Thoughts On Question 2 and Charter School Expansion
In Massachusetts, a battle is being waged over Question 2, a proposal to lift a statewide cap on the expansion of charter schools. Like many of the debates over charter expansion and educational "choice," much of the rhetoric revolves around the ostensible "gains" that charter students make compared to students who are in public district schools.
But the Q2 debate is unique: a group of academics, many affiliated with MIT, have been following the expansion of charter schools in and around Boston for years. I can't think of another region where charter schools have been studied so closely using econometric methods. This work has been at the heart of the policy discussion of Q2; it's cited repeatedly in reports about the ballot initiative.
And the economists who conducted this research have been happy to help make the case that their studies support lifting the cap:
Do we? Do these studies tell us exactly what we need to know about whether Massachusetts should lift its cap on charter expansion?
Because simply showing that charter school students in Boston get better test scores than similar students in the Boston Public Schools is not, I'm afraid, nearly enough evidence to support lifting the cap. In fact, the more time I spend Jersey Jazzman: Thoughts On Question 2 and Charter School Expansion: