School choice is increasingly the new normal in urban education. But in cities with multiple public school options, how can civic leaders create a choice system that works for all families, whether they choose a charter or district school? To answer this question, CRPE has been studying the opportunities and challenges in “”high-choice”” cities. We have interviewed civic and education leaders and surveyed parents to identify challenges like uneven school quality and lack of transportation. We’ve also studied ways cities can overcome barriers, such as unified enrollment and common accountability systems, to learn what works and what needs to be refined.
Charter schools offer the potential to create high-performing public schools in districts typically plagued by poor student outcomes. Too often, however, the charter school debate is marred by biased research and polemics. Like all important reform efforts, credible research and analysis must accompany innovation. To assess whether charter schools are fulfilling their mission, we rigorously evaluate their performance, costs, and ability to address unique student needs. New data and evidence help innovators across the country collaborate, communicate, and develop best practices.