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Comparing New School Effects in Charter and Traditional Public Schools

Tom Loveless and Andrew P. Kelly
American Journal of Education
Vol. 118, No. 4 (August 2012), pp. 427-453
DOI: 10.1086/666370
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/666370
Page Count: 27
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Comparing New School Effects in Charter and Traditional Public Schools
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Abstract

This study investigates whether student achievement varies during the institutional life span of charter schools by comparing them to new public schools. The results show that there is little evidence that new public schools struggle with initial start-up issues to the same extent as new charter schools. Even after controlling for school characteristics, new public schools generally perform about as well as one would predict given their demographic and socioeconomic profile. New public schools hit the ground running and maintain steady performance, while new charter schools begin to improve after their first year and slowly close the gap. Other studies have found that new charter schools are susceptible to what we label a “new school effect,” where performance starts off low and then declines or remains stagnant during the first few years of operation. We find little evidence of this pattern for either new charter or new public schools.

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