Supplying a System of Charter Schools: Observations on Early Implementation of the Massachusetts Statute

June 1997

This report examines the "supply side" of education reform—the extent to which proposals to decentralize public education can be implemented by the individuals, groups, or institutions prepared to operate schools in the new system. Charter schools are the focus of this study, and particularly the early development of the system of schools permitted by the charter school statute that Massachusetts enacted in 1993.

Although it is too early to judge the educational success of charter schools, the analysis should be particularly useful in identifying problems related to the design, approval, and start-up of individual charter schools that may affect their educational performance. In those states with charter school legislation, this analysis should inform decisions to amend existing legislation before the charter school program grows. For those states without charter school statutes, this analysis should help legislators to consider new approaches to legislation.