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

Charter Schools in Eight States uses longitudinal data from eight states to evaluate the effects of charter schools on achievement, attainment, integration, and competition. The findings are mixed. Achievement: The study examines seven jurisdictions and finds insignificant effects on reading and math performance in five, and small negative effects in two others. Attainment: In the two jurisdictions with data, the study finds positive effects for charter high schools’ rates of graduation and college matriculation. Integration: The study finds no evidence that charter schools are skimming high-achieving students away from public schools, or that charter schools lead to increased racial/ethnic stratification, but these findings should be regarded as equivocal because the supporting analyses use highly aggregated data. Competition: The study finds no evidence that the average student achievement at public schools either increases or decreases in response to entry of charter schools to the educational “marketplace.” On the whole, the methods used in this report are exemplary. The authors describe their statistical analyses in a transparent manner that makes it possible for readers to form their own opinions about the strength of the argument being advanced. The review does raise questions about all four of the report's sections, particularly stressing some weaknesses in the data and analyses regarding the integration and competition findings. Overall, however, the report makes an important contribution to the empirical literature on charter school effectiveness.

Suggested Citation: Briggs, D.C. (2009). Review of "Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration and Competition." Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-Charter-Schools-Eight-States

Document Reviewed:

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

Ron Zimmer, Brian Gill, Kevin Booker, Stephane Lavertu, Tim Sass and John Witte
RAND Corporation