Charters without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston
School Reform, July 2016
Charter takeovers are traditional public schools restarted as charter schools. We develop a grandfathering instrument for takeover attendance that compares students at schools designated for takeover with a matched sample of students attending similar schools not yet taken over. Grandfathering estimates from New Orleans show substantial gains from takeover enrollment. In Boston, grandfathered students see achievement gains at least as large as the gains for students assigned charter seats in lotteries. A non-charter Boston turnaround intervention that had much in common with the takeover strategy generated gains as large as those seen for takeovers, while other more modest turnaround interventions yielded smaller effects.