The great charter closure wave of 2017 and the bad charter politics of 2019

I was recently reviewing historical charter school data and was stuck by the amount of closures in 2017.

Across just five states, authorizers closed 142 schools (TX, CA, AZ, FL, OH). In Ohio, nearly 10% of charter schools  were closed.

These closures impacted 2% of total charter schools nationwide.

In this same year, only 309 charter schools opened.

I think these trends will continue. The charter community is increasingly policing its own; parents are walking away from bad schools; and the worsening charter school politics means less political tolerance for the worst actors.

One potential irony of anti-charter activity is it will make overall charter school quality better.

The worst schools will be more likely to be closed. And new openings will be increasingly dominated by established operators with good track records who have the resources to grow in bad conditions.

To be clear: I don’t love the current tough politics around charters. I think it will slow down growth and innovation, which will reduce educational opportunity for kids who struck in really bad public schools.

But, relatively speaking, it will increase charter school quality.

I predict that in 2023, if CREDO replicates its 2013 national charter study, the charter effect will be higher (with statistical significance).


1 thought on “The great charter closure wave of 2017 and the bad charter politics of 2019


    charter schools are 1 option of many.. home schooling, private, religiously sponsored, conventionally pubic. Alongside of course, there have been ideological components involving teachers and teacher’s unions; masquerading as ‘school choice’ and ‘accountability’.The performances of many larger, urban districts however are unacceptable [and frankly have been..Institutions, of any kind, are loathe to self-reform.. it may be an impossibility] leading to challenges and searches for viable alternatives. it seems to me we are still searching.


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