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

Publisher: Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation
Mar 30, 2009
Ron Zimmer, Brian Gill, Kevin Booker, Stephane Lavertu, Tim Sass, and John Witte
Although charter schools are growing in number, debate continues about whether they provide a better education than traditional public schools. The report examines charter schools in Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, San Diego, and the states of Florida, Ohio, and Texas, using longitudinal student-level data to examine issues across multiple communities and varied charter laws. Overall, there is little evidence that charter schools, on average, are producing test-score impacts that are substantially better or worse than those of conventional public schools, but favorable high school graduation and college-entry results suggest the possibility of long-term benefits. The authors also note that much more is yet to be learned, particularly about the performance of charter elementary schools.