Students in charter schools that are run by for-profit companies perform markedly worse than their peers in charters managed by nonprofit groups, according to a study.
The study, conducted by, found on average, that students in nonprofit-run schools had faster academic growth than those in for-profit schools—equal to about 23 extra days of learning in math and six days in reading.
Researchers studied 5,700 charter schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
Students in nonprofit charters saw faster academic growth than peers in traditional public schools, equal to about 11 extra days of reading and math instruction. However, students in for-profit charters do no better in reading, and worse in math, than peers in traditional district schools.
Where all charter schools stumbled is in serving special education students. For example, in charter school networks, students receiving special education fell behind their peers in traditional public schools in math by the equivalent of 86 days over the course of a year. For all other types of charter schools, the lag was 108 days.
A version of this article appeared in the June 21, 2017 edition of Education Week as Charter Schools