The influence of founder type on charter school structures and operations

Much of the literature on charter schools treats them as an undifferentiated mass. Here we present and test a typology of charter schools that is grounded in the norms, traditions, and perspectives of the founding organization or organizers. We suggest that there are two broad categories of charter founders— those who are more mission oriented and those who are more market oriented— and we further disaggregate these categories into subtypes. Using data from a multistate survey of charter schools, we test the typology by examining charter school behaviors related to choosing a theme and targeting, deciding on the size and grade configuration, and marketing and market research behavior.