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.