Research Project

Charter schools are publicly financed but independently managed educational institutions. Since the adoption of the first charter school law in Minnesota in 1991, they have received considerable attention. However, since the administration of Donald J. Trump, and the appointment of his then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the political tide surrounding charter schools has begun to shift. Understanding the charter school system in the United States, and analyzing the way that it impacts American students, is a complex and nuanced task. The literature review will, first, explain the role of charter schools in the American education system, the school choice debate, the politics surrounding charter schools, and the reframing of the achievement gap. The findings for this project will compare the racial demographics of top performing and lower performing charter schools. This comparison raises more questions concerning equity in a specific charter school system in Arizona, and the complexities of this school’s practices are explored. Finally, policy proposals concerning the future of charter schools as well as its implications on traditional public schools are offered.