The Minnesota Authorizer Performance Evaluation System (MAPES) is aligned with Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.10, Subdivision 3(h), “The commissioner shall review an authorizer’s performance every five years in a manner and form determined by the commissioner and may review an authorizer’s performance more frequently at the commissioner’s own initiative or at the request of a charter school operator, charter school board member, or other interested party. The commissioner, after completing the review, shall transmit a report with findings to the authorizer.”
An authorizer is a public oversight entity approved by the state to authorize one or more charter schools. An authorizer’s fundamental role is to hold a school accountable for the terms of its performance contract – the “charter.” The primary purpose of Minnesota charters schools is to improve all pupil learning and all student achievement (Minn. Stat. § 124D.10, Subd. 1(a)). Through effective oversight, authorizers hold charter schools accountable for realizing this purpose.
Minnesota authorizers may be public schools, charitable non-profit organizations or institutions of higher education approved by the state to charter schools. Authorizer responsibilities include approving, monitoring, evaluating, renewing, and, if necessary, closing charter schools when contract terms are not met.
MAPES was established to review authorizers’ performance as required by statute, and to identify high-quality authorizing practices to promote authorizer excellence in Minnesota. MAPES objectives include:
- Setting clear expectations between authorizers and MDE regarding authorizing performance.
- Ensuring authorizer accountability and the fulfillment of the approved authorizer application.
- Promoting high-quality charter schools and authorizer excellence.
- Promoting national principles and standards for quality charter school authorizing.
- Evaluating authorizer performance through a lens of continuous improvement.
The development of MAPES was funded in part by an implementation grant from the National Association of Charter School Authorizer’s (NACSA) Fund for Authorizer Excellence. Through this grant, TeamWorks International was selected as the contractor to help MDE develop the initial plan and performance measures.
Performance ratings and reports for the first group of approved authorizers will be published in summer 2015. This system is just one aspect of the comprehensive relationship MDE has with charter school authorizers in the state.