Evaluating the Effectiveness of Charter School Management Organizations
Charter management organizations (CMOs) are nonprofit entities that start and manage new charter schools. By centralizing and sharing certain functions and resources across schools, CMOs aim to enhance school performance and student outcomes, achieve greater efficiency, and expand and sustain schools. Over the last several years, the number and reach of CMOs has increased substantially, leading to a diverse array of organizational models and school designs. In the 2007-2008 school year, there were at least 40 CMOs operating 292 schools.
Mathematica and the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington are research partners for a multiyear national study of CMO effectiveness, commissioned by the NewSchools Venture Fund and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. The study is examining the impact that CMOs are having on student achievement, as well as the CMO structures, practices, and policy contexts that may influence these outcomes. The impact analysis will employ both experimental and quasi-experimental methods. Data sources include school records; site visits; CMO and district cost data; and surveys of CMOs, principals, and teachers.
An interim report drawing on surveys and case studies was produced in 2010. A January 2012 report contains findings on the academic achievement impacts of CMO middle schools and CMO practices associated with these impacts. It also provides the first systematic evidence available on the effects of CMOs on the critical long-term outcomes of high school graduation and college entry. A March 2012 report describes promising practices in more detail.
"Learning from Charter School Management Organizations: Strategies for Student Behavior and Teacher Coaching" (March 2012)