Masters Thesis

The Impact of charter schools in U.S. public education: charter school performance

With the increasing number of charter schools opening throughout the United States, researchers have designed studies to explore the operation of charter schools and how they measure up to educational performance. The majority of charter schools are in urban areas and serve low income and minority students. Charter schools are public schools with autonomy to design curricula as they believe will better serve their students. Thus, because of the uniqueness of each charter school, it is difficult to measure the overall educational performance of charter schools. Despite the mixed outcomes of studies, as more data is available researchers have designed methodologies to appropriately measure the performance outcome of charter schools. Studies that use longitudinal student and school data and adjust for demographic conditions indicate that elementary charter schools are performing at or slightly above traditional public schools. Contrary to elementary charter schools, studies show that charter high schools are performing below traditional public schools. Subsequently, more research studies are necessary to determine the educational performance of charter schools in the nation. Meanwhile, current research studies serve as a framework for decision making of students and parents, administrators, state charter school regulators, and communities with charter schools.

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