Differences on Balance: National Comparisons of Charter and Traditional Public Schools

Many average enrollment differences between charters and all traditional public schools (TPSs) disappear when charters are compared to just the subset of TPSs located near charter schools.

Although similar on average, charters often differ substantially from their neighbors in opposite extremes; many serve more students with a given characteristic, while many others serve fewer.

Compared to their neighboring TPSs, charter schools serve disproportionately more black students, fewer Hispanic students, and both more and fewer white students.

Charter schools serve smaller proportions of special education students than neighboring TPSs, as is often claimed, but they serve even smaller proportions of limited English proficient students, which is not well documented.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom on charter school discipline, many more charters report lower suspension rates compared to neighboring TPSs than report higher rates.

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