Advice | August 22, 2017 5:00 am

How Charter Schools Contribute to the Success of Public Schools

A new study found charter schools had a positive efffect on their neighbors.

A new study finds that traditional public schools should want to be as close as possible to charter schools, and ideally share a building with one, writes The Atlantic

The study showed that there were small increases in math and reading scores and test score gains increased slightly more in public schools that were close to charters in New York City.

For example, a school within a half-mile of a charter school saw significant bumps in math and reading scores, “estimates that are boosted with greater numbers of nearby charter schools.” These test score bumps were even more pronounced when the traditional school and charter school shared the same buildings, an arrangement that has drawn criticism from many educators and parents.

The peer-reviewed study is set to be published in the journal Education Finance and Policy. It is based on student-level data from nearly 900,000 third-through-fifth-graders between 1996 and 2010.

Sarah Cordes, a professor at Temple University and the study’s author, thinks that the results are an effect of the competition “stoked by charters.” She thinks that the charter schools create pressure on public-school administrators to improve the quality of their schools.

“I think having that close a proximity might really get administrators to get their act together,” Cordes said to The Atlantic. “Part of it is just that it’s really hard to ignore a charter school in your building.”

Critics can pull something from the study as well though because it does give evidence that existing schools do lose some students when charters open nearby.

However, Cordes concluded that the population changes weren’t big enough to influence test scores, writes The Atlantic.