Causal Factors Related to Charter School Failure in the State Of Texas

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2015


A causal-comparative quantitative study was conducted to determine potential factors impacting the lack of success of Texas open-enrollment charter schools that ceased operations due to academic or financial reasons, when examined in conjunction with open-enrollment charters that met state of Texas standards for academic and financial accountability. Factors examined in the study for failed and successful charters included the number of years a school is in operation, the number of students enrolled, the student demographic profile, the students' economic status, the teachers' years of experience, staff turnover rate, the level of administrative support, the physical location of the school, and the level of instructional support. Schools selected for the study were open-enrollment charter schools in operation for at least 3 years between 2008-2009 and 2012-2013. Discrete-time survival analysis using logistic regression was used to compare data from academically and financially successful charter schools to academically and financially unsuccessful charter schools in Texas. Successful schools selected were sixty charter schools that were rated as "Acceptable" or better under the state of Texas academic and financial accountability system and were compared with twelve Texas open-enrollment charter schools whose charter was revoked, rescinded, denied for renewal, returned, abandoned, or expired between the school years 2008-2009 and 2012-2013, resulting in the school's closure.Of the factors analyzed, three had a significant impact on the probability of a school remaining academically and financially successful, including years of operation, number of enrolled students, and level of administrative support. Factors that did not have a significant impact included student demographic profile, student economic status, teacher years of experience, staff turnover rate, physical location of the school, and level of instructional support.Conclusions of the study support the significance of the relationship between years of operation, school enrollment and funding as well as the importance of effective administrative leadership in determining whether a charter school is successful or fails. Implications of the study include the need for charter authorizers to establish realistic start-up budgets, carefully track enrollment trends, and to understand the characteristics of the population of students served who may not have had success in a traditional public school setting.


Julia Ballenger

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership