Charter Schools and Suspensions: Evidence from Massachusetts Chapter 222

New Findings, School Reform, October 2020

Mayara Felix eval­u­ates the impact of Massachusetts Chapter 222—a pol­i­cy that lim­it­ed char­ter schools’ abil­i­ty to sus­pend students—on stu­dent sus­pen­sions and test scores. Comparing char­ter atten­dance effects before vs. after Chapter 222, she find that Chapter 222 reduced char­ter sus­pen­sions by rough­ly 10 per­cent­age points, but had no impact on char­ter learn­ing. The author then use vari­a­tion in lot­tery offers and appli­cants’ pre-lot­tery sus­pen­sions to sep­a­rate the effect of sus­pen­sions from that of char­ter atten­dance on test scores. Suspensions appear to be unre­lat­ed to achieve­ment in char­ters, while the causal effect of char­ter atten­dance on test scores is large and pos­i­tive.