Resources & Research

Toolkit |

District-Charter Collaboration: A User's Guide

This paper is intended for use by district and charter representatives interested in establishing a new collaboration or in increasing the effectiveness of an existing collaboration. The paper presents our methodology, an overview of the nature of district-charter collaborations, and a framework based on lessons learned from leaders involved in various capacities over the last fifteen years of these efforts.

The framework focuses on six factors critical to enabling a successful collaboration:

❯ Identify the Motivations for a District-Charter Collaboration

Report |

Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration

In Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration, authors Sara Mead and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel examine thirty-six jurisdictions that have both charter schools and state-funded pre-K programs to determine where charters can provide state-funded pre-K. Among the findings:
  • Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have both state-funded pre-K and charter laws. Of those, thirty-two have at least one charter school serving preschoolers.
Report |

Success for English Learners in Charter Schools

This study explores trends in English Learner (EL) student enrollments and academic outcomes in California’s charter schools. Our data analyses included the use of publicly available data to review public charter school student performance with that of traditional school performance. To better understand best practices with English Learner students, we interviewed numerous leaders of charter schools that have high EL populations and strong academic outcomes with their EL student populations.

Article |

Challenges for Charter School with Special Education: Issues of Concern for Charter School Authorizers and Service Providers

Charter schools, as one type of school choice, have been attracting a growing number of students since first inception in Minnesota in 1991. Although charter schools are a fledgling reform, they are already a significant part of the federal and state efforts to improve schools and have a growing number of students. Like traditional public schools, charter schools accept all students equally.

Toolkit |

Build A Strong Charter School Brand

"Build A Strong Charter School Brand", a free, downloadable guide designed for charter school administrators and leaders, addresses the common obstacles of funding, staffing, and enrollment head-on through relevant case studies, impactful data, and actionable exercises. This guide will help you and your team take the next big step in turning current roadblocks into future opportunities. You can find the guide here.

Report |

Charter School Laws Across the States 2015: Rankings and Scorecards


Strong charter laws feature independent, multiple authorizers, few limits on expansion, equitable funding, and high levels of school autonomy. CER’s rankings take into consideration not only the policy itself, but how that policy plays out on the ground and whether it can withstand the test of time and people. For instance, a law might look great in theory, but you cannot responsibly evaluate the quality of the law if no schools have opened.

Case Study |

STARTUP TEACHER EDUCATION: A Fresh Take on Teacher Credentialing

As education reformers across the country are working to improve student outcomes at scale, many are focusing on improving the teaching force.

Report |

Student Achievement in Charter Schools: What the Research Shows

The charter sector has grown dramatically since its beginnings in Minnesota almost a quarter of a century ago. Today, an estimated 2.5 million children attend approximately 6,400 charter schools across the country, and all but 8 states have charter laws in place. The expansion of the sector has been accompanied by an increase in public commentary about charter schools’ impact on student achievement.

Policy and Procedures |

The Legal Status of Charter Schools in State Statutory Law

     Since 1991, forty-two states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation for charter schools. While charter schools are generally characterized as “public schools,” courts have had a difficult time determining their legal status because charter schools contain both public and private characteristics.

Report |

Pushed Out? Low-Performing Students and New York City Charter Schools



The significant growth of charter schools in the United States has brought praise for the excellent results achieved by some schools as well as criticism that charter schools may not be serving the most disadvantaged students.