• Charter Law and Charter Outcomes: Re-Examining the Charter School Marketplace
    Year: 2006

  • Abstract:
    This paper provides a new outlook on the charter school policy environment by examining the layers of legal provisions in states’ charter laws. The paper examines two key questions. First, what are the political and policy conditions that facilitate a system that is more supportive of charter reform and growth? Second, what are the likely consequences of this political and legal variation on charter school and public school performance? Drawing on a newly created Charter Legislation and Policy database, the researchers use a political science state politics framework to perform preliminary empirical analysis on both of these questions. The results suggest that state level political and economic variables do not easily explain the formation of charter school policy. These empirical results, along with the finding of significant internal variation in charter laws, suggest that a new paradigm may be in order for connecting charter school law to charter school outcomes. Rather than focusing solely on state-to-state variation, the researchers propose a model which more explicitly focuses on the multiple layers within each individual state’s charter code.

The NCSC is funded by a 5 year, $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Its lead institution is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The center is housed on the campus of Peabody College, one of the nation's top graduate schools of education.