This report presents a longitudinal student‐level
analysis of charter school impacts on more than 70 percent of the students in charter schools in
the United States. The scope of the study makes it the first national assessment of charter
The study reveals that a decent fraction
of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students.
Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local
public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly
worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.
These findings underlie the parallel findings of significant state‐by‐state differences in charter
school performance and in the national aggregate performance of charter schools.
Charter school students on average see a decrease in their academic growth in reading
of .01 standard deviations compared to their traditional school peers. In math, their
learning lags by .03 standard deviations on average. While the magnitude of these
effects is small, they are both statistically significant
this study reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the
aggregate, charter students are not faring as well as their TPS counterparts. Further,
tremendous variation in academic quality among charters is the norm, not the exception.
The mass movement among our learning challenged politicians to privatize public education is a curious thing. I wanted to find some simple statistics on spending per student at the charter schools compared to their public counterparts - the hype is that this is supposed to unleash the power of the market to provide better results for less money, right, so you'd hope we're at least getting these worse results for less money - but there's difficulty getting honest numbers out of the charter schools without lawsuits, and the numbers we do get nevertheless indicate that we're getting worse results for more money. As an added bonus, charter schools are plagued by financial scandals all over the country. So we're getting a reform agenda pushed by politicians backed to the hilt by a financial sector that sees our massive public expenditure on education as a gigantic pool of potential graft and the same obscurantist profit as defense contracting and mortgage lending. That is to say, the charter school movement looks like every other fucking thing in America.