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Charter Schools in Eight States

Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration, and Competition

Ron Zimmer
Brian Gill
Kevin Booker
Stephane Lavertu
Tim R. Sass
John Witte
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    Charter Schools in Eight States
    Book Description:

    Charter schools now exist in 40 states, but the best charter-school studies to date have focused on individual states. This book examines charter schools in eight states with varied policy contexts. It assesses the characteristics of charter schools' students, their effectiveness in raising student achievement and promoting graduation and college entry, and their competitive effects on student achievement in traditional public schools.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4711-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Over the past decade and a half, charter schools have been among the fastest-growing segments of the K–12 education market. Nationally, more than 4,000 charter schools have been established since the early 1990s, and they now serve more than 1 million students. They have spurred a contentious debate since their establishment. Supporters argue that charter schools can improve student achievement and attainment, serve as laboratories for innovation, provide choice to families that have few options, and promote healthy competition with traditional public schools (TPSs). Critics worry that charter schools perform no better than TPSs, that they may exacerbate stratification...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Students Transferring to Charter Schools
    (pp. 7-20)

    We begin with a descriptive examination of students transferring to charter schools. Critics of charter schools fear that they will further racially or ethnically¹ stratify an already deeply stratified system and will skim off the best students from TPSs, harming the students left behind. In contrast, some charter supporters hope that charter schools will improve racial integration by letting families choose schools outside of neighborhoods where housing is racially segregated. Integration may be an important policy outcome in its own right, and evidence suggests that the interaction with diverse backgrounds and ability levels can have positive social and academic effects...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Student Achievement in Charter Schools
    (pp. 21-52)

    In recent years, studies have attempted to examine the impact of charter schools on student achievement in Arizona (Solmon, Paark, and Garcia, 2001), California (Zimmer, Buddin, et al., 2003; Betts, Rice, et al., 2006; Zimmer and Buddin, 2006), Florida (Sass, 2006), Massachusetts (Abdulkadiroglu et al., 2009), Michigan (Bettinger, 2005), Ohio (Ohio Department of Education, 2007), New York (Hoxby and Murarka, 2007), North Carolina (Bifulco and Ladd, 2006), Texas (Hanushek et al., 2005; Booker, Gilpatric, et al., 2007), Wisconsin (Witte et al., 2007), and Pennsylvania (Zimmer, Blanc, et al., 2008). In addition, a few recent studies have examined student achievement in...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Educational Attainment Effects of Charter High Schools
    (pp. 53-76)

    So far, this monograph has focused on test scores as a measure of charter-school effectiveness. However, test scores are really only proxies for learning and for outcomes that students, parents, educators, policy-makers, and society as a whole care more about, such as graduation and college enrollment. Despite the interest in these outcomes, researchers evaluating charter-school impacts have generally not focused on these measures as outcomes.¹ The absence of such research has been due partly to the absence of data, as most districts and states do not have reliable graduation data or have not linked K–12 data to post-secondary data....

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Competitive Effects of Charter Schools on Student Achievement in Traditional Public Schools
    (pp. 77-82)

    Supporters of charter schools often argue that they create healthy competition in the K–12 education market, creating incentives for TPSs to improve their performance. Detractors doubt that competition induces positive results and worry that, instead, the siphoning of resources to charter schools will undermine the performance of TPSs and thereby harm their students. The empirical evidence on this key issue of contention is minimal, with only a few studies that attempt to gauge the systemic effect of charter schools.

    The studies that have examined systemic effects have used school level measures of competition, such as the distance from the...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Implications for Policy and Research
    (pp. 83-94)

    Charter schools continue to be hotly debated, but rigorous research on charter-school impacts has only recently begun to inform the debate. The number of well-designed impact studies is growing, but the accumulated knowledge base remains thin. Long-term attainment outcomes have not been examined; the sorting of students by race and ability has been infrequently studied; the possible (positive or negative) systemic effect of charter schools on students who remain in TPSs has received little empirical attention; and the relationships between the details of state charter policies and the impacts produced have not been identified. Finally and most importantly, questions about...

  14. APPENDIX A Data
    (pp. 95-104)
  15. APPENDIX B Chapter Three Regression Results
    (pp. 105-116)
  16. APPENDIX C Supporting Data
    (pp. 117-122)
  17. APPENDIX D Chapter Five Regression Results
    (pp. 123-128)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 129-136)