As advocates around the country finalize their 2019 priorities and strategies, a number of recent resources focused on charter schools and school choice could be useful to help build their case.
University of Arkansas Highlights Charter School Funding Gap
Recently, the University of Arkansas released a study highlighting funding inequities for charter schools. This research, Charter School Funding: (More) Inequity in the City, was a follow up to a report released in May of 2017 that focused on the funding differential between traditional public and charter schools. The update focuses on 14 cities across the nation that have a higher percentage of students enrolled in charter schools than traditional public schools. The report revealed that in those 14 cities, charter schools received on average 27 percent less total revenue than traditional public schools.
Fordham Adds Private School Data to Charter School Deserts Report
In April, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute released a study revealing what they referred to as charter school deserts—high poverty areas that did not have a charter school. The report featured an interactive map that gave users insight into every neighborhood across the country, including population, poverty level, and data for traditional public and charter schools. They recently updated this map to include the location of private schools, many of which offer an “oasis” for parents who live in these charter school deserts.
Advocates Identify Under-the-Radar Sources of Facilities Funding
One of the biggest barriers to growth in the charter sector is access to quality school facilities. The Colorado League of Charter Schools partnered with the National Charter School Resource Center to release a paper that identified two under-the-radar sources of funding: Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development programs. The impact of these additional sources of financing could help spur the expansion of the sector in certain areas of the country.
EdChoice Releases Annual Schooling in America Survey
EdChoice recently released their annual Schooling in America Survey, a look at public opinion and awareness on a variety of issues affecting K-12 education topics. Some key takeaways from this year’s survey include:
- Public school teachers as a group appear to have reservations about their jobs and the profession. They place more trust in their students and principals, rather than parents or school boards. They also expressed greater concerns about standardized testing in comparison to other stakeholder groups.
- Parents report making more sacrifices for their children’s education, but they’re still not able to access the schooling types they would prefer.
- Support for school choice remains high. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are much more popular than any other program among most groups, including teachers. There is some agreement about K-12 accountability—but otherwise differences abound regarding who should design the system, administer it, and what it should measure and hold accountable.