The Charter Blog

Polls Find Demand for Charter Schools Continues to Exceed Supply

EdChoice just released its latest survey on K-12 education, parent experiences, and school choice and one thing is clear – parent demand for charter schools continues to exceed the supply. According to this survey, if they could select any type of school, 16 percent of parents would select a charter school in order to obtain the best education for their child. (Bear in mind, that just six percent of public school students currently attend a charter school.) Of course, there are plenty of other interesting takeaways from this survey, but this is the one that catches my eye.

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Posted in Research

Key Findings from CREDO’s CMO Study

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:

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Posted in Research, CMO, CREDO

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

How Charter Schools are Staffing to Meet Student Needs

Today the National Center for Education Statistics released a First Look at the characteristics of public schools in the U.S. using data gathered by the 2015-16 National Teachers and Principal Survey. This is a nationally representative survey that includes samples for both public charter and traditional public schools. And, like the two previous releases of data from this survey, the results suggest that charter schools and traditional public schools serve similar percentages of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (50 percent) and students with disabilities (10 percent vs. 12 percent for charter schools and traditional public schools, respectively). Further, nearly every public school (99 percent), both charter and traditional, serves at least one student with an individualized education plan (IEP), while about three-quarters (72 percent for charter schools and 77 percent for traditional public schools) serve at least one student who is an English language learner.

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Posted in Research

Good Data and Diverse Analysts: Necessities Within Education

Despite the many debates occurring within the education space, everyone can agree that students should come first. Within data work, putting students first means performing comprehensive, unbiased, and detailed analyses of data to understand how schools impact their students. Some of the most important factors to do this research include accessing the best data possible, making logical comparisons at the proper level, and having diverse data and research teams.

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Posted in Research

A First Look at Public School Leaders

The National Center for Education Statistics released a First Look at the data in 2015-16 National Teacher and Principals Survey (NTPS) and there are some interesting numbers in there. Because the tables break out principals in traditional public schools and principals in charter schools, they provide a chance to see where these leaders are similar and where they’re different.

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Posted in Research

New York City Charter Schools Lift Scores in Nearby Traditional Public Schools

A new publication released by Temple University analyzes the spillover effects of public charter schools in New York City neighborhoods. The report by Sarah Cordes, titled “In Pursuit of the Common Good: The Spillover Effects of Charter Schools on Public School Students in New York City,” finds evidence that the closer a public charter is to a traditional public school, the higher traditional public school students will score on Math and Language Arts assessments. Cordes is one of the first researchers to tackle how charter schools’ proximity affects academic performance of neighboring traditional public schools, with special consideration given to traditional and charter public schools located in the same building. Charter schools can benefit financially from co-locating with traditional public schools, as it can help alleviate certain facilities, maintenance, and upkeep costs. Cordes wanted to discover whether these blended-style buildings had a symbiotic relationship, or ultimately proved detrimental to students due to resource constraints.

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Posted in Research

The FERPA Fear Factor

Good researchers need good data. The National Alliance releases reports on charter school enrollment share and estimated charter school enrollment every year, and we depend on our state partners to collect and release necessary data so we can give appropriate policy recommendations.

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Posted in Research, FERPA

Charter Schools Can Help Renew America’s Cities

One thing is clear, today’s parents want, and expect, to choose their child’s public school. As this expectation has emerged and solidified in the last couple of decades with the availability of charter schools, a body of research has grown around the impact that a parent’s choice has on their student’s academic performance. Improving school outcomes for students is the obvious rationale for implementing education policy. However, policies can have unintended consequences and research is increasingly being done on the impact of parental choice in public education on communities.

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Posted in Research