Stanford researchers looked over test results and found, for the most part, students in charter schools did slightly better in reading than kids in traditional public schools. In math, they were just about even.
The study compared apples to apples, meaning they compared students with same demographics and academic profiles in both traditional public schools and charter schools.
The study revealed low-income families, black students and Hispanic-English language learners benefited the most from charter schools.
One example is Rocketship Education which has seven charter schools in Santa Clara County serving primarily low-income Hispanic children.
"We have the ability to innovate. We have the ability to do things really differently and I think the call to the mission is very different. Everyone who joins Rocketship knows our mission is to eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime," said Preston Smith from Rocketship Education.
This is the second study of its kind done by Stanford. The first, in 2009, showed charter schools doing worse than public schools. But now, four years later, the situation has gotten better for charter schools.
The movement started about 20 years ago. The teachers union says despite all those years and effort, charter schools have failed to deliver the promised big gains.
"All of these people who promise you great changes by doing this tweak or that tweak, essentially people are people and children learn the way children learn at the rates they learn at," said Dennis Kelly from United Educators of San Francisco.
Still, the demand for charter schools continues. The study found since 2009, there has been an 80 percent increase in enrollment.