WHAT ARE CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
Charter public schools, authorized by the Education Reform Act of 1993, are an important part of the Massachusetts public school system. Since the fall of 1995, the Massachusetts charter public school sector has grown from an initial cohort of 15 schools to over 72 programmatically diverse schools across the state.
CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE GREATER AUTONOMY
Schools operate under five-year “charters” granted by the Commonwealth’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Charter public schools have greater flexibility in how they approach key areas of school life, including:
WHERE ARE CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN MASSACHUSETTS?
- Students 50,000 +
- Teachers 3,800 +
- Schools 72
- Urban 37
- Boston 15
- Suburban 14
- Rural 6
charter public schools serve a diverse student population
CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE POSITIVELY IMPACTING STUDENTS AND FAMILIES
Students are more likely to meet grade-level expectations*
*This figure shows the percent of students in each group in Grades 3-8 who met or exceeded grade-level expectations on the 2019 MCAS tests. Data come from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education School and District Profiles and are based on a comparison between 64 Commonwealth charter public schools and district public schools from across the state. In addition to 3-8 data, students in Grade 10 enrolled in charter public schools were slightly more likely to meet or exceed grade-level expectations on the MCAS than their peers in district schools.
*This figure shows the percent of 2018 high school graduates who enrolled in a post-secondary institution by March of 2019. Data come from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education School and District profiles and are based on a comparison between 34 Commonwealth charter public high schools and district public schools across the state.
**This figure shows the percent of students from the 2015 High School Graduation Cohort who graduated high school, matriculated into college and re-enrolled for a second year. Data come from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’ District Analysis Review Tool and are based on a comparison between 30 Commonwealth charter public high schools and district public schools from across the state.
Children in Massachusetts charter schools gained an additional one and half months of learning in reading and an additional two and half months in math, compared to similar students in district schools.
Boston charter public schools provided a typical student with 12 months of additional learning per year in reading and 13 months of additional learning per year in math.
*Based on Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes studies; data compares Massachusetts charter public school students to district students from the same demographic backgrounds and charter public schools to the district schools the students formerly attended.
Hear From Our Students, Families, and Teachers
- Rachel Wetschensky is a literacy specialist at Prospect Hill Academy.
- Deb Merriam is the Academic Dean as well as a parent of a student at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School.
- Rachel Jean-Louis is a former student and Middle School Principal at Community Charter School of Cambridge.