Autonomy for Accountability Bargain
Charter schools in New York trade greater autonomy over how to operate schools in exchange for greater accountability for academic outcomes. The expectation of the Institute and the State University of New York Board of Trustees is that most if not all of the students will leave SUNY authorized charter schools fully prepared and educated for their next step whether that is middle school, high school, or college and beyond.
The single most important factor the SUNY Trustees consider in making the determination to extend the contract of a school for another term is the school’s record in generating successful student achievement outcomes.
In order to determine whether a school met that high standard, each SUNY charter school is required to enter into a performance agreement, known as the Accountability Plan, which becomes part of the school’s charter.
Purpose of the Accountability Plan
The Accountability Plan lays out the specific student achievement goals that a school agrees to meet and the specific measures that define what constitutes meeting these goals. These plans establish a common set of goals and outcome measures that represent expectations the SUNY Trustees hold for student learning and achievement. Progress in meeting the Accountability Plan is used in evaluating whether a school receives approval to continue operating, see more information about Renewal.
Charter schools, like all public schools, are evaluated using the school’s performance on New York State exams. Goals and measures for performance in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies are established. Schools may also choose to include in their Accountability Plan optional academic, as well as organizational or other non-academic goals and measures.
The initial Accountability Plan is finalized during a school’s first year of operation and covers the initial “Accountability Period,” the first four years of its charter term. At the end of the term, schools develop a new Accountability Plan as part of their application for renewal.