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The Next Generation of Charter School Innovation and Impact

The rapid growth of the charter school sector in its early years was often framed as an opportunity to improve public education. Charter schools, with fewer bureaucratic hurdles, would be able to innovate and create a pipeline for improvement strategies that could circle back to the district-run schools and help everybody.

Looking back at the 25-year history of charter schools, researchers have tried to assess the impact of the sector on overall achievement. Results have been mixed. Some urban charters have been able to consistently outperform district-run schools while others have done no more than match achievement — or, in the worst cases, offer an inferior education.