If you’re at all interested in school choice, you really should read a trio of recent reports.
They’re unusually informative. The CREDO study on urban chartering found that most city-based charter school sectors are producing substantially more academic growth than comparable district-run schools (others’ take on the report here, here, and here).
The Brookings “Education Choice and Competition Index” rates the school choice environment in 107 cities. An interactive tool helps you see how the cities compare with one another on everything from the accessibility of non-assigned educational options and the availability of school information to policies on enrollment, funding, and transportation.
The NACSA report on state policies associated with charter school accountability attempts to describe how laws, regulations, and authorizer practices interact to influence charter quality. The report translates NACSA’s excellent “principles and standards” for quality authorizing into a tool for describing, assessing, and comparing states (TBFI Ohio on the report here).
I could write at length about the finer points of each. They all have valuable arguments and findings.
But I want to call your attention to something in particular. The Brookings and NACSA reports assess environmental conditions (inputs) that might influence charter school performance (outputs). The CREDO study gauges charters’ academic growth relative to district-run schools (an output measure).
So I created two scatter plots to see how each of the inputs correlates with the output. For CREDO, I use an average of each city’s reading and math effects. For Brookings, I use each city’s score. I apply NACSA’s state score to each city in its borders.
Brookings and CREDO are positively correlated; the more choice and competition a city has, the higher-performing its charter sector.