passage of House Bill 618 gave the newly constituted Charter School Review Board (CSRB), the state’s only charter school “authorizer,” the authority to create new schools without the approval of the State Board of Education — a move that could lead to even more new schools in the years to come.

Now, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute has released a study that looked at the old CSRB’s track record between 2011 (when North Carolina’s charter school cap was lifted) and 2019 (when the COVID-19 pandemic struck) in an effort to understand how the authorization process that defined the last era of charter school growth might be improved.

The evidence

As the study notes, research from other states suggests that charters tend to improve over time, and that some low-performing schools are likely to close. Consequently, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions [about] potential based on initial performance.

Fortunately, because North Carolina does an unusually good job of tracking school performance — despite the disruption associated with the pandemic — it’s possible to see how the performance of recently established charter schools has changed over time.

See our Summer 2023 Q&A with Alex.

Read the rest of the article on EdNC.