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In a commentary included in Education Week's 15-year retrospective on standards-based systemic reform, one of the authors of that strategy noted: It made no place for innovation. Mike Smith affirms the need for an element of innovation, and looked to the charter sector to provide that.

Under NCLB school quality is indicated by the percentage of students that tests reveal as proficient in various subject areas at a given time. School improvement is the rate at which this percentage increases. The problem is that equating percentage-proficient with school quality cannot withstand serious scientific scrutiny.

A guide for charter school authorizing, from the decision to authorize through contract development. It covers how to assist and oversee the school, and clarifies the relationship to and duties of the state department of education, the sponsor and the board of the chartered school. It also explains the 'Sponsor-Initiated School,' whereby an authorizer actively solicits new school proposals.

Since the late 1990s, there’s been growing discussion about the sponsor’s role – in the ongoing oversight as well as in its initial approval. This paper explores whether sponsors might also play an active role in soliciting proposals.

The current national strategy assumes the problem is a 'performance' problem, and looked to a new framework of accountability to get the current system and schools to do-better. But it might be that the problem is a 'design' problem and that both the institution and the traditional concept of 'school' need fundamental change.