Ch. 5 - Safety and Order in Charter and Traditional Public Schools (HFR '07)

December 2007

Like previous editions of Hopes, Fears, & Reality, the 2007 report explores some of the most challenging issues currently facing the charter school movement. This chapter examines an issue of intense interest to parents, students, and staff—school safety. CRPE authors analyze School and Staffing Survey data and conclude that charter schools are quieter and less disruptive than similar school serving similar students. They suggest that school safety is a product of careful management of school climate. From a policy perspective, the authors conclude that districts can learn from the charter experience to support, not abandon, school leaders who take risks to maintain school climate, and warn that charters leaders' apparent success in maintaining safer climates might be compromised if their authorizers do not continue to provide that same support.