Choice as a Substitute for Adequacy?

School Finance 101

Another excerpt from forthcoming work…

Much of the expansion of charter schooling occurred during the recession. That is, states were adding schools while reducing overall funding, adding inequitable choices on top of increasingly inequitable and inadequate systems.  Expanded charter schooling was a centerpiece of the Duncan/Obama education reform platform which coincided with the recession and “new normal” era.

Cursory descriptive analyses (as well as more complex longitudinal models) suggest that states which most expanded their charter sectors are also among those states which most reduced their overall effort toward financing public education. This is a disturbing finding in part because charter schools rely similarly on public financing. Reducing public financing affects negatively both district and charter schools. Further, increasing the number of schools, holding enrollments constant, shifting students from one sector to another creates additional costs, at least in the short run.[i]

It is conceivable that state policymakers with…

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