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Quantity Counts: The Growth of Charter School Management Organizations

The rapid national expansion of Green Dot Public Schools and the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) highlights the great potential for such organizations to provide more high-quality public schools by replicating successful charter schools. However, this report shows that replicating successful charter schools has been tougher and more costly than expected for both for-profit and nonprofit charter management organizations (EMOs and CMOs).

The report analyzes why this is so and offers strategies to help new management organizations shorten their learning curves and avoid problems encountered by pioneering management organizations.

Based on interviews with ten executives from a range of MOs, the report describes coping strategies these organizations have developed, including becoming much more realistic about expansion goals and savvy about anticipating political risks, training their own leaders, and creating systems of control over design implementation. The report also challenges policymakers, advocates, and funders who wish to support the growth and expansion of high-quality charter schools to broaden their thinking about how to build effective national and local support infrastructures.

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