The type of school that a student attends
Why it matters
Different types of K–12 schools, including charter schools, magnet schools, and alternative education schools, may have different educational aims and student populations, making it critical to understand who they serve, what types of supports they provide to students, and how well they support student outcomes. Of the more than 50 million public school students in 2018–2019, approximately 7 percent were enrolled in charter schools, 5 percent in magnet schools, and 0.9 percent in alternative schools. Another 4.7 million students attended private schools.
What to know about measurement
The U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data classifies K–12 schools according to whether they are public or private; charter or non-charter; magnet or non-magnet; and whether they are regular schools, special education schools, career and technical schools, or alternative education schools. The categories are not mutually exclusive—per the U.S. Department of Education, “magnet, charter, and virtual schools are also included under regular, special education, vocational, or alternative schools as appropriate.” Each of these distinctions may be relevant for disaggregation, depending on the context and the question being asked of the data.
This disaggregate appeared in one source framework reviewed for this report: the California Cradle-to-Career Data System.
The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.