The Impact of Charter Schools on Disadvantaged Students in Large Cities


Academic Performance

One of the main arguments in favor of charter schools is that they often yield higher academic performance compared to traditional public schools. Numerous studies have shown that charter schools, particularly those catering to disadvantaged students, have been able to narrow the achievement gap and improve student outcomes. This can be attributed to various factors, such as smaller class sizes, more personalized instruction, and a focus on innovative teaching methods.

Graduation Rates

Another area where charter schools have had a positive impact on disadvantaged students is graduation rates. Research has indicated that charter schools have higher graduation rates compared to traditional public schools. This is partially due to the emphasis on individualized support and academic intervention provided by charter schools. Additionally, the autonomy and flexibility enjoyed by charter schools allow them to implement tailored programs that address the specific needs of disadvantaged students, ultimately increasing their chances of successfully completing high school.

Access to Resources

Disadvantaged students often face challenges in accessing necessary resources, such as quality teachers, extracurricular activities, and specialized support services. Charter schools have been proactive in addressing these disparities by offering a range of resources that cater to the needs of disadvantaged students. For instance, charter schools frequently collaborate with community organizations to provide additional support services, mentorship programs, and enrichment opportunities. This holistic approach ensures that students have access to the resources they need to thrive academically and personally.


Charter schools have emerged as a promising alternative for disadvantaged students in large cities, offering them increased academic performance, higher graduation rates, and improved access to resources. While there is ongoing debate about the role of charter schools in the larger education system, it is undeniable that they have positively impacted the lives of many students who may have otherwise been left behind. As large cities continue to grapple with educational inequalities, charter schools provide a valuable avenue for addressing these disparities and giving disadvantaged students a fighting chance for a brighter future.


1. Are charter schools only for disadvantaged students?

No, charter schools are open to all students. While some charter schools specifically cater to disadvantaged students, others have a broader admission policy.

2. Are charter schools privately funded?

No, charter schools receive public funding, but they operate independently from traditional public schools.

3. How do I enroll my child in a charter school?

Enrollment procedures for charter schools vary by location. It is recommended to contact the specific charter school of interest for information on enrollment requirements and procedures.



Network of Independent Charter Schools, A Project of the Center for Educational Innovation.