Sign up for our newsletter


Charter Schools Shine During COVID

According to national surveys and research, despite their size and scope, charter schools were faster to respond and more likely to keep educating after Covid-19’s arrival than traditional public schools.

Learning In Real Time: How Charter Schools Served Students During COVID-19 Closures
This paper offers evidence that smaller networks and schools that represent over 65% of the charter school landscape were able to respond quickly and take advantage of the freedom and flexibility that are built into the charter school model to respond to families. Vignettes in this report highlight some of the charter school leaders who exemplify the very best of resourcefulness.

The Education Exchange: A Lot of Lost Ground: Results from the Education Next Survey on Learning During the Pandemic
This nationwide survey revealed how charter schools quickly reacted to the challenges of COVID-19. "Across a range of the questions that we asked, you see a more robust response in the charter school sector and in the private school sector."

Analysis: How 18 Top Charter School Networks Are Adapting to Online Education, and What Other Schools Can Learn From Them
As public schools across the country build out remote learning plans to support students during school closures prompted by the novel coronavirus, some of the nation’s most prominent charter networks have made rapid leaps from the classroom to the cloud.

Why Many Charter Schools Were Better Prepared for Covid-19
“U.S. schools were not prepared for an overnight shift to virtual learning,” USA Today reported recently, a fact that became obvious to most parents as soon as schools were shut down by the pandemic. In fact, however, some schools—including many charter schools—were better prepared than most traditional public schools.


CER Research

R&E | 2019: The Road to Innovation is Paved with Experience

June 2019: The Path to Charter Schools
What they are, how they got here, and the real reason behind this innovation in public education

A brief but critical history of the charter school idea. “The Path To Charter Schools” is a first-hand account that corrects the myths and misinformation concerning charters circulating in the public eye.



Charting A New Course
The Case For Freedom, Flexibility & Opportunity Through Charter Schools

School Choice Today: Education Tax Credit Laws Across the States 2015 Ranking and Scorecard
Analysis and state-by-state comparisons where states are ranked not only based on the law itself, but real results of education tax credit programs. This is the second edition of CER's education tax credit report, which is meant to be a roadmap for lawmakers, parents, advocates and anyone else looking to bring about substantive change.

2015 Charter School Law Rankings & Scorecard
In this 16th edition of Charter School Laws Across the States: Rankings and Scorecard it is abundantly clear that little to no progress has been made over the past year.

School Choice Today: Voucher Laws Across the States
The first of its kind, the Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014 is an in-depth analysis and state-by-state comparison of the over two-dozen voucher programs currently in existence today.

School Choice Today: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014
The first of its kind, the Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014 provides an in-depth analysis and state-by-state comparison of the tax credit-funded scholarship programs.

2014 Charter School Law Rankings & Scorecard
The 15th edition of charter school laws across the states shows fewer than half of state charter school laws in the United States earn above-average grades.

2014 Survey of America's Charter Schools
CER's national overview of the day-to-day operations of charters reveals that charter schools are experiencing stronger parental demand than ever before, with the length of the average waiting list increasing from 233 in 2009 to 277 in 2012.

America’s Attitudes Towards Education Reform: Public Support for Accountability in Public Schools
Majorities of Americans support education policies that promote accountability, according to a nationwide survey released by The Center for Education Reform.

America’s Attitudes Towards Education Reform: Executive Summary
The American People Want Power and They Want Options. A plurality of Americans say that parents should have more power over their child’s education, including access to information and data about their child’s school.

Charter School Authorizers: The Truth About State Commissions
Every few years there is a flurry of activity across the country to create or amend state charter school laws. This paper shows how and why lawmakers and policy advocates need to revisit what has become a dangerous trend in charter policy debates.

2013 Charter School Law Report Card
14th annual review of state charter school policies indicates the national charter school movement is only making satisfactory progress after 21 years.

2013 Parent Power Index Special Report
See where your state stood in ensuring great learning opportunities for children in 2013 with this special back-to-school report.

The Essential Guide to Charter School Lawmaking: Model Legislation for States
This roadmap for policymakers and advocates focuses on essential elements of charter school law: Independent and Multiple Authorizers, Number of Schools Allowed, Operations, and Quality. This framework is based on 20 years of experience working with charter school leaders, policymakers, and legal experts, and reflects what actually works - and what doesn't - when it comes to ensuring sound charter school policy.

The South Supports Choice
The Center for Education Reform conducted a random survey of registered voters in North Carolina and Florida to gauge knowledge and perceptions of charter schools in each state. The results reveal that respondents in both North Carolina and Florida support having more school options and the creation of new charter schools.

2012: Charter School Laws Across the States — The Essential Guide to Charter School Law
Get a quick overview with the ranking & scorecard, and further insight from the web briefing.

The State of Charter Schools: What We Know – and What We Do Not – About Performance and Accountability
This CER report provides the first-ever national analysis regarding the number of charter schools that have closed since 1992, the basis by which authorizers ensure performance-based accountability. A state-by-state breakdown of closed charters can be accessed here. And, a webinar of the press event can be found here.

Policy Perspective: The Garden State’s Missed Opportunity
CER’s report reveals new evidence of transparency and objectivity flaws in the state’s charter school authorization process. The findings make a strong case in support of the bi-partisan effort to reform the law allowing the creation of multiple authorizers.

Fact-Checking School Choice Research
There are few issues in education that evoke more interest and emotion than school choice. Nearly 200,000 children benefit from choice programs in 12 states and DC. This new CER report looks at the impact school choice is having throughout the country.

Fact-Checking Charter School Achievement
Why some are saying only 1 in 5 charter schools perform, and why it’s wrong. Insight on the widely cited CREDO report.

How NYC Charter Schools Affect Achievement
This report shows that NYC charter school students will learn more over time than those students who remain in conventional public schools. Link here to the complete report How New York City's Charter Schools Affect Achievement, Second report in series. Cambridge, MA: New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project, September 2009. Principal Investigators: Caroline M. Hoxby, National Bureau of Economic Research and Stanford University, Sonali Murarka, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Jenny Kang, National Bureau of Economic Research

Saving Catholic Schools
The Center for Education Reform (CER) was asked to take a critical look at the issues facing struggling Catholic schools and determine if there were any new, untapped solutions worth exploring to stem their losses, reduce the closures, and sustain what is widely believed –– by educators and experts alike, regardless of catholicity –– to be a national treasure. This report puts forth suggestions -- a blueprint -- for saving Catholic schools.

All About CREDO:
A compilation of resources on the National 2009 report and state reports on charter school achievement from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) to help you understand critiques on the research methodology.


Other School Choice & Charter School Research

Charter High Schools’ Effects on Long-Term Attainment and Earnings
Confirming previous research (Booker et al., 2011) that charter school students are more likely to graduate high school and enroll in higher education, this study looks at charter school students' college persistence and earnings. Findings reveal charter high school graduates are more likely to stay in college and earn more money as adults. In Florida, 23-35 year olds who attended charter schools could earn as much as $2,300 higher compared to their peers who attended traditional public schools in the Sunshine State.

The Achievement Checkup: Tracking the Post-Elementary Outcomes of Baltimore Need-Based Scholarship Students
New report from The Friedman Foundation examines the Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore (CSFB), which disburses need-based scholarships to low-income students in grades K-8 to attend the school of their choosing, with the ultimate goal of improving educational attainment and outcomes for these students.

Report: School vouchers saved taxpayers $1.7 billion
Private school vouchers have saved taxpayers more than $1.7 billion since 1990, with nearly half of that coming from Florida’s McKay Scholarship for students with disabilities, according to a new report by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

What Do Mothers Say About K-12 Education?
A recent survey by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice polled a group of “school moms” and asked them several questions on the state of education in America. Click here to read some interesting findings from the survey.

Charter Schools Shortchanged During Recession
This snapshot of a larger study to be released in 2014 reveals funding inequities between traditional public schools and charter schools during the "Great Recession."

Vouchers Help Students AND Taxpayers
Very few government programs can claim a positive return on taxpayer investment. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) is one of them, and offers a 162 percent return on each taxpayer dollar invested in the program. Not only that, but the graduation rate for voucher students is 12 percentage points higher than those not using vouchers. Read More

The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment
A new study from The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institution reveals the positive impact that school vouchers may have on college enrollment, particularly for African-American students. This study, in conjunction with recent research on the DC Opportunity Scholarship, and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, makes a strong case that are producing long-term results for students that receive them.

The State of the NYC Charter School Sector (2012)
This report from the New York City Charter School Center gives an in-depth look into the city's charter schools data, demographics and achievement. Charters continue to be a viable alternative for parents looking to better their children's education in the Big Apple. Sixty-nine percent of New York City charter school students scored “proficient” or better on the state math test, compared to 57 percent for students enrolled in the city’s traditional public schools. New York City’s charter students slightly outperformed the city’s traditional public school students on the state reading assessment. Fortunately for New York City's students, next year more than two dozen new charter schools will open in the city, and it is expected that by 2017 charter schools will account for 10 percent of New York City public school enrollment.

CMOs Have Positive Impact on Student Learning Study Shows
Charter Management Organization (CMOs) schools represent 17% of our nation’s charter schools and are showing increased effectiveness over district schools, according to a recent study. CMOs are located in urban areas of specific states with charter laws that allow CMOs to manage and have autonomy. The 2-year study looks at student achievement, teacher performance and school management. Read a summary here.

Education Choice and Competition Index (2011)
New report grades 25 of the nation’s largest school districts according to 13 school choice and competition criteria. Interactive website arms public with data that can be used to push for changes that make school systems work better for students. The criteria look at various types of school choice, including virtual schooling options, all alternatives to traditional public schools, including charters and magnet, how accessible information on choice is available to the public, and quality of schools within districts based on performance data. New York City came out on top earning a B (no district received an A) with Chicago a close second, largely because of their alternative schools and process of families selecting their own high school. But of course, we have some higher standards than whether a district controls a parent's choices. Speaking of parent choices, see how much power your state affords parents with the Parent Power Index.

Parent, Student Satisfaction in New Orleans Charters
New Orleans has been a model of education reform, since Hurricane Katrina decimated the city and the school system in 2005. Currently, 70% of students in the Big Easy attend charter schools, and according to a new report by RAND Corp., their parents are more satisfied with their education. Forty-one percent of charter school parents gave their child’s school an A on a scale of A to F, as opposed to only 18% of conventional school parents. The satisfaction that parents and students have for their school of choice is undeniable and echoes other reports on the subject.

Los Angeles Catholic Schools: Impact and Opportunity for Economically Disadvantaged Student
This study follows students receiving tuition assistance to attend schools in the Los Angeles, California Archdiocese. It finds that 98.2 percent of those students graduate high school and an almost equal percentage continue on to some type of post-secondary education. Graduation rates for the Los Angeles Unified School District, however, are as low as 55 percent. This study concludes that Catholic schools make a great contribution not only to the Catholic community but also to the common good of American society. Click the title for an executive summary, or access the full report here.

Search choice-and-charter-schools

Return to parent issue