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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

CREDO: Nonprofit charter networks excel

Charter schools are most effective for black and Latino students, concludes the new charter-school report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Achievement was highest for students attended nonprofit, networked schools.

CREDO found much higher achievement for students at schools backed by the Charter School Growth Fund, writes Alex Hernandez, a partner in the fund and a former math teacher. The fund supports nonprofit networks such as Uncommon Schools, Houston Gateway, or KIPP LA, he writes. Students “gain, on average, the equivalent of four additional months of learning in math and three additional months of learning in reading each year when compared to peers in other public schools.”

Students at Brownsville Collegiate Charter in New York City, which is part of the Uncommon Schools network.

CREDO found that gains increase the longer students attend schools in charter network, confirming a 2013 study.

 Two-thirds of charter schools are independent stand-alone schools, 22 percent are in charter-management organizations (CMOs) that may be for-profit or nonprofit and 8 percent outsource management to a company, usually for-profit, reports CREDO.

Students in CMO schools do the best in math and reading, with students in nonprofit charters outperforming those in for-profit charters, reports Chalkbeat. Schools that contract out management to vendors do worse than those that manage their own operations.

“Despite the wide range of CMO quality, larger organizations of charter holders have taken advantage of scale to the benefit of their students,” the study says. Both independent and vendor-operated schools perform about the same as district schools in math and very slightly better in reading.

All-virtual charter students do significantly worse than similar students in traditional schools.

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