School Choice & Charters

School Choice Research Roundup, Summer 2015 Edition

By Arianna Prothero — September 14, 2015 2 min read
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From research on why charter schools haven’t broken into the pre-K market to whether Nevada will have enough private school seats to meet demand created by its new and expansive school choice law, school choice reports have run the gamut this summer. However, with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, charter schooling in New Orleans has been the dominant topic.

So with Labor Day behind us, here’s a roundup of some of the research that came out over the summer:

Texas charter school students show less progress in both reading and math on average than their peers in district schools. That was one of the main findings of a study released July 22 by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes or CREDO. However, English-language learners did significantly better in charter schools than district schools.

Full CREDO study: ‘Charter School Performance in Texas’

Despite steady growth nationally, charter schools have yet to really break into the preschool market. One major reason: Out-of-sync state charter and pre-K policies, according to a July 15 report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning think tank. The report included a state-by-state analysis of how hospitable state policies are to pre-K charter schools.

Full Fordham report: ‘Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration’

The Friedman Foundation, a pro-school choice advocacy and research group, took a deep dive into Nevada’s private school sector following the passage of the state’s sweeping education savings accounts law. Although the ESA program is not limited to private schools, the Friedman the report examines everything from the number of available private school seats to how private school leaders view the new law.

Full Friedman Report: ‘Exploring Nevada’s Private Education Sector’

A couple of reports on the charter schools facilities front also came out this summer. Finding and getting access to school buildings is a persistent problem for charters.

The first study was from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, or LISC, which dove again into the wonky but important topic of bond issuance. The study examines a couple states that have created unique programs to help charter operators get access to better credit ratings for building purchases.

Full LISC report: Charter School Bond Issuance

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools dove into another nuts and bolts issue with a report offering guidance to charter schools that rent space in religious facilities, which many do.

Full NAPCS report: Separation of Church and School: Guidance for Public Charter Schools Using Religious Facilities

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, reports on charter schools in New Orleans were abundant this summer. Among them:

‘Good News for New Orleans: Early Evidence Shows Reforms Lifting Student Achievement’ from the Education Research Alliance at Tulane University

‘The State of Public Education in New Orleans’ from the Cowen Institute at Tulane University

‘System Failure: Louisiana’s Broken Charter School Law’ from The Center for Popular Democracy and the Coalition for Community Schools

‘Ten Years in New Orleans, Public School Resurgence and the Path Ahead’ from Public Impact and New Schools for New Orleans

Have I missed anything? If I’ve neglected a school-choice related study you think is important, I encourage you to leave it in the comments section below. Everyone else, I encourage you to check out the comments section for any gems I may have overlooked.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.