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Knowledge From the Field

Closing the Achievement Gap: Creating Quality Choices: Charters

Published: January 2008

Publisher(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Author(s): Read, Tory

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

View Report (8 pages; 736KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Low-performing Schools

Abstract: The Annie E. Casey Foundation has invested in 17 charter schools since 2000. The Foundation believes charter schools possess the ability to close the achievement gap.  As a result of its funding efforts, the Foundation commissioned a study of the charter schools’ results and any lessons learned.  The report highlights the successes and challenges of its 17 charter schools.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Between the time that Casey started investing in the 17 charter schools and the end of 2006, 81 percent of students showed increased achievement in reading and 59 percent showed increased achievement in math.

+ Students in more than half of these charter schools outperformed their district peers, with 71 percent performing better than their district average in reading and 59 percent performing better than their district average in math.

= Casey-supported charter schools enroll a total of 6,110 students, of which 91 percent are ethnic minorities and 69 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

= According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, under current policy arrangements charter schools get an average of 24 percent less per-pupil funding than traditional district schools.

= The major challenges facing charter schools are: funding, facilities, and teacher supply.

Geographic Focus : National

Subjects/Keywords : Low-performing schools; accountability; teacher quality; charter schools; school reform; achievement gap; economically disadvantaged

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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