At least in Arizona, state-level oversight of the 500+ charter schools has bordered on non-existent since their inception 15 years ago. Just recently the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools has taken a look at the nearly 400 charter school operators in the state--well, not all of them, in fact, at only 78 of them in the past two years. And what did they find? Of the 78 charter school operators reviewed, 27 (35%) were put on probation and 4 were denied renewed contracts.
Consider one such EMO. The Leona Group, LLC, moved its corporate offices from Michigan to Arizona some 12 years ago. Leona operates 22 charter schools in Arizona. Of these 22 schools, exactly half made AYP (Academic Yearly Progress) under NCLB in the 2010-2011 school year.
When a charter school in Arizona fails (i.e., shuts down--as many have--or is denied a renewal of its contract) certain political interests celebrate the occasion as the working of the market place, and do not hesitate to suggest that by implication the charter schools that continue to exist--having survived the Darwinian challenge--must be excellent.
Gene V Glass
University of Colorado Boulder
Arizona State University