New Brookings report by Sarah Cohodes on Massachusetts charter cap | Education Policy & Social Analysis

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Education Policy & Social Analysis

New Brookings report by Sarah Cohodes on Massachusetts charter cap

Sarah Cohodes has co-authored a new report for Brookings, "Massachusetts charter cap holds back disadvantaged students", published on September 15th 2016 here. The report's findings have since been covered in New York Magazine.

Executive Summary:

This November, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls to decide whether to expand the state’s quota on charter schools. The ballot initiative would allow 12 new, approved charters over the current limit to open each year.

Would the ballot proposal be good for students in Massachusetts? To address this question, we need to know whether charter schools are doing a better job than the traditional public schools in districts where the cap currently limits additional charter school seats.

There is a deep well of rigorous, relevant research on the performance of charter schools in Massachusetts. This research exploits random assignment and student-level, longitudinal data to examine the effect of charter schools in Massachusetts.

This research shows that charter schools in the urban areas of Massachusetts have large, positive effects on educational outcomes. The effects are particularly large for disadvantaged students, English learners, special education students, and children who enter charters with low test scores.

In marked contrast, we find that the effects of charters in the suburbs and rural areas of Massachusetts are not positive. Our lottery estimates indicate that students at these charter schools do the same or worse than their peers at traditional public schools. Notably, the charter cap does not currently constrain charter expansion in these areas. The ballot initiative will therefore have no effect on the rate at which these charters expand.

Massachusetts’ charter cap currently prevents expansion in precisely the urban areas where charter schools are doing their best work. Lifting the cap will allow more students to benefit from charter schools that are improving test scores, college preparation, and college attendance. [Read more]

Published Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2016

New Brookings report by Sarah Cohodes on Massachusetts charter cap

Sarah Cohodes has co-authored a new report for Brookings, "Massachusetts charter cap holds back disadvantaged students", published on September 15th 2016 here. The report's findings have since been covered in New York Magazine.

Executive Summary:

This November, Massachusetts voters will go to the polls to decide whether to expand the state’s quota on charter schools. The ballot initiative would allow 12 new, approved charters over the current limit to open each year.

Would the ballot proposal be good for students in Massachusetts? To address this question, we need to know whether charter schools are doing a better job than the traditional public schools in districts where the cap currently limits additional charter school seats.

There is a deep well of rigorous, relevant research on the performance of charter schools in Massachusetts. This research exploits random assignment and student-level, longitudinal data to examine the effect of charter schools in Massachusetts.

This research shows that charter schools in the urban areas of Massachusetts have large, positive effects on educational outcomes. The effects are particularly large for disadvantaged students, English learners, special education students, and children who enter charters with low test scores.

In marked contrast, we find that the effects of charters in the suburbs and rural areas of Massachusetts are not positive. Our lottery estimates indicate that students at these charter schools do the same or worse than their peers at traditional public schools. Notably, the charter cap does not currently constrain charter expansion in these areas. The ballot initiative will therefore have no effect on the rate at which these charters expand.

Massachusetts’ charter cap currently prevents expansion in precisely the urban areas where charter schools are doing their best work. Lifting the cap will allow more students to benefit from charter schools that are improving test scores, college preparation, and college attendance. [Read more]

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