Start-up charters star in Rand report
Start-up clasroom-based charter schools in California outperform conventional public schools in every grade level and every subject, except for elementary math, concludes a new Rand study, which adjusted for student characteristics.
Overall, charter scores are lower than in conventional schools. But charters attract more disadvantaged students, especially blacks. Comparing similar students, Rand found charters doing as well as conventional schools — for less money.
Then Rand separated start-up schools from conversions (existing schools switched to charter status), and separated classroom-based schools from home-based (independent study) programs. Classroom-based models posted higher test scores, perhaps because independent study programs attract students with more serious learning and behavior problems. Conversion charters did about as well as conventional schools; class-room-based start-ups did better.
Rand suggests ensuring that charter schools get the same funding as other public schools.