Charter Schools and Suspensions: Evidence from Massachusetts Chapter 222

Discussion Paper

Mayara Felix

October 2020

Mayara Felix evaluates the impact of Massachusetts Chapter 222—a policy that limited charter schools’ ability to suspend students—on student suspensions and test scores. Comparing charter attendance effects before vs. after Chapter 222, she find that Chapter 222 reduced charter suspensions by roughly 10 percentage points, but had no impact on charter learning. The author then use variation in lottery offers and applicants’ pre-lottery suspensions to separate the effect of suspensions from that of charter attendance on test scores. Suspensions appear to be unrelated to achievement in charters, while the causal effect of charter attendance on test scores is large and positive.