Charter school leaders are typically entrepeneurial in nature and think outside the box. That also means sometimes charter school leaders make mistakes. Since it's human nature to make mistakes, I think the primary focus should be on how the charter school community or the charter school and authorizer's relationship corrects mistakes.
For years, in the discussion amongst charter school leaders in Colorado, there's been agreement that we should "police our own." Since all charter schools look bad when one charter school is in the media for a mistake that's been made, it behooves state leadership to meet these issues head-on.
When the League of Charter Schools released their quality standards, it generated a discussion about in what type of situation state leaders should intervene. Questions arose, such as:
* When is it the authorizer's responsibility to step in?
* What types of actions or incidents cross the line?
* Who should address the offenders? Can it be done in a manner that would produce supportive resolution?
* After addressing the wrongs, what responsibility does the cadre of state leaders have to assist the school in rebuilding and changing?
* When is a charter school worthy of saving or when should it simply be closed down?
Charter schools are a free market system, which means some will succeed and some will fail. Moreover, some schools will have leaders for a short period of time that make a mess of things. The good schools, when faced with a problem, self-correct and can end up in a better position. More of a problem is the schools that refuse to address their mistakes and try to ignore them or more often, affix blame somewhere other than with themselves.
For a host of reasons, many charter schools in Colorado have made mistakes -- some big, some small. The school leaders who gain my respect admit their mistakes, fix them, and move on. School leaders who refuse to acknowledge a mistake, typically have more issues than what's been reported in the media.