NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Public Schools or Charter Schools: Who is Likely to See Students Transferring Out?

March 17, 2015

Under-performing youth in the charter school system are not any more likely to switch schools than their counterparts in the traditional school system. A simple statistical analysis of New York City's charter schools compared to public schools shows that children with disabilities or students in the process of learning English are more likely to stay in charter schools. This fact rejects the notion that children who are behind may be significantly discriminated against.

  • Only 16 percent of departing students from NYC charter schools are below average in language arts, with traditional public school students trailing at 15 percent.
  • Typically, differences in the number of exiting and below average students for NYC charter schools and traditional schools were less than 1 percent, and were not deemed statistically significant by the regression analysis that followed.
  • At just over 12 percent, there were fewer departing students from charter schools who were below average in mathematics.

Comprehensive empirical research has confirmed that students who do not perform well in school are more likely to leave and change schools multiple times. The same research did not support the idea that this phenomenon was only happening in charter schools.

Source: Marcus A. Winters, "Pushed Out? Low-Performing Students and New York City Charter Schools," Manhattan Institute, March 2015.


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