A sudden shift in the spring to effective online learning challenged all schools—but we quickly began to see anecdotal evidence of some charter schools reacting quickly and serving students well. In a new report we wrote with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, we offer evidence that some charter schools—smaller networks and schools that make up the majority of charters—were able to respond quickly to students’ and families’ needs, taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility built into the charter school model. Read what the schools did alongside vignettes highlighting some of the charter schools and their leaders.
We based the report on a database we created of 356 charter school operators, similar to the one CPRE (the Center on Reinventing Public Education) created in the spring that tracked some of the nation’s largest public school districts.
Our key findings:
- Charter schools appear more likely than school districts to set expectations that teachers:
- Engage directly with students to provide instruction.
- Provide real-time instruction.
- Check in regularly with students.
- Monitor attendance.
- School districts and charter schools were about equally likely to require the distribution of devices for online learning.
- Charter schools appear less likely than school districts to ensure internet access for all students.
- Few charter schools or school districts clearly communicate on websites how schools will support students with disabilities during COVID‑19 closures.
Charter schools were already known for their innovation, and the findings in this report show their ability and potential to adapt to students’ needs in unexpected circumstances.