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Latest From NCSPE

Working Paper: Charter Schools and Segregation in North Carolina

Helen F. Ladd and Mavzuna Turaeva use information on the charter school choices made by North Carolina families, separately by race or ethnicity, who switched their child from a traditional public school (TPS) to a charter school in 2015-16 to explore how such choices affect racial segregation between schools and racial isolation within charter schools. They find that the movement of white, but not minority, switchers to charter schools increases racial segregation between schools. Further, using a conditional logit model to estimate revealed preferences, they find that the value parents place on the racial composition of individual charter schools differs by the race and income of the switchers.

Working Paper: Charter Schools and Special Education

Katharine Parham explores the dual institutions of charter schools and special education, and the unique issues that arise when an institution whose organizational structure is grounded in autonomy is forced to comply, by law, with significant regulatory demands.

Working Paper: Examining Variation within the Charter School Sector

Using propensity score matching and virtual control records in examining test scores in English Language Arts (ELA) and math for 2009-10 through 2011-12 in California, Charisse Gulosino and Jonah Liebert find that urban charter schools boost results relative to their matched comparison groups of traditional public schools while suburban and rural charter schools post similar results in ELA and inferior results in math relative to their matched comparison groups of traditional public schools.

Working Paper: School Autonomy in Denver

Philip Gigliotti analyzes Innovation Schools in Denver from its inception in 2009 through 2014. Gigliotti focuses on student scores on annual state tests in reading, math, and writing to measure the effectiveness of greater managerial authority. He finds that while Innovation Schools on average brought about impressive results by the second year of implementation, these results soon after declined substantially. 

Working Paper: How Chile Modified Friedman

Adrián Zancajo explores the striking reversal of voucher policy in Chile in 2014. Through examination of 30 key policy documents and interviews with 37 stakeholders involved in this transformation, Zancajo reveals a telling story about the forces in Chile for and against modification of the country’s market-based system of schooling.

Working Paper: Educational Privatization in China: A Case Study

Yiwen Wang focuses on Mei Jia International School, a private boarding school for students in grades 7 to 9 in Guiyang, capital of the inland province of Guizhou and home to 4.8 million people. Through a series of interviews with Mei Jia’s principal, teachers, and students, Wang addresses the school’s relationship with the government as well as its method of management, its finances, student enrollment, and teacher recruitment.

Working Paper: Charter Schools and Race in Kansas City

In exploring the enrollment data of 17 new charter schools that opened from 2011 to 2015 in Kansas City, the authors find that a disproportionate number of white students transferred into new charter schools, that white students appeared to be transferring into new charter schools with more white students, and, perhaps most significantly, that much of this racial sorting was associated with two new charter schools.

Working Paper: School Autonomy and Its Impact

In analyzing data from principal surveys and case studies at a broad sample of schools in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2014, Ayesha K. Hashim, Susan C. Bush-Mecenas, and Katharine O. Strunk find wide variation in the implementation of autonomy and close association between faithful implementation and better instruction.

Working Paper: Liberia's Experiment

In assessing an analysis of the first year of a three-year randomized control study of a public-private partnership called Partnership Schools for Liberia, Steven J. Klees raises important questions about methodology and ideology. The study involves 93 public primary schools managed by eight external contractors.

Working Paper: Colombian Charter School Management

In this study of charter school management of teachers and resources in Bogotá, D. Brent Edwards Jr. and Stephanie M. Hall build on research from a 2015 NCSPE working paper by Edwards and Hilary Hartley focused on the authorization and evaluation of charter schools in Colombia’s capital. Among the authors’ salient findings is that teachers in Bogotá’s charter schools must be more credentialed than their counterparts at traditional public schools yet they work longer hours, earn less money, and have no job security. 

Working Paper: Low-Fee Private Schools in India

Across the developing world over the past two decades, low-fee private schools have opened their doors and generated controversy. Advocates argue that these schools fill a void created by state failure; deliver better education by making operators dependent on parental satisfaction; and catalyze government-run schools to improve through competition. Opponents contend such schools typically cannot accommodate children with learning disabilities; charge more than many poor families can afford, even though fees may seem nominal; and lack the accountability necessary to curb venal conduct. In “Low-Fee Private Schools in India: The Emerging Fault Lines,” Tamo Chattopadhay and Maya Roy illuminate this controversy by focusing on central challenges. 

Working Paper: England Confronts the Limits of School Autonomy

In “England Confronts the Limits of School Autonomy,” Helen F. Ladd and Edward B. Fiske provide a detailed analysis of the evolution of school choice in England and address the obstacles in the way of full implementation of Conservative Party ambitions as well as its likely drawbacks. The result is a rich depiction of dramatic change and a cautionary statement about the impact of full school independence on community input and student interests.

Working Paper: Philanthropy, Geography, and Charter Schools

How foundations coalesce and collaborate in particular parts of the country provides telling detail about education policy and its necessary conditions. In "Converging on Choice: The Inter-State Flow of Foundation Dollars to Charter School Organizations," Joseph J. Ferrare and Renee Setari examine this dynamic and in the process reveal unmistakable patterns of coordination and influence.

Working Paper: Privatization, Choice, and Online Marketing

In “Perceptions of Prestige: A Comparative Analysis of School Online Media Marketing,” Sarah Butler Jessen and Catherine DiMartino provide a detailed assessment of the marketing tools increasingly employed by CMOs to win over philanthropists and politicians as well as parents. 

Working Paper: The Impact of Charter Schools on District School Budgets

In “The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation,” Jason B. Cook finds that charter competition has driven down local funding by depressing valuations of residential property and has led school districts to redirect revenue from instructional expenditures (in particular, teacher salaries) to facility improvements. Cook complements these two important findings with thorough explanations.


Working Paper: The State of For-Profit Law Schools

 In “Proprietary Law Schools and the Marketization of Access to Justice,” Riaz Tejani explores the evolution of a for-profit institution pseudonymously titled New Delta School of Law. Tejani, a professor of legal studies at the University of Illinois, finds that New Delta weds a strategy of emancipatory marketing with a bottom-line concentration on profits:  New Delta, on the one hand, aggressively markets itself to low-income students as a path to prosperity and recognition and, on the other, generates outsized returns for its private equity investors. To win respect as well as accreditation, Tejani writes, New Delta appointed former executives of the American Bar Association to its board; to keep students from transferring to more reputable law schools after their first year, New Delta radically revised the standard 1L curriculum of Contracts, Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Legal Research and Writing to make transferring nearly impossible; to silence dissent, New Delta fired professors critical of these reforms and replaced them with visiting professors.

Working Paper: What Next for Vouchers in Louisiana?

In "Vouchers Come to Louisiana," Amber Peterson, an official with the Louisiana Department of Education who recently completed a master's degree in education policy at Teachers College, provides a concise, balanced assessment of the state's voucher program. Peterson explains the evolution of the program, eligibility requirements for both students and schools, distribution of participating private schools throughout the state, outreach efforts by the state, barriers to enrollment, and problems with school assessment.

Working Paper: "No Excuses" Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis

With steep behavioral and academic expectations, charter schools employing the philosophy of "No Excuses" have been praised and faulted: praised for bringing scholastic order to many disadvantaged communities and sending thousands of underprivileged students to college; faulted for enrolling a lower proportion of boys, English-language learners, and students with special needs than neighboring schools (and thus potentially increasing the pedagogical challenges facing those neighboring schools).

Working Paper: Theory v. Reality in Charter Schools in Colombia

In "Theory versus Reality in Charter Schools in Colombia," D. Brent Edwards Jr. and Hilary Hartley go beyond assessing academic outcomes to examine the process of authorization, evaluation, and enrollment to determine the degree of accountability and choice. Edwards and Hartley conclude that choice has been limited by inadequate supply, in turn curtailed by insufficient funding necessary for new Concession Schools to meet government standards; and that accountability has been compromised by the absence of a clear and common set of criteria.

Working Paper: What Next for Educational Privatization in the Developing World?

In "Tiptoeing Around Private Schools in the Global Partnership for Education," Francine Menashy explores the evolution of private delivery of K-12 education in the developing world, summarizes the current debate, and assesses the difficulty opposing groups have had in finding common ground. Menashy accomplishes this task by focusing on the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), a collaborative effort of philanthropic foundations, donor and recipient governments, multilateral organizations, and private companies. Launched by the World Bank in 2002 as the Education For All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the organization was rebranded in 2011 as the GPE and is now involved in 59 developing nations.

Working Paper: Why Are There More Girls than Boys in Charter Schools?

With "The Gender Gap in Charter School Enrollment," Sean P. Corcoran and Jennifer L. Jennings fill this void. In examining 11 years of enrollment data for schools across the United States, Corcoran and Jennings find that charter schools enroll more girls than boys, that this divide has widened over time, and that the difference is more pronounced, in particular, at the secondary level.

Working Paper: Demand for Private Schooling in India

This paper by Amita Chudgar and Benjamin Creed examines whether disparities in access to private schools diminish in villages with greater availability of private schools. In India the authors note that female students and students from the most disadvantaged families have historically had the least access to private schools. To examine this question, the authors analyze data from the Indian Human Development Survey I (2004-5) of 41,554 rural Indian households and 1,503 villages.

Working Paper: Philanthropies and CMOs

While charter schools are often thought of as a single entity, they actually take three distinct forms: "standalone" or "mom and pop" schools, which are independently operated to serve a local community; for-profit charter schools, which are operated by education management organizations (EMO); not-for-profit schools, which are operated by charter management organizations (CMO). These distinctions are important in that each form operates under different principles and serves students in different ways. In this paper Rand Quinn, Megan Tompkins-Stange and Debra Meyerson argue that charitable foundations have focused their giving almost exclusively on CMOs. Thus, the goal of this paper is to explore the role that foundations have played in the rapid growth of CMOs, and their influence on the CMO form itself.

Working Paper: School Choice Lotteries and Validity

One of the most important questions for policymakers considering the merits of school choice programs is whether students in school choice program outperform their traditional public school counterparts. This question, however, has proven difficult to answer because the type of student who exercises choice may be fundamentally different than the type of student who does not. As such, researchers employ econometric techniques to control for observable differences between students across school sectors. Any remaining differences in achievement are therefore assumed to be attributable to the school choice program itself.