Is There Empirical Evidence That Charter Schools “Push Out” Low-Performing Students?

Is There Empirical Evidence That Charter Schools “Push Out” Low-Performing Students?

Issue/Topic: Choice of Schools--Charter Schools
Author(s): Guarino, Cassandra; Zimmer, Ron
Organization(s): Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis
Publication: Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis
Published On: 9/4/2013

As publicly funded schools of choice, charter schools are expected to serve all types of students; however, there is concern that because charter schools lack incentive to serve low-achieving students, they not only lure the best students away from traditional public schools, but "push out" the lowest achieving students.

To examine exit patterns of low-performing students in all charter and traditional public schools in a large urban school district to determine whether the patterns are consistent with the claim that charter schools are pushing out low-performing students


Policy Implications/Recommendations:
Full text is available from:
Research Design:
Formal regression model, including sensitivity analyses

Students attending school in an anonymous, large urban school district containing a large number of charter schools.

Year data is from:


Data Collection and Analysis:
Student-level data was tracked in an anonymous, large school district with a high concentration of low-income students, nearly 80% of whom qualified for free and reduced lunch. To track students exiting charter schools and traditional public schools, data on race/ethnicity, gender, special needs, LEP, test scores, school of attendance, and grade enrolled for each school year from 2000-01 through 2006-07 were collected.

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