Get the Facts

Statewide, 18 charter schools – many of them urban – finished first in all of Massachusetts on 2014 MCAS tests.
The percentage of charter school students who are English language learners is increasing, and has surpassed the statewide average.
Massachusetts has 81 charter schools. As of October 2015, 41,000 students attended charter schools across the state, while another 37,000 are currently on waiting lists.
Compared to their district school peers, a higher percentage of Massachusetts charter public school students are scoring proficient or advanced in all subject tests at every grade level.


 Charter schools are helping students succeed all across Massachusetts…


Charter schools are public schools. Authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Education Reform Act of 1993, charter schools are independent public schools that operate under five year charters granted by the Commonwealth's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.


About 4 percent of the state’s public school students attend charter schools, which are concentrated in urban areas. 


There is a charter public school wait list of 37,000 students throughout the Commonwealth.


Statewide, 18 charter schools – many of them urban – finished first in all of Massachusetts on 2014 MCAS tests.


Charter schools are helping students succeed in Boston…


In 2015 a Stanford University study found that Boston charters are doing more to eliminate the achievement gap between richer and poorer students than any other group of public schools in the country.


A 2009 study commissioned by the Boston Foundation and conducted by Harvard and MIT researchers found that Boston charter schools dramatically outperformed their district counterparts.


Charter schools are serving ALL groups of students…


Charter schools are increasingly serving percentages of special education and ELL students that are similar to their district peers.


The percentage of charter school students who are English language learners has surpassed the statewide average for the second year in a row, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


The percentage of ELL students enrolled in Boston charter schools has increased from about 2.5 percent to 12 percent in just four years, and is trending upward.


A 2015 MIT study finds that both special education students and ELLs at Boston charter schools experienced larger test score gains than their Boston Public Schools peers.


Special education students in Boston charter schools are more likely to become eligible for a state merit scholarship, take Advanced Placement tests, and score higher on SATs.



Charter schools are not draining resources from districts…


Massachusetts school districts receive state reimbursements for six years after a student leaves.  They get 100 percent of the funding they would have received had the student stayed during the first year, then 25 percent for the next five years. 



There is public support for more charter schools:


Massachusetts Governor Baker has filed legislation to raise the cap on the number of charter schools that can be opened in the commonwealth.


A 2016 statewide ballot campaign to allow more charter schools has received well over the required number of signatures to move ahead.


Attorneys from three leading Boston law firms have filed a lawsuit on behalf of students who have been denied equal access to educational opportunity because of the charter cap.




Pioneer Institute report: Massachusetts Charter Public Schools: Best Practices Serving English Language Learners


CommonWealth Magazine: “Charters are answering the call on English language learners”


Adrian Walker column in The Boston Globe: “A false debate over charter schools”


State House News Service: M.I.T. research finds special needs students benefit from charter school education


Boston Herald: Mass. needs more charter schools


MassLive: Charter schools enrolling more English language learners, students with disabilities, state says


More resources:


Poll Finds Likely Massachusetts Voters Overwhelmingly Favor More School Choice


Debunking the Myths About Charter Public Schools


Putting Children First: The History of Charter Public Schools in Massachusetts


Follow the Money: Charter School and District Funding in Massachusetts