Should the State Encourage Charter Network Growth?


Over the past decade, charter schools have played a significant role in improving K-12 education. As charter schools have become more prominent, discussions have also begun on their overall role in the public school system. So should the policymakers and other stakeholders encourage charter network growth across the U.S.?

Recently, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released a study about charter school performance. It showed significant results on how states should focus on charter network growth.

The study showed that charter management organizations - networks of schools like KIPP or Achievement First - are outpacing independent, one-off charter schools. Also, it showed that new independent schools are generally not as effective, which means that states and charter authorizers should focus more on identifying opportunities to support and grow networks from successful charters rather than focusing solely on the development of brand-new start-up schools.

Moving forward, policymakers, the state, and charter authorizers should prioritize the following:

Implementing quality control: Charter school authorizers should make sure that charter schools are providing high-quality education through a supportive approach rather than strictly punitive. Also, tighter quality control must take place, and best practices should be developed when a charter is granted to a school.

Providing high-quality charter school options in areas where there is a more school-aged population: A variety of charter school options should be available to places where there are a lot more children to meet their educational needs. However, for regions with fewer school-aged children, having multiple schools may hurt the financial aspects of both traditional and charter schools.