Opening the “black box”: Organizational differences between charter schools and traditional public schools.

Xin Wei, Deepa Patel, Viki M Young


Using survey data collected from 2,273 teachers in Texas, this study explores differences in school organization that contribute to the experiences (e.g., working conditions, instruction and student engagement in learning, self-efficacy and job satisfaction, and teacher evaluation) of charter school and traditional public school teachers. Researchers used propensity score matching to reduce the impact of selection bias and to produce accurate estimates of the charter-traditional public school differences. Compared with similar teachers in traditional public schools, charter school teachers reported a more supportive teaching environment, higher expectations of students among staff, a greater sense of responsibility for student learning, and higher levels of student engagement in learning. However, they reported, attending fewer professional development trainings focused on instruction and aligned to teaching assignments, fewer opportunities for professional development and collaboration with colleagues, and lower perceived fairness of teacher evaluation. Findings from this study provide valuable insight into the school organization factors that may underlie teacher turnover and represent unmet needs among charter school teachers, and suggest strategic areas of focus for policymakers, charter management organizations, and charter school leaders in addressing teacher retention and student achievement.


charter schools; traditional public schools; school working conditions; instruction; teacher evaluation; job satisfaction; teacher efficacy; propensity score matching.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Xin Wei, Deepa Patel, Viki M Young


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