Charter schools have a particular interest in this Friday’s deadline to upload local indicator data to the California School Dashboard. Missing the deadline for two consecutive years is one of the ways that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are identified as “eligible for differentiated assistance,” part of the state’s school accountability framework. Charter schools identified as “eligible for differentiated assistance” cannot renew using the most advantageous of the four sets of charter renewal standards: the “safe” renewal track that minimizes burden and risk and allows a renewal term of five to seven years.
Charter schools aiming for safe, expedited renewal should also carefully attend to the other path to identification for differentiated assistance. Local Control Funding Formula legislation established Dashboard-based criteria to identify LEAs as eligible to receive targeted support. In addition to the local indicator-based criterion, identification is based on student group performance using Dashboard colors. 2019 legislation greatly expanded the criteria for charter schools, to the following:
- In two or more years,
- for at least one student group
- in at least two priority areas on the Dashboard, the charter school receives
State-level discussions emphasize the supportive nature of differentiated assistance, but for charter schools, identification comes with significant possible negative consequences. In addition to closing off the optimal renewal path, a persistent failure to improve student group outcomes can ultimately become the basis for revocation.
Charter schools may want to monitor Dashboard student group performance to avoid any student group receiving colors indicated above in two or more priority areas, particularly if that may occur in a second consecutive year.