Urban Charters Outstrip Performance of Nonurban, Study Finds”

Education Week; September 7, 2011

A new Massachusetts study sug­gests that char­ter schools locat­ed in urban com­mu­ni­ties there sig­nif­i­cant­ly improved their stu­dents’ math­e­mat­ics and lan­guage arts per­for­mance on state assess­ments, while nonur­ban char­ter schools did not, and, in some cas­es, even appeared to hurt stu­dents aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly.  The find­ings come in a work­ing paper by researchers with the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research. In the paper, released Aug. 22, the researchers trace the greater stu­dent aca­d­e­m­ic growth in urban char­ter schools to the “no excus­es” instruc­tion­al approach­es typ­i­cal of urban char­ters in that state. The study comes as a grow­ing num­ber of char­ters begin to move beyond city cen­ters to com­pete in often bet­ter-per­form­ing school dis­tricts in sub­urbs and rur­al areas. According to the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, char­ters have been spread­ing in sub­ur­ban and rur­al areas: From 1999-2000 to 2009-10, the num­ber of sub­ur­ban char­ters grew from 366 to 1,039, while the ranks of town and rur­al char­ters rose from 342 to 1,190. City char­ters grew from 833 to 2,692 dur­ing the same period.”


By Sarah D. Sparks