Broken Promises: An Analysis of Charter School Closures From 1999 – 2017

Published by

This report provides the first comprehensive examination of charter failure rates over time—beginning in 1999 and ending in 2017. By following all charter schools, from the year they opened, we were able to determine how long they lasted before closing down. We also determined how many students have been displaced by failing charter schools and where those closures are most likely to occur. 


This digital version of the report contains an animated map that shows charter closures distributed across 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, between 1999–2017. The animated map is not available in the downloadable pdf, however you can download and print the report and the executive summary as pdfs by clicking the buttons below.


In the Media

New report finds high closure rates for charter schools over time

A comprehensive examination released Thursday of charter school failure rates between 1999 and 2017 found that more than one-quarter of the schools closed after operating for five years, and about half closed after 15 years, displacing a total of more than 867,000 students.

The report, using information available from the U.S. Education Department, also found that in three of the poorest cities in the country — Detroit, Tucson and Milwaukee — there were more charter closures in areas with higher rates of poverty than in those with lower rates.

To read the full story on Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post, click here.

Report: Are Charter Schools A Big Risk For Families?

In a new report, the Network for Public Education shows how big a gamble it can be to enroll your child in a charter school. And the odds are not in parents’ favor.

“Broken Promises: An Analysis of Charter School Closures From 1999-2017” is a deep dive into the data surrounding patterns of charter closure and the number of students affected by those closures, especially those in high poverty areas.

Read the full story here.

Half of nation’s charter schools fail during first 15 years; nearly a million students have been stranded by closed charters

Analyzing a database that tracks charter schools over two decades, a new report from the Network for Public Education (NPE) documents an astounding 50% failure rate of these schools over a 15-year period. More than a quarter of the schools folded within five years.

Read the full story here.