The Growing Segmentation of the Charter School Sector in North Carolina

Journal Article

A defining characteristic of charter schools is that they introduce a strong market element into public education. In this paper, we examine through the lens of a market model the evolution of the charter school sector in North Carolina between 1999 and 2012. We examine trends in the mix of students enrolled in charter schools, the racial imbalance of charter schools, patterns in student match quality by schools’ racial composition, and the distributions of test score performance gains compared to those in traditional public schools. In addition, we use student fixed effects models to examine plausibly causal measures of charter school effectiveness. Our findings indicate that charter schools in North Carolina are increasingly serving the interests of relatively able white students in racially imbalanced schools and that despite improvements in the charter school sector over time, charter schools are still no more effective on average than traditional public schools.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ladd, HF; Clotfelter, CT; Holbein, JB

Published In

  • Education Finance and Policy

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 536 - 563