The Corner


Rounding Up the Evidence on Charter Schools

There’s an interesting new paper out today through the National Bureau of Economic Research that goes through the academic literature. Some overarching conclusions:

  • “Charters located in urban areas boost student test scores, particularly for Black, Latinx, and low-income students,” though charter schools elsewhere tend to perform about the same as the local public schools. (Of course, giving parents more choice is good in itself, even aside from measurable impacts on kids.)
  • Competing with charters seems to improve public schools a little, though it also harms public schools’ finances.
  • Advocates make competing claims about how charter schools affect segregation, but the evidence is mixed. Also, there’s been little research into newer charters that are deliberately set up to be “diverse by design” and reduce segregation.


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