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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                                             







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Development of a Ten-year Report on Charter Schools in New York State




March 11, 2009



Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Discussion


The development of a ten-year report on charter schools in New York State.

Reason(s) for Consideration


              For information


Proposed Handling


This item will come before the EMSC Committee in March 2009 for discussion.


Procedural History


In 2003, a five-year report on charter schools was approved by the Board of Regents and submitted to the Governor and Legislature as required by the New York State Charter Schools Act.


Background Information


The New York Charter Schools Act, (Education Law, Article 56), was enacted in 1998 to “authorize a system of charter schools to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently of existing schools and school districts.”   

 In addition to annual reports that include major data elements such as student enrollment disaggregated by grade, gender, and ethnicity; the reported number of student with disabilities served by charter schools; the reported number of English language learners served by charter schools; fiscal impact upon sending districts; and results on State assessments, the Charter Schools Act also included a requirement that, in 2003 (the fifth year of charter schools in New York State), the Board of Regents “review the educational effectiveness of the charter school approach authorized by this article and the effect of charter schools on the public and nonpublic school systems,”   and provide a report to the Governor and Legislature.  That five-year report was approved by the Regents in December 2003 and submitted to the Governor and Legislature.   

Members of the Board of Regents have suggested that, now that we are at the ten-year point for charter schools in New York State, it is time for a comprehensive, research-based report that goes beyond the basic data reporting required by the statute and examines whether charter schools have met the goals of the legislation as well as other related issues.  The following list of possible issues for inclusion in this report is based on conversations with members of the Board of Regents and suggestions from the field.  Additional issues for consideration will be added as we continue discussions.   


Student Performance

  • Have charter schools improved student learning and achievement?
  • How do performance results for students with similar demographic characteristics in charter schools and other public schools compare?
  • Do charter school students who enter below proficiency levels show “substantial and sustained gains” over time?


Student Profile/Demographics

  • How do the demographics of students attending charter schools and other public schools in the school district compare and what are the reasons for differences?
  • What efforts are made by charter schools to enroll and retain students with disabilities and English language learners?
  • What are the characteristics of students who leave charter schools mid-year?


Innovation/Models of Best Practices

  • What are the unique features of successful charter schools that might serve as models?
  • Have charter schools encouraged the use of different and innovative teaching methods?
  • Have charter schools created new professional opportunities for teachers, school administrators and other school personnel?
  • Have charter schools provided parents and students with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system? 
  • Are there partnerships between charter schools and districts where the charter schools serve as models? 
  • Have charter schools influenced change in other public schools? If so, in what areas (e.g., policy, curriculum, program offerings)?
  • What are the unique features of unsuccessful charter schools?


Fiscal Impact/management Issues

  • What impact has the charter school funding formula had on the local school districts?
  • What are the facility issues for charter schools, especially in New York City?
  • Do for-profit management companies improve charter school performance?
  • What is the total fiscal impact of charter schools on the school districts of location?
  • What has been the overall effect/impact of the charter school movement in New York, to date (fiscal, academic, etc.)?
  • Do charter schools benefit from private fund sources not available to non-charter schools?


 This report needs to be research-based. To that end, we have begun conversations with the Education Finance Research Consortium (EFRC) to determine if they could undertake some or all of the research that would be necessary to produce an independent, research-based report since the Department does not have the capacity to do independent research.  The Consortium governing board is looking at the issues that we have described to them thus far and will let us know if they can provide research and analysis on any or all of the suggested issues and what data would be needed to do the work.  Once we have a response from the Consortium, we will come back to the Regents to discuss whether or not a ten-year report can be developed, what it would include and a proposed time-line for the preparation and submission of the report. 




              The Regents should provide guidance on other issues for inclusion in a ten-year report on charter schools in New York State.  



Timetable for Implementation