“A majority of board members voted last week to ask legislators to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in North Carolina. Charter schools are taxpayer-funded public schools that are free of some of the regulations that traditional public schools must follow…[D]iversity and reassignments aren’t the only topic separating members of the Wake County school board – there’s also a philosophical divide on how central a role traditional public schools should play.” Here is the original News&Observer article and here is a WakeEd post on differing views.
Our econometric methods can help us understand what contributes to student achievement and how different schooling models compare, without attaching any political agenda or philosophical bias.
My recent work with my coauthors studies charter schools in Boston and an alternative to the charter model, pilot schools, created within the existing public school framework in Boston. We find significant test score gains for charter lottery winners in middle and high school; in contrast similar estimates for pilots are small and mostly insignificant.
You can download the article here. Here is the abstract:
Charter schools are publicly funded but operate outside the regulatory framework and collective bargaining agreements characteristic of traditional public schools. In return for this freedom, charter schools are subject to heightened accountability. This paper estimates the impact of charter school attendance on student achievement using data from Boston, where charter schools enroll a growing share of students. We also evaluate an alternative to the charter model, Boston’s pilot schools. These schools have some of the independence of charter schools, but operate within the school district, face little risk of closure, and are covered by many of same collective bargaining provisions as traditional public schools. Estimates using student assignment lotteries show large and significant test score gains for charter lottery winners in middle and high school. In contrast, lottery-based estimates for pilot schools are small and mostly insignificant. The large positive lottery-based estimates for charter schools are similar to estimates constructed using statistical controls in the same sample, but larger than those using statistical controls in a wider sample of schools. The latter are still substantial, however. The estimates for pilot schools are smaller and more variable than those for charters, with some significant negative effects.