Standalone or single-site charter schools are essential to achieving a responsive mix of school options for families. Increasingly, however, single-site schools appear to suffer a higher burden of proof to justify their existence, relative to CMOs, and there might be “preferences” baked into the charter-authorizing process that keep standalone charter schools from getting approved. A recent Fordham report found that only 21 percent of applicants who did not plan to hire a CMO or an EMO to run their school had their charters approved, compared to 31 percent of applicants who did have such plans. This finding could very well indicate a bias toward CMO or EMO applicants over those who wish to start standalone schools. Read “Strengthening the Roots of the Charter-School Movement” by Derrell Bradford, which will appear in our Summer 2018 issue, to learn more about the challenges that single-site charter schools face—and how their independent operators might overcome them.

—Education Next

Last updated April 18, 2018