This summer, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released their latest report on charter school networks and management organizations. CREDO’s study utilizes student-level data from 25 states and Washington D.C. to determine the average rate of math and reading growth for 240 Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) and 54 Vendor Operated School Networks (VOS Networks) between 2012-13 and 2014-15. CREDO classifies CMOs as organizations that directly operate and hold the charter contracts of at least three charter schools. In contrast, VOS Networks oversee at least three charter schools but they do not directly hold the charter contract for the schools. Instead, VOS Networks provide services to the charter schools that range from administrative support to full operation of the school. CREDO then looked at the performance of CMOs, VOS Networks, and independent charter schools (standalone schools that are not affiliated with a management organization or network). Across these three groups CREDO found that:
When I first started my career with the KIPP Foundation, in 2003, charter schools were few and far between, and CMOs were a nascent concept. As we sought new communities to serve, there was little on-the-ground fanfare, and virtually no policymaker involvement in the process, aside from passing the original legislation that allowed charters to operate.