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Meeting of the Board of Regents | April 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 11:00pm

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EMSC Committee


Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Research Report on Charter Schools in New York State


April 13, 2009



Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Discussion


The Education Finance Research Consortium’s proposal for providing the Regents with a research report on charter schools in New York State. 


Reason(s) for Consideration


For information


Proposed Handling


This item will be discussed by the Regents EMSC Committee in April 2009.


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.  In March of 2009, the EMSC Committee discussed the possibility of a comprehensive, research-based report on charter schools in New York State and possible issues for inclusion in the report


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.  Possible issues for inclusion in such a report were suggested by members of the Board of Regents as well as by the field. 


In March, staff reported to the EMSC Committee that discussions were underway with the Education Finance Research Consortium (EFRC) to determine if the Consortium could undertake some or all of the research that would be necessary to produce the kind of research-based report that the Regents have suggested and what data and Department staff commitment would be necessary. 


This month, Dr. James Wyckoff from the EFRC Governing Board will attend the EMSC Committee meeting to discuss the EFRC’s research report proposal with the Regents and respond to questions.   Dr. Wyckoff will describe the EFRC’s proposal which is a multi-phase report that would include examining the effectiveness of charter schools in New York State, a descriptive analysis of charter schools that would look at issues including where charter schools have developed, who attends charter schools,  how expenditure patterns compare between charter schools and other public schools, whether charter schools have influenced change in other public schools, etc., as well as a review of existing studies on charter schools in New York and other states.   Dr. Wyckoff will provide the Regents with a crosswalk of the specific issues the Regents have suggested for inclusion in the report and in which phase of the report those issues would be addressed. 


It is important to note that in order to conduct the effectiveness study of charter schools in New York State, the EFRC will first have to determine if the needed data exists and how much work will be involved in cleaning and managing the data for a study of this kind.  In addition, the EFRC will also need the assistance of Department staff in EMSC, especially the Office of Information and Reporting Services (the data office) in accessing and working with the data.  It may be necessary to adjust the proposed timelines for the report as work progresses and the EFRC can assess the amount of time it will take to access, clean and manage the data and as Department staff manage this work in combination with other workload demands. 






The Regents should review the EFRC’s proposal for the research-based report on charter schools in New York State, raise any questions/issues with Dr. Wyckoff and decide whether or not to go forward with this research project. 


Timetable for Implementation


Before any expenditure of funds for this project can move forward, approval from the Division of the Budget will be required.  If the Regents decide to go forward with this project, staff will submit the necessary request to the Division of the Budget.