A recent study
by Mathematica Policy Research and the Center on Reinventing Public Education takes a different tack than recent comparisons of charter schools with non-charters to examine the performance of the charter management organizations (CMOs) that have doubled their reach in this sector over the last decade. The CMOs were categorized on the basis of their schools' 1) emphasis on school-wide behavior plans, 2) teaching coaching, 3) instructional time, 4) use of formative assessment, and 5) performance-based compensation. While the overall impact of CMOs on student performance is mixed, the CMOs that had comprehensive behavior plans and intensive teacher coaching did show large positive gains.
Good to know, but since it's clear by now that the fact that a school is a charter has no bearing on whether it can have more of an impact on its students' performance than any other school, it would be nice to determine if the fact that a charter is part of a CMO has any bearing on its impact. Unfortunately, the extent to which CMOs add value compared to independent charter schools was one that this study was "not designed to precisely measure." Given the increasing penetration of these organizations into an educational landscape that is already chock-full of bureaucracies, it sure would be nice to know if they do add value sooner rather than later. Julie Greenberg