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A commonly expressed concern is that charter school expansion will be particularly harmful for at-risk TPS students. I therefore explore the differential impacts of charters on multiple subgroups, stratifying the sample based on student characteristics. As shown in table 5, charter school entry increases math performance among all subgroups of TPS students, except Hispanic students, Asian students, and students who are ever classified as LEP, who experience no significant effect with the exception of Asian students in TPSs located between 0 and one-half mile of a charter school. Perhaps more striking is that charter schools may be particularly beneficial to students who are ever poor or eligible for special education services—who represent particularly at-risk groups. Results for ELA are generally in the same direction, but less significant, with the exception of Hispanic students who experience significant gains in ELA performance after charter school entry (Appendix table A.1). This indicates that charter schools tend to increase or at the very least, do not harm, the performance of at-risk student populations in nearby TPSs.

Table 5.
Subgroup Analyses, Effects of Charter Schools on Math Scores, any Charter within One Mile with Pre-trends, AY 1997—2010
PoorSpecial EducationLEP
Black (1)Hispanic (2)White (3)Asian (4)Ever (5)Never (6)Ever (7)NeverEver (8)Never
Charter           
Co-located 0.118*** 0.017 0.449** 0.035 0.073** 0.000 0.079** 0.072** −0.005 0.087** 
 (0.040) (0.038) (0.178) (0.116) (0.034) (0.073) (0.040) (0.036) (0.040) (0.038) 
Within 1/2 mile 0.034*** 0.001 0.011 −0.051*** 0.013** 0.049** 0.025** 0.018*** −0.004 0.020*** 
 (0.008) (0.008) (0.024) (0.018) (0.006) (0.019) (0.010) (0.006) (0.015) (0.006) 
Within 1 mile 0.013* 0.001 0.019 −0.015 0.002 0.020 0.003 0.007 0.002 0.007 
 (0.008) (0.008) (0.021) (0.013) (0.006) (0.018) (0.009) (0.006) (0.013) (0.006) 
Observations 812,426 753,192 166,969 163,698 1,720,455 182,207 233,280 1,669,382 194,441 1,708,221 
R2 0.379 0.395 0.437 0.409 0.415 0.462 0.349 0.440 0.291 0.439 
PoorSpecial EducationLEP
Black (1)Hispanic (2)White (3)Asian (4)Ever (5)Never (6)Ever (7)NeverEver (8)Never
Charter           
Co-located 0.118*** 0.017 0.449** 0.035 0.073** 0.000 0.079** 0.072** −0.005 0.087** 
 (0.040) (0.038) (0.178) (0.116) (0.034) (0.073) (0.040) (0.036) (0.040) (0.038) 
Within 1/2 mile 0.034*** 0.001 0.011 −0.051*** 0.013** 0.049** 0.025** 0.018*** −0.004 0.020*** 
 (0.008) (0.008) (0.024) (0.018) (0.006) (0.019) (0.010) (0.006) (0.015) (0.006) 
Within 1 mile 0.013* 0.001 0.019 −0.015 0.002 0.020 0.003 0.007 0.002 0.007 
 (0.008) (0.008) (0.021) (0.013) (0.006) (0.018) (0.009) (0.006) (0.013) (0.006) 
Observations 812,426 753,192 166,969 163,698 1,720,455 182,207 233,280 1,669,382 194,441 1,708,221 
R2 0.379 0.395 0.437 0.409 0.415 0.462 0.349 0.440 0.291 0.439 

Notes: All distance indicators are mutually exclusive. Co-located charter equals 1 for a student in all years that a charter school is open in the same building as the first school she is observed attending. Charter within 1/2 mile equals 1 for a student in all years that the closest charter school is located more than 0 but less than 1/2 mile from the traditional public school (TPS) she was first observed attending. Charter within 1 mile equals 1 for a student in all years that the closest charter school is located more than 1/2 but less than 1 mile from the TPS she was first observed attending. All models contain individual-level controls for gender, recent immigrant, lagged test scores, residence borough, grade, year, school effects, controls for 3, 4—6, and 7—9 years prior to charter entry (10—14 years is the omitted category), and where appropriate, controls for race, free and reduced-price lunch eligibility, special education status, and limited English proficiency (LEP). Standard errors are clustered at the school-year level. Robust standard errors in parentheses.

***p < 0.01; **p < 0.05; *p < 0.1.

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