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Lauen, Douglas L.; Fuller, Bruce; & Dauter, Luke (2015). Positioning Charter Schools in Los Angeles: Diversity of Form and Homogeneity of Effects. American Journal of Education, 121(2), 213-239.


The debate over charter school effectiveness relies largely on neoclassical logic: individual parents or students express demand for a widening array of school types and then experience variable levels of organizational quality. We argue that market-like behavior is nested in segments of local organizational fields with different types of charter school operators seeking market niches to reduce resource uncertainties. We first describe the emergence of three legally defined charter types in the Los Angeles Unified School District between 2002 and 2008. We show how these charter segments became stratified, as gauged by demographic attributes and quite different baseline achievement levels. While this structuration could also plausibly condition uneven achievement effects, we find that, in this initial period of charter expansion, all three types failed to raise achievement, compared with the achievement growth trajectories displayed by peers attending regular public schools.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Education


Lauen, Douglas L.
Fuller, Bruce
Dauter, Luke