Is Charter School Competition in California Improving the Performance of Traditional Public Schools?
Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2009
Copyright © 2009 The American Society for Public Administration
Public Administration Review
Volume 69, Issue 5, pages 831–845, September/October 2009
How to Cite
Zimmer, R. and Buddin, R. (2009), Is Charter School Competition in California Improving the Performance of Traditional Public Schools?. Public Administration Review, 69: 831–845. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2009.02033.x
- Issue online: 24 AUG 2009
- Version of Record online: 24 AUG 2009
A premise of charter school initiatives has been that these schools have direct benefits for the students attending them and indirect benefits for other students by creating competition for traditional public schools to improve their performance. This study uses a two-pronged approach to assess whether California charter schools are having indirect effects on students in traditional public schools. First, we examine how traditional public school principals react to the introduction of charter schools. Second, we assess whether competition from nearby charters is affecting student achievement outcomes for students that remain in traditional public schools. The survey results show that traditional public school principals felt little competitive pressure from charters. Similarly, the student achievement analysis shows that charter competition was not improving the performance of traditional public schools. These results suggest that California charter schools are having little effect on the climate of traditional public schools.