Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts
If CRPE’s recent meta-analysis of charter-school research was an amuse-bouche, this report (from Mathematica/CRPE) on the practices and impacts of charter-management organizations (CMOs) acts as the entrée—and perhaps also the dessert. It exhaustively details the characteristics of forty CMOs (of the nation’s 130, which serve 17 percent of charter-school students), noting some interesting commonalities: Compared to their district counterparts, CMOs typically run smaller schools (with smaller classes). They also offer more time in learning: Forty percent of studied CMOs provided their students with more instructional time than all of the nation’s traditional public schools. Completing the meal, the report analyzed student-achievement results for those CMOs with adequate data. Echoing previous charter research, the report finds that CMO performance varies—and widely. Of the twenty-two networks analyzed, eleven boast significantly positive impacts in math, while ten can make that claim in reading—this compared to a representative control group of district pupils. (Seven negatively impact their students in math, six in reading.) Why do some CMOs do so well while others flounder? Researchers note two reasons for success: intense teacher coaching and school-wide behavior standards (notably those that offered consistent rewards and sanctions and asked for parent and student contracts). Unfortunately, the authors stop there. No after-dinner coffee or digestif. Because of promises of confidentiality, the report names neither the high flyers nor the low performers. Interesting data, yes, but not much help to school shoppers or communities seeking effective CMO’s to run more of their schools. Though a palatable and hearty meal, the report could have used that added bit to settle the reader’s stomach.
"Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and
Diverse Student Impacts"
Melissa Bowen, et al.
Center on Reinventing Public Education
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