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Charter Network Success

An analysis of charter school types that successfully prepare students for college and beyond

For nearly two decades, the research consensus on the effectiveness of charter schools has been that charters on average produce no better results than traditional public schools, despite individual success stories where data shows that certain charter schools do an exceptional job at supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

GreatSchools’ 2019 College Success Awards highlighted high schools, including public charter schools, that are successfully preparing students to enroll and persist in college.

Our analysis of charter schools in the 18 states where we had enough data to track their students into college found that charter schools qualified for a College Success Award at nearly twice the rate for all schools. Moreover, winning charter schools that are part of a larger organization—charter management organizations (CMOs) or education management organizations (EMOs)—had significantly more diverse student populations—a finding which suggests that these networks are indeed living up to their stated goals of serving all students well. This paper highlights what the CSA results reveal about successful charter networks and freestanding charter schools. Download report.

This paper is part of a series of reports which identify promising practices among high schools and districts based on findings from GreatSchools’ 2019 College Success Awards.

Also in this series:

What Makes a District Succeed?
A closer look at school districts that are preparing their underserved students for college and beyond.

Success without Selection
Identifying district high schools that help underserved students enroll and persist in college.


For more information about this report, contact Carrie Goux.

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