The Charter Blog

Kevin Hesla

Recent Posts

Top 5 Facilities Struggles for Charter Schools

Phi Delta Kappan (PDK) recently found that 17 percent of parents would choose a public charter school for their child if location and capacity were not an issue. And just last month, EdChoice found that 16 percent of parents would like to send their child to a public charter school—which is up nine percentage points since 2013. Together, these two surveys indicate that the potential number of charter school students in the U.S. is between 8 and 8.5 million. In 2016-17, there were just over 3 million charter school students. This means that the potential size of the charter school sector—based on current parent demand—is almost three times larger than what it is today. In order to satisfy this demand, the sector would need to open, and find suitable homes for, thousands of charter schools over the next 5 to 10 years.

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Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools

David Griffith, Senior Research and Policy Associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, has released a new study that analyzes teacher absenteeism in public schools amidst renewed interest in this public policy issue as states formulate and submit their new ESSA accountability plans. Many states plan on using chronic student absenteeism as a measure of school quality—but what (this study asks) about chronic teacher absenteeism? Previous studies by R. Miller et al. (2007), C. Clotfelter et al. (2007), and M. Herrmann and J. Rockoff (2010) examined the relationship between teacher absenteeism and student achievement and found a strong connection between the two. In fact, there appears to be a one-to-one relationship: a ten-day increase in teacher absence results in at least a ten-day learning loss for students. Griffith’s research adds to this body of work by answering three primary questions:

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Posted in Research, Teachers, ESSA, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, unions

School Closures Are Just One Part of Building a Better Public School System

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University released their new study on public school closures titled “Lights Off: Practice and Impact of Closing Low-Performing Schools.” Utilizing student-level data from 26 states, CREDO looked at the performance of schools before they closed and the impact on displaced students after their school closed. Between 2006-07 and 2012-13, CREDO identified 1,522 low-performing, full-time, and non-alternative public schools that closed—of which 1,204 where district schools and 318 were charter schools. Schools were labeled as low-performing if their average math and reading scores were in the bottom 20 percent of their state distribution.

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Posted in Research

Chicago Charter Schools Are Bridging the City’s College Divide

A college degree matters more than ever in today’s economy, and bridging the gap in college enrollment isn’t just an equity issue—it’s also an economic development issue. According to a recent report from Georgetown University, virtually all of the 11.6 million new jobs that have been created since the great recession have gone to workers with at least some college education and 72 percent of these jobs went to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree. Rapid economic change has also had a dramatic impact on the American workforce. For the first time, the report found that college graduates made up the largest portion of the workforce at 36 percent. Workers with at least some college education made up 34 percent of the workforce and those with a high school diploma or less made up just 30 percent. 

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Posted in Research, college prep, Chicago

Ohio Charter Schools Face Major Facilities Challenges

During the 2014-15 school year, the National Charter School Resource Center, the Colorado League of Charter Schools (the League), the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools collaborated to collect data and information about charter school facilities and facilities expenditures in the state of Ohio. A recently released report, An Analysis of the Charter School Facilities Landscape in Ohio, summarizes this important research. The data collection in Ohio was supported by the Charter School Facilities Initiative (CSFI), which is a national project developed by the League to research charter school facilities and facilities expenditures across the country.

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Posted in Research

Different by Design: A Review of Three Papers by Nat Malkus

Over the past six months, Nat Malkus from the American Enterprise Institute published a series of three papers that compare charter public schools with district public schools by looking at differences in their demographics, proficiency rates, and suspension rates: Differences on Balance, Unlike Their Neighbors, and Differences by Design. Malkus’ work is the first of its kind to study this issue at a national level and in a balanced and systematic way. Further, his analyses reveal “important patterns of differences” between charter and district public schools.

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