A state senate committee in Utah has unanimously approved a bill to allow colleges and universities to charter schools.
Several states in the nation allow universities to charter K-12 public schools. Many years ago there was a similar bill in the Colorado legislature, sponsored by then-Senator John Evans. But the bill died an early death and even though several Colorado charter schools have partnerships with institutions of higher education, universities cannot charter schools. Partnerships are especially popular with early college charter schools such as Colorado Springs Early College and Early College HS of Arvada.
Utah already permits school districts and a state charter board to authorize charter schools. Allowing universities to do the same only makes sense. It's especially relevant for universities that produce teachers and that would be natural connections for student teachers.
Many teaching colleges created "laboratory" schools to complement their teacher preparation programs. The university in Greeley opened the University School on the campus of the University of Northern Colorado in the early 1900s for this very reason. After a hundred years of operating as a lab school, the school converted to a charter school and still operates in Greeley, although it's no longer located on campus.
Some of the best charter school authorizers in the nation are universities. The Central Michigan University Charter School Office is considered one such leader. Led by Jim Goenner, CMU has focused on high quality charter schools. Jim is one of the original founders of the National Alliance for Charter School Authorizers.