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ERIC Number: ED536519
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
Research Comparing Charter Schools and Traditional Public Schools. Information Capsule. Volume 1007
Blazer, Christie
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
During the 2008-09 school year, over 5,000 charter schools operated in 40 states and Washington, D.C. and were attended by over 1.5 million students, or about three percent of the nation's public school students. Although the first U.S. charter schools opened in 1992, debate continues over whether they provide students with a better education than traditional public schools. This Information Capsule reviews studies that compared the achievement of students attending charter and traditional public schools and found mixed results. Most studies have found that charter schools produce achievement gains that are about the same or lower than those found in traditional public schools, although a few studies have concluded that charter schools have a positive effect on student achievement. These inconsistent findings have led some researchers to conclude that the rapid growth of the charter school movement has significantly outpaced the evidence supporting its impact on student achievement. Because there is such wide variation from state to state in charter schools' mission, funding, student populations, size, grade level coverage, and independence from regulations and teacher contracts, there may never be a single definitive study that determines if charter or traditional public schools provide students with better learning opportunities. This Information Capsule also reviews research comparing the qualifications of teachers at charter schools and traditional public schools and student segregation in charter schools. Most studies have found that charter school teachers have less teaching experience than teachers at traditional public schools. In addition, charter schools appear to intensify racial and economic segregation. Finally, information on charter schools operating within the state of Florida and in Miami-Dade County is provided. A more comprehensive Literature Review on charter school research is available at Research Services' Web site ( The Literature Review also summarizes research conducted in the following areas: student achievement at new versus more established charter schools; student achievement at conversion versus start-up charter schools; student mobility at charter schools; charter school teacher attrition rates; demographic characteristics of students attending charter schools; and the impact of charter school competition on the achievement of students remaining in traditional public schools. (Contains 4 tables.)
Research Services, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 1450 NE Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132. Tel: 305-995-1000; Fax: 305-995-7521; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Research Services
Identifiers - Location: Florida; United States