Florida students who attended charter high schools earn significantly more as 23- to 25-year-olds than those who went to traditional public high schools, concludes a large-scale study by Vanderbilt and Georgia State researchers. Charter high school students are more likely to complete high school, go to college and stay in college, concluded the study, which was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.
Former charter students earned $2,300 more per year, on average, in their early to mid-20s, said Ron Zimmer, one of the researchers.
Test scores weren’t higher at the charters, but these schools may do better at “promoting life skills like grit, persistence, self-control and conscientiousness,” he said.
To create a control group of students from education-minded, school-choosing families, researchers compared charter eighth graders who went on to traditional public schools with charter eighth graders who enrolled in charter high schools. They crunched the numbers five different ways to show their results were “robust.”
It’s not news that charter schools boost “attainment” — years of schooling — for disadvantaged students, even when test scores are no higher. Going farther in school and college pays off.
Zeeconomics has more on the long-term effects of charter school attendance in Boston, Chicago and Florida.