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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published here on November 28th, by Education Dive. It was written by Linda Jacobson, the senior reporter for Education Dive: K-12 based near Los Angeles, California.
We think it’s vital to keep tabs on the pulse of all things related to charter schools, including informational resources, and how to support charter school growth and the advancement of the charter school movement as a whole. We hope you find this—and any other article we curate—both interesting and valuable.
Some experts argue that comparisons between district schools and charters are unfair for a variety of reasons. Traditional public schools operate under some different legal mandates and policies than charters, and charter schools serve families who choose to be there, not the general student population. Others also note that public schools serve a much larger proportion of students with disabilities, but the authors of this study argue that except for Boston, special education expenses shouldn’t be an excuse.
“While [traditional public schools] tend to enroll higher proportions of students with disabilities than charter schools, the additional spending required for students with special needs rarely explains all or even most of the inequities in the funding of public charter schools,” they write, recommending that states adopt weighted student funding formulas “and then funnel 100% of public school funding through that formula, regardless of whether the school the student is attending is a public charter or a traditional public school.”
The study is part of the researchers’ continuing work to compare how charters and district schools receive and use funds — data that can help guide policymakers as they make decisions about school funding, how many charter schools to authorize and perhaps how funding should be allocated. In areas where cooperation between charter schools and districts is more likely, these comparisons can also help school administrators learn from each other.
Last year, the team released a study showing that even with in-kind support, such as access to free facilities, charter schools in New York City receive almost 40% less funding per student than traditional public schools. And in February, the team released a cost-effective and return-on-investment analysis showing that for every $1,000 in per-pupil spending, charter school students earn more points in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Other researchers, however, criticized that study, raising questions over the methodology.
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