Home » Issues » Choice & Charter Schools » Facts on Massachusetts Charter Schools

Facts on Massachusetts Charter Schools

As efforts are underway to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts, it’s important to make sure the public and lawmakers have accurate information and know the truth about what’s really happening — and what’s not — when it comes to charter schools.

Specifically, claims being made by the NAACP in their lawsuit alleging that the cap lift would harm students are simply untrue.

Here are the facts:

  • A study released by MIT found that over the past five years charter schools have increased enrollment of students with disabilities at rates nearly equal to traditional school.
  • That same study also found that ELL students enrolled in public charter schools perform better on math, English-language arts, science and writing comprehension tests compared to traditional public school students.
  • The six-year college graduation rate for all Boston charter public school graduates is just under 43%. For Boston Public Schools it is just under 5%, but once you remove the highly selective exam schools like Boston Latin from the equation the six-year college graduation rate for BPS grads dips to 34.5%.
  • According to the Conditions in Education 2015 report, 28% of charter students nationwide are Black— nearly double the Black enrollment percentage in traditional public schools (TPS). The Hispanic charter and TPS enrollment rate is nearly identical at 30% and growing annually in each sector. White enrollment in charters is 35% compared to 40% in TPS.
  • Patrick Wolf, published “The Productivity of Charter Schools” (2014). Researchers found that for every $1,000 invested in a charter school and a TPS in 20 states and the District of Columbia, charter schools produced “a weighted average of 17 NAEP points per $1,000 invested in math” and “16 NAEP points per $1,000 invested in reading.” This is a 40 percent productivity advantage in NAEP scores over TPS. Similarly, in reading, charter schools produced a 41 percent productivity advantage in NAEP scores over TPS.
  • Urban charter schools in certain cities had higher learning gains than TPS students. In Boston, for example, 92% of charter school students outperformed TPS students in math.


What’s more, it’s been documented that charter school competition improves other traditional schools:

  • After examining student performance in Michigan, a state with one of the strongest concentrations of charter schools, it was found that over four years “public schools that were subjected to charter competition raised their productivity and achievement in response.”


For more information, see facts about charter schools and charter school achievement. More research on charter schools can be found here.

For a wealth of data and information on Massachusetts, visit www.charterfactsma.org