Charter school authorizers and programming: Searching for best practices in Michigan
Hinrichs, Peter L.
Policymakers lack hard evidence that points toward specific educational best practices for charter schools at the school and authorizer level. This study uses proficiency rates and scale scores on the MEAP standardized exam to identify differences in the effectiveness of authorizers, school-level practices, and curricula among charter schools in Michigan. Following the work of Carlson, Lavery, and Witte (2012), I compare university-authorized charter schools to district-authorized charter schools but find little difference in proficiency rates or scale scores in individual grades or for white, black, and FRL-eligible subgroups. However, I am able to specifically identify several authorizers in Michigan as having below-average performance. I also find significant achievement gains associated with schools that use Core Knowledge and Montessori curricula, no positive achievement effects associated with arts-based curricula, and negative effects from attending a virtual charter school. Finally, I conduct a secondary analysis of charter school expulsions and conclude that it is unlikely that the achievement effects I observe are related to differences in the expulsion policies of charter schools.
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