In the mid-2000s, state-level associations created to serve, improve, and defend charter schools were beginning to become very savvy and active in many parts of the country. A group of donors decide it would be helpful to school reformers, politicians, and families if a national association were created to serve as a clearinghouse of authoritative information, source of institutional guidance and assistance, and public spokesman. The Fisher, Walton, Annie Casey, and Gates foundations joined together to launch the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “If we don’t have a major national program, the work of funders and grantees will be whittled away,” explained donor Don Fisher.“Most Americans will never even be clear what a charter school is.”
Today the NAPCS is a highly effective organization. It publishes the definitive statistics on charter-school numbers, policies, and performance. It maintains an up-to-date database of all of the charter-school laws now in effect. It researches the field and publishes regular reports on technical and operational topics. It holds national conferences. The alliance represents the interests of charter schools in the nation’s capital, in the states, in courtrooms, and in the media. It does these things with annual funding from about ten large philanthropies.
- Data dashboard of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home