Abstract

Using an individual panel data set to control for student fixed effects, we estimate the impact of charter schools on students in charter schools and in nearby traditional public schools. We find that students make considerably smaller achievement gains in charter schools than they would have in public schools. The large negative estimates of the effects of attending a charter school are neither substantially biased, nor substantially offset, by positive impacts of charter schools on traditional public schools. Finally, we find suggestive evidence that about 30 percent of the negative effect of charter schools is attributable to high rates of student turnover.

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