Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bruce Baker: How Do Charter Schools Affect Public Schools in Urban Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog

Bruce Baker: How Do Charter Schools Affect Public Schools in Urban Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Bruce Baker: How Do Charter Schools Affect Public Schools in Urban Districts

Bruce Baker is a professor of education at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers; his area of specialization is school finance and the economics of education.
This new paper is a major analysis of the effects of charter schools on their host districts. Until now, there has been little attention paid to the ways that the expansion of charter schools affects the budget and policies of the district in which the charters open. Over the past twenty years, the United States has been developing a dual school system of public schools, open to all and responsible for all students who enroll, and charter schools, which are free of most state regulations and free to remove students they don’t want.
Baker is interested primarily in the fiscal impact of charters but he does consider the disciplinary policies of charters and also their segregating effects.
Here is his summary of his findings. I urge you to read the paper in its entirety to understand how charters are depleting the resources of public schools without necessarily providing a better quality of education.
Effects of charter expansion
District schools are surviving but under increased stress
In some urban districts, charter schools are serving 20 percent or more of the city or districtwide student population. These host districts have experienced the following effects in common:
*While total enrollment in district schools (the noncharter, traditional public schools) has dropped, districts have largely been able to achieve and maintain reasonable minimum school sizes, with only modest increases in the shares of children served in inefficiently small schools.
*While resources (total available revenues to district schools) have declined, districts have reduced overhead expenditures enough to avoid consuming disproportionate shares of operating spending and increasing pupil/teacher ratios.
*Despite expenditure cutting measures, districts simultaneously facing rapid student population decline and/or operating in states with particularly inequitable, under-resourced school finance systems have faced substantial annual deficits.
Charter expansion is not driven by well-known, high-profile operators
Most charter expansion in these cities has occurred among independently operated charter schools.
*High profile, frequently researched nonprofit charter school operators including the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) have relatively small shares of the charter school market in all cities except Newark.
*In many of these cities, some of the leading charter operators (those with the most market share) have been the subject of federal and state investigations and judicial orders regarding conflicts of interest (self-dealing) and financial malfeasance. These operators include Imagine Schools, Inc., White Hat Management, National Heritage Academies, and Concept Schools.
*The varied and often opaque financial practices across charter school management companies, while fitting with a competitive portfolio conception, leads to increased disparities across students, irregularities in the accumulation of additional public (publicly obligated) debt, and inequities and irregularities in the ownership and distribution of what were once commonly considered public assets—from buildings and vehicles right down to desks, chairs, and computers.
Charter schools are expanding in predominantly low-income, predominantly minority urban settings
Few are paying attention to the breaches of legal rights of students, parents, taxpayers, and employees under the increasingly opaque Bruce Baker: How Do Charter Schools Affect Public Schools in Urban Districts | Diane Ravitch's blog: