Charter School Performance in Two Large Urban Districts

Published in: Journal of Urban Economics, v. 60, no. 2, 2006, p. 307-326

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005

by Ron Zimmer, Richard Buddin

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In the national effort to improve educational achievement, urban districts offer the greatest challenge as they often serve the most disadvantaged students. Many urban leaders, including mayors and school district superintendents, have initiated charter schools, which are publicly supported, autonomously operated schools of choice, as a mechanism of improving learning for these disadvantaged students. In this analysis, the authors examine the effect charter schools are having on student achievement generally, and on different demographic groups, in two major urban districts in California. Student achievement results suggest that charter schools are having mixed overall effects and generally not promoting student achievement for minorities.

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