Virtual School Meanderings

March 21, 2022

Funding for charter schools

A “Think Twice” review of a think tank report from the folks at the National Education Policy Center.

Inside Look

Great Lakes Center’s exclusive subscriber email featuring key points, information and social media content about reviews and research

March 17, 2022READ IN BROWSER
Hello, Great Lakes Center subscriber:

In the last several decades, charter schools have experienced tremendous growth under the premise they could innovate in education because of their autonomy when compared to public school districts.
Charter school advocates continuously claim charter schools suffer from inequitable funding. Though fiscal comparisons are quite complicated, the latest in a series of reports from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas attempts to show this funding inequity by dispelling myths about charter school funding. However, the report ignores several basics of school finance research.

Read on to learn more.

Maddie Fennell

Executive Director
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice

REPORT REVIEWED

Dr. Mark Weber of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Policy Perspective reviewed “Charter School Funding: Dispelling Myths about EMOs, Expenditure Patterns & Nonpublic Dollars,” a report from the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform.

WHAT THE REVIEWER FOUND

The report from the Department of Education Reform lays out three points charter school critics call “myths”:
  1. Funding reflects the needs of students and is equitable.
  1. Charter schools take taxpayer money out of public education.
  1. Charter schools receive more nonpublic funding per student than public schools and don’t rely on public funding in the same way.
The report relies on a proprietary, or not publicly available, set of data to make its claims. The data differs significantly from that which is publicly available. The report does not explain the difference between that data and that from an authoritative source, the U.S. Census Bureau.
Analysis included in the report ignores several basics of school finance and is further complicated by the reality that school districts may face greater costs as charter school enrollments increase. The differences in student characteristics and school programming aren’t accounted for, and categorical spending is conflated with potential profit taking from charter school management organizations and philanthropic giving is inadequately evaluated.
To put it simply, the report does not do enough to make claims about alleged financial “inequities” for charter schools. To accurately make this claim, researchers would have to account for a complicated array of factors on school spending and costs.
The report’s lack of documentation of its methods and basic flaws in analysis make it useless in guiding charter school funding policies, Weber concludes.
Read the full review on the Great Lakes Center website or on the National Education Policy Center website.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Flawed research should never be used to guide policy decisions, especially that which could affect funding for public schools.

TALKING POINTS TO REMEMBER

  1. The latest in a series of reports from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas inaccurately depicts funding inequities experienced by charter schools.
  1. According to a National Education Policy Center review, the report ignores several basics of school finance research.
  1. The lack of documentation of its methods and analytical flaws makes the report useless for policymakers.

SOCIAL SHARES

Want to share this Think Twice Review with your social networks? We drafted some sample social media posts for your use.
A report from @ed_reform inaccurately depicts funding inequity for #charterschools and ignores school finance research basics. A report from @ed_reform inaccurately depicts funding inequity for #charterschools and ignores school finance research basics.
#CharterSchool advocates claim these schools suffer from inequitable funding, but that argument is laid out in a new report that ignores school finance research. #CharterSchool advocates claim these schools suffer from inequitable funding, but that argument is laid out in a new report that ignores school finance research.
A @nepctweet review determined a report from @ed_reform about so-called charter school funding inequities is useless to policymakers. A @nepctweet review determined a report from @ed_reform about so-called charter school funding inequities is useless to policymakers.
Follow Us
Facebook
Twitter
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Copyright © 2019 Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.Our mailing address is:
Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice
PO Box 1263
East Lansing, MI 48826-1263

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: