Why Do Charter Schools Close?

This month, The Center for Education Reform recently released a comprehensive analysis of charter schools titled, “The State of Charter Schools – What We Know – and What We Do Not – About Performance and Accountability” by Alison Consoletti, Vice President of Research. Consoletti published this study largely in response to all of the negative press and gross generalizations about charter schools and why so many end up shutting their doors.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
“Whether and how charter schools succeed is dependent on an extensive array of factors that are unique to this reform. From the way a law is written, to which regulations are or are not required, to the structure of the authorizing, to the financing, to the actual integrity of the data reported by local and state institutions which are often not comparable, the quality state of charter schools in the US is not as cut and dry as the popular sound bite—“there are too many lousy charter schools”—might sound.
What’s the reality? Are poorly performing or problematic charter schools being closed? When in a failing charter’s existence is this occurring? Where is this happening? For what reasons? These questions are essential to determining if charter schools are working. Knowing what happens to charter schools that fail is as critical as getting a clean look at gold-standard data that compares similar, live children in nearly identical circumstances.
Of the dozens of state and national entities that collect data about charters, only a handful actually document achievement from year to year, and only one — the publisher of this report — formally and annually collects, analyzes, and assesses the schools that are approved, opened and closed from year to year.


Related: According to this same article from The Center for Education Reform,  66% of charter school failures are due to financial reasons (42%) and mismanagement (24%). We can infer that, in most of these cases, schools closed because of a lack of funds or because the funds weren’t managed well. Fewer than 20% closed due to academic issues. To learn more, download our Charter School Growth Manual.
why do charter schools close


That general data shows that, not only do charters schools deliver on student achievement, but a substantial percentage of charter schools are closed from year to year for reasons that any school should be closed. Far from a condemnation, these data points suggest a movement that has been amenable to course correction and closure since its inception.
Closing a charter school requires, first, that some government entity has enough data and authority to make an assessment. Second, once revealed, the assessment data must be available
to the public and the media, so that pressure can be brought to bear to intervene and account for whatever failures are discovered. Regular, ongoing news reports must reveal the processes that are at play even when no one sees them. The fact that such reports often do result in positive change should make every charter advocate not only proud, but interested to know the facts.
That those facts seem often to escape some charter leaders, who prefer generalizations to clear, unambiguous achievement data (which sadly, is often lacking or unusable) is the reason for this report, which reveals not only that charters are successful, but also that accountability for results is alive and well in a way that is unique to these public schools.”
Charter School Capital is proud to support The Center for Education Reform and other transformational organizations that support charter schools across the United States. To learn more about Charter School Capital, please visit our What We Do page.


charter school financingThe Charter Leader’s Definitive Guide to Budgeting Best Practices

Over the past decade, we’ve reviewed thousands of charter school budgets and helped guide countless schools through their charter school financing processes. Year after year, we see many charter schools make the same mistakes when budgeting for the academic year. To help you achieve your goals, we’ve put together this informative and thorough guide to share best practices and call out common pitfalls to avoid.
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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!

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