Call/text: (617) 682-9697 | e: [email protected] | f: 617-391-3067
Resolved: On balance, charter schools are beneficial to the quality of education in the United States (Bibliography)

Resolved: On balance, charter schools are beneficial to the quality of education in the United States (Bibliography)

Background 

What are charter schools? (2018). This article explains the basics of charter schools and reviews all of the main pro and con studies.

Everything you need to know about charter schools (2014)

Just what is a charter school, anyway? (2017)

The Debate

The battle over charter schools (2017). This article discusses some of the pros and cons of charger schools. If there is any conclusion, it is probably that the quality varies based on different states and different state regulations.

Segregation, Race, and Charter Schools: What do We Know (2016). This long study discusses the impact of charter schools on segregation. It concludes that charter schools tend to be more segregated because they accept more poor minority students. The study concludes that socioeconomic status is a stronger driver of academic performance in the charter schools than the segregation itself.

Do charter schools increase socioeconomic segregation? (2019). This Seattle Times article discusses new research that claims that charter schools increase socioeconomic segregation.

Questions of race and charter schools divide education reformers (2016). This is a very general discussion of the pros and cons of charter schools, with interviews of some of the key advocates on both sides. The article is not useful for finding a lot of good evidence but it is a good introduction to the issue.

Charter Schools vs. Traditional Public Schools: Which One is Under-Performing? (2019) This article reviews the various pros and cons of charter schools:

Unfortunately, since charter schools have only been in existence in the United States since the 1990s, it may be too soon to tell whether or not these institutions are fairly, justly, and effectively providing students with more rigorous challenges and opportunities than their public school counterparts. Ultimately, the conflicting data from research demonstrates that wide variability is found in the quality of education and the performance of children at both charter and public schools. Thus, the debate about which school is better rages on.

Do Charter School Students Achieve Greater Educational Outcomes? (2018).

Charter schools continue to be a hotly debated topic in the world of education, with educators and administrators tending to be either strongly for, or strongly against, the charter school movement. No matter if you are pro-charter school or anti-charter school, there are many facts and figures that seem to support both sides of this movement. There are 43 different states with charter schools (plus the District of Columbia), and just like traditional public schools, their performance depends largely on a number of various factors that include the model of education, implementation of that model, teacher engagement, student engagement, school safety environment, and academic rigor

Do charter schools lift all boats? Here’s what the latest research tells us (2019). This is a general review of Pro and Con studies.

Pro

Academic Achievement

Charter Schools and the achievement gap (2018). The best estimates find that attending a charter school has no impact compared to attending a traditional public school. That might surprise you if you were expecting negative or positive impacts based on the political debate around charter schools. But using both lottery-based and observational estimates of charter school effectiveness in samples that include a diverse group of charter schools, the evidence shows, on average, no difference between students who attend a charter and those who attend a traditional public school. However, much of the same research also finds that a subset of charter schools has significant positive impacts on student outcomes. These are typically urban charter schools serving minority and lowincome students that use a no excuses curriculum. When estimates for these highly effective schools aren’t separated from the broader group of charter schools, mostly those in suburbs and rural areas, differences between charter and traditional public schools average out to zero.

Are charter schools working? A Review of the evidence. Second, charter schools represent an increasingly important form of school choice across the country. Indeed, in the three years since Betts and Tang’s 2011 review of the research, two states enacted new charter laws (Maine in 2011 and Washington in 2012), nearly 1,200 new charter schools opened up across the nation, and charter school enrollment grew by an estimated 42 percent.3 With growth of this scale, in addition to asking whether charter school students benefit academically, it is worth asking whether the impact of charter schools on achievement has changed over time. In their latest working paper, Betts and Tang systematically review the literature on student achievement in charter schools. This analysis provides a useful update to their 2008 and 2011 reviews by including a dozen new papers that have been written since 2011 and which include many more effect sizes. The authors also consider whether the charter school sector has grown more or less effective over the past three years, finding that the effect sizes for math have increased and the effect sizes for reading have stayed roughly the same since the time of their prior study three years ago. Based on the findings, and even in light of the variation in results, there is reason to believe that charter schools constitute an important and effective policy tool for raising student achievement—particularly in math.

The progressive case for charter schools (2019).. This article identifies four ways charter schools support progressive values.

Five Reasons Why Independent Charters Outperform In-District Autonomous Schools (2018). This article identifies five reasons that charter schools are superior to regular schools.

Study shows charter school performance debunking DeVos critics (2018). This article makes the argument that states. with charter schools have stronger educational outcomes.

Florida student achievement rose with the expansion of charter schools (2019). This article says that charters iimproved academic outcomes in New York.

Urban Charter School Study (2015). This study demonstrates that charters work for low income black youth.

Charter schools outperform public schools (2017) Horizontal Differentiation and the Policy Effect of Charter Schools (2017)  While school choice may enhance competition, incentives for public schools to raise productivity may be muted if public education is viewed as imperfectly substitutable with alternatives. This paper estimates the aggregate effect of charter school expansion on education quality while accounting for the horizontal differentiation of charter school programs. To do so, we combine student-level administrative data with novel information about the educational programs of charter schools that opened in North Carolina following the removal of the statewide cap in 2011. The dataset contains students’ standardized test scores as well as geocoded residential addresses, which allow us to compare the test score changes of students who lived near the new charters prior to the policy change with those for students who lived farther away. We apply this research design to estimate separate treatment effects for exposure to charter schools that are and are not differentiated horizontally from public school instruction. The results indicate learning gains for treated students that are driven entirely by non-horizontally differentiated charter schools: we find that non-horizontally differentiated charter school expansion causes a 0.05 SD increase in math scores. These learning gains are driven by public schools responding to increased competition.

Beyond Their Walls: A Decade of Evidence from Spatial Variation in Access to New York City Charter Schools (2017). We find that for every 10 percent increase in charter market share, neighborhood student achievement (i.e. students at both charter and traditional schools) increases 0.01 standard deviations in ELA and 0.04 standard deviations in Math.

Proof charter schools provide real opportunity (2019). This article says that the Success Academy charter schools improved math outcomes in New York.

Answering Racism

Rising Tide: Charter School Market Share and Student Achievement (2019)

Key findings

  • The finding that increasing charter school enrollment leads to small increases in segregation holds for cities and counties as well as school districts. The averages, however, mask considerable variation across districts, cities, and states.
  • The segregative effects of charter schools are greater in urban districts with high shares of black and Hispanic students and in suburban districts with low black and Hispanic representation.
  • Charter schools have no discernible impact on the segregation of metropolitan areas. This is because the increase in segregation within districts in metropolitan areas is offset by greater integration between districts within the same metropolitan area. Essentially, districts within a metropolitan area become more diverse, but the schools within those districts don’t become more integrated.

Student teacher race-match in traditional public and charter schools (2019). This article contends charter schools have more minority teacherss.

Charter schools and teacher diversity (2019). A new study of North Carolina public schools finds that black students in charter schools are more likely to have black teachers than their regular public school counterparts, and that the positive effect of “teacher/student racial match” on the test scores of black students is more pronounced in charter than in regular public schools.

Having one or more teachers of the same race benefits students (2019) The title is self-explanatory

Charter schools and segregation: More context (2019). This article refutes studies that claim that charter schools increas segregation.

We Need a More Productive Conversation About Charter Schools and Segregation (2019). In 2009 the UCLA Civil Rights Project published a report accusing charter schools of resegregating public education. Although that charge was quickly and thoroughly refuted, critics of charter schools continue to say they deprive black children of opportunities because they are more segregated than traditional public schools.

Fact or Faction: Segregation in Charter Schools (2019). This article responds to the argument that charter schools increase segregation.

Segregation, Race and America’s District and Charter Public Schools (2018). Another response to the segregation argument.

 

Con

Academic Achievement

Charter Schools in Chicago: No Model for Education Reform (2014). Chicago’s charter system continues to grow rapidly despite the fact little evidence supports the claim that students perform better in charter schools than in traditional counterparts. This study adds another piece to the pile of research that implies that students in fact perform at lower levels in charters than traditionals. The clear implication is that it is time to reevaluate where the system is headed and to ensure that all of the information needed to evaluate existing and proposed new charters is available

New York Times uses racial politics to promote charter schools (2019)

School Segregation, Charter Schools, and Access to Quality Education (2019). Race, class, neighborhood, and school quality are all highly interrelated in the U.S. educational system. In the last decade a new factor has come into play, the option of attending a charter school. We offer a comprehensive analysis of the disparities among public schools attended by white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American children in 2010–2011, including all districts in which charter schools existed. We compare schools in terms of poverty concentration, racial composition, and standardized test scores, and we also examine how attending a charter or non-charter school affects these differences. Black and Hispanic (and to a lesser extent Native American and Asian) students attend elementary and high schools with higher rates of poverty than white students. Especially for whites and Asians, attending a charter school means lower exposure to poverty. Children’s own race and the poverty and charter status of their schools affect the test scores and racial isolation of schools that children attend in complex combinations. Most intriguing, attending a charter school means attending a better-performing school in high-poverty areas but a lower performing school in low-poverty areas. Yet even in the best case the positive effect of attending a charter school only slightly offsets the disadvantages of black and Hispanic students. (gated, requuires payment or subscription access).

Charter schools not keeping their promise (2019). Charter schools were designed to be the next great experiment in public education, but new research by Stanford University shows that, for the vast majority of students, that experiment is failing. The study, conducted by the university’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, analyzed student performance in 15 states and the District of Columbia, amassing data on roughly 70 percent of students enrolled in charter schools nationwide. Researchers found that only a small percentage of these students fared better after enrolling in a charter school. “The issue of quality is the most pressing problem that the charter school movement faces,” said Margaret Raymond, the center’s director. Raymond added that charter school proponents need to focus more on closing poorly performing schools and accepting the accountability that is supposed to be part of the charter school experiment.

Race

Allegany county charter schools fail to close racial achievement gap (2018)). This article contends that charter schools don’t reduce the racial achievement gap.

Our report highlights civil rights concerns in Philadelphia charter schools (2019). A new report by the Education Law Center, citing widespread noncompliance by charter schools with civil rights protections for students, urges Philadelphia’s Board of Education to monitor the city’s charter sector more closely and guard against discriminatory enrollment and educational practices.

School segregation, charter schools, and access to American education (2015). Race, class, neighborhood, and school quality are all highly interrelated in the U.S. educational system. In the last decade a new factor has come into play, the option of attending a charter school. We offer a comprehensive analysis of the disparities among public schools attended by white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American children in 2010–2011, including all districts in which charter schools existed. We compare schools in terms of poverty concentration, racial composition, and standardized test scores, and we also examine how attending a charter or non-charter school affects these differences. Black and Hispanic (and to a lesser extent Native American and Asian) students attend elementary and high schools with higher rates of poverty than white students. Especially for whites and Asians, attending a charter school means lower exposure to poverty. Children’s own race and the poverty and charter status of their schools affect the test scores and racial isolation of schools that children attend in complex combinations. Most intriguing, attending a charter school means attending a betterperforming school in high-poverty areas but a lower performing school in low-poverty areas. Yet even in the best case the positive effect of attending a charter school only slightly offsets the disadvantages of black and Hispanic students.

US charters put a growing number of students in racial isolation (2017).  The title is self-explanatory.

Race, Charter Schools, and Conscious Capitalism: On the Spatial Politics of Whiteness as Property (and the Unconscionable Assault on Black New Orleans) (2011)

Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space (2015).

‘Desperately afraid of losing white parents’: charter schools and segregation. The tendency of charter schools to increase school segregation has been well established, but less is known about what school administrators perceive as the mechanisms causing segregation among charters and traditional public schools. Using the results of exploratory surveys of North Carolina charter school directors and district superintendents, this study finds that administrators in both sectors feel very little power over the racial and socioeconomic diversity of their schools for reasons largely inherent in the school choice model. In the case of charter school directors, applicant pools limit their efforts to balance their student populations. School districts are limited by families’ opportunities to exit provided by charters. These results suggest that lottery-based school choice policies will only increase segregation for two reasons: (1) few mechanisms governing charter school enrollments ensure diversity and (2) the charter school option weakens public support for district-based desegregation efforts.

In “When Schools Open: Student Mobility and Racial Sorting Across New Charter Schools in Kansas City, Missouri,” Patrick Denice, Michael DeArmond, and Matthew Carr tackle this issue in exploring the enrollment data of 17 new charter schools that opened from 2011 to 2015 in the Show-Me State’s biggest city. The authors find that a disproportionate number of white students transferred into new charter schools, that white students appeared to be transferring into new charter schools with more white students, and, perhaps most significantly, that much of this racial sorting was

Segregation

Charter School Effects on School Segregation (2019). In the first nationally comprehensive examination of charter school effects on school system segregation, we demonstrate that growth in charter school enrollment increases the segregation of black, Hispanic, and white students.   The effects, however, are modest because charter schools make up a small share of total enrollment and have different effects across different kinds of districts. Our analysis indicates that eliminating charter schools would reduce segregation by 5 percent in the average district associated with two new charter schools.

Segregated charter schools allowed in Minnesota (2019)

Charter schools and school desegregation law (2019). In the end, if we have trouble accepting the enormous consequences of applying school desegregation law to charter schools, it may not be because the law is ill-considered or wrongly applied. It may be because we are—still—not prepared to confront the enormity of our legacy of school segregation.

Holding charters accountable for segregation (2018). In all these charter schools, and hundreds more across the country, an old idea seems to be coming back—the idea that education is best provided by separating kids along racial lines.

Racial isolation of charter school students expanding segregation (2019).. The article makes the claim that charters are contributing to significant ssegregation.

A Racial divide in charter schools (2015). This article describes segregationincharter schools in North Carolina.

Rich-Poor Gap

Philly charter schools serve more advanced, affluent parents (2019)