Tag Archives: DISCUSS: Is School Choice Good Or Bad For Public Education?

Harvard and Princeton study: Charter schools benefit low-income students

6 Nov

Moi wrote in A charter school for young entrepreneurs shows the diversity of charters: Charter schools invoke passion on both sides of the argument as to whether they constitute good public policy. A good analysis of the issues can be found at Public Policy Forum Charter Schools: Issues and Outlooks http://www.rockinst.org/pdf/public_policy_forums/2007-03-28-public_policy_forum_charter_schools_issues_and_outlook_presented_by_judy_doesschate_and_william_lake.pdf presented by Judy Doesschate and William Lake Another good summary of the arguments for and against school choice can be found at Learning Matters analysis which came from the PBS program , News Hour. In DISCUSS: Is School Choice Good Or Bad For Public Education? several educators examine school choice issues. http://learningmatters.tv/blog/web-series/discuss-is-school-choice-good-or-bad-for-public-education/8575/
https://drwilda.com/2013/05/16/a-charter-school-for-young-entrepreneuers-shows-the-diversity-of-charters/

Brenda Cronin reported in the Wall Street Journal article, Charter School Benefits Extend Beyond Classroom:

The benefits of a charter school extend well beyond higher test scores and academic performance. Students at the Promise Academy in Harlem fared better than their peers in and outside the classroom, with lower rates of incarceration and teen pregnancy, new research shows.
Harvard’s Roland G. Fryer, Jr. and Princeton’s Will Dobbie tracked more than 400 sixth-grade students who won spots at the Promise Academy, a turbo-charged charter school in Harlem, through lotteries in 2005 and 2006.
For their paper, “The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes,” the economists tapped data from the Harlem Children’s Zone, the New York City Department of Education and the National Student Clearinghouse. They also followed the students throughout high school and compared survey results with non-lottery winners. They found strikingly improved “human capital” and diminished “risky behaviors” among lottery winners — but note that this particular school, and its supportive environment, may not be representative of other high-performing charter schools.
The Promise Academy, in New York City, offers a particularly intensive program for at-risk neighborhood students. The school is located in the Harlem Children’s Zone, a 97-block area that offers a host of programs to promote social well-being and advancement to low-income families. More than 8,000 youth and 5,000 adults benefit from HCZ programs each year.
Students at the Promise Academy have longer school days and school years than their counterparts elsewhere. They also have access to after-school tutoring and weekend classes for remedial help in math and English. Teachers at the school are evaluated and receive incentives to improve performance. The authors note that the school employs “extensive data-driven monitoring to track student progress and differentiate instruction, with students who have not met the required benchmarks receiving small-group tutoring.”
That focus appears to be yielding results: surveys completed by the students — who were paid between $40 and $200 to participate — show that teenage girls who won the school lottery were 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant; boys who won the lottery to Promise Academy were 4.3 percentage points less likely to be in prison or jail than counterparts who didn’t land spots in the school. Lottery winners scored higher on math and reading exams; they also were more likely to take and pass exams in courses such as chemistry and geometry. They also were 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college.
Other survey questions revealed little difference between Promise Academy students and those not at the school in areas such as mental health, obesity, or drug and alcohol use.
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/10/30/charter-school-benefits-extend-beyond-classroom/?mod=wsj_valettop_email

Citation:

The Medium-Term Impacts of High-Achieving Charter Schools on Non-Test Score Outcomes
Will Dobbie, Roland G. Fryer, Jr
NBER Working Paper No. 19581
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s): CH ED LS
High-performing charter schools can significantly increase the test scores of poor urban students. It is unclear whether these test score gains translate into improved outcomes later in life. We estimate the effects of high-performing charter schools on human capital, risky behaviors, and health outcomes using survey data from the Promise Academy in the Harlem Children’s Zone. Six years after the random admissions lottery, youth offered admission to the Promise Academy middle school score 0.283 standard deviations higher on a nationally-normed math achievement test and are 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college. Admitted females are 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant in their teens, and males are 4.3 percentage points less likely to be incarcerated. We find little impact of the Promise Academy on self-reported health. We conclude with speculative evidence that high-performing schools may be sufficient to significantly improve human capital and reduce certain risky behaviors among the poor.

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Moi wrote in Study: Charters forcing public schools to compete and improve: Marc J. Holley, Anna J. Egalite, and Martin F. Lueken wrote in the Education Next article, Competition with Charters Motivates Districts:

But in order for this to happen, districts must first recognize the need to compete for students and then make efforts to attract those students, who now have the chance to go elsewhere. Since 2007, enrollment in charter schools has jumped from 1.3 million to 2 million students, an increase of 59 percent. The school choice movement is gaining momentum, but are districts responding to the competition? In this study we investigate whether district officials in a position to influence policy and practice have begun to respond to competitive pressure from school choice in new ways. Specifically, we probe whether district officials in urban settings across the country believe they need to compete for students. If they do, what is the nature of their response?
A small number of studies and numerous media reports have attempted to capture the reactions of public school officials to these new threats to their enrollments and revenues. A few reports of obstructionist behavior by districts stand out and have been chronicled in these pages by Joe Williams (“Games Charter Opponents Play,” features, Winter 2007) and Nelson Smith (“Whose School Buildings Are They, Anyway?” features, Fall 2012). Yet our evidence suggests that the dynamics described in Williams’s report of guerilla turf wars may be evolving in many locations to reflect new political circumstances and the growing popularity of a burgeoning charter sector.
To explore the influence of school choice on district policy and practice, we scoured media sources for evidence of urban public-school districts’ responses to charter competition. Our express purpose was to catalog levels of competition awareness and types of responses by public school officials and their representatives. Our search retrieved more than 8,000 print and online media reports in the past five years (since the 2007 Williams article) from 12 urban locations in the United States. We then reviewed minutes from school board meetings, district web sites, and other district artifacts to verify if, in fact, the practices and policies described in media reports have occurred.
We selected cities according to specific criteria. We chose three urban districts with high percentages of minority and low-income students (at least 60 percent on both counts) in each region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West). In addition, districts in our sample needed to have a minimum of 6 percent of students in choice schools, the level Caroline Hoxby identified as a threshold above which districts could reasonably be expected to respond to competitive pressure (see “Rising Tide,” research, Winter 2001). Finally, we sought to include cities across the range of choice-school market shares within each geographic region, so long as they were above the 6 percent threshold (see Figure 1)….
The ground war between charter schools and their opponents described by Joe Williams has begun to shift. As the charter sector continues to expand, some of its competitors appear to be changing strategy. Where school districts once responded with indifference, symbolic gestures, or open hostility, we are starting to see a broadening of responses, perhaps fueled by acceptance that the charter sector will continue to thrive, or by knowledge that many charters are providing examples of ways to raise academic achievement.
Traditional public schools are aware of the threats posed by alternative education providers, but they are analyzing the moves made by competitors and demonstrating that they may have the savvy to reflect, replicate, experiment, and enter into partnerships with school choice providers. This evidence suggests that while bureaucratic change may often be slow, it may be a mistake to underestimate the capacity of these bureaucratic institutions to reform, adapt, and adjust in light of changing environments. http://educationnext.org/competition-with-charters-motivates-districts/

The conclusion of the study was that charters were forcing public schools to compete in the marketplace. There is no one approach that works in every situation, there is only what works to address the needs of a particular population of children.
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/13/study-charters-forcing-public-schools-to-compete-and-improve/

Related:

Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/10/brookings-report-what-failing-public-schools-can-learn-from-charters/

Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation https://drwilda.com/2012/02/23/good-or-bad-charter-schools-and-segregation/

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability https://drwilda.com/2011/12/24/focus-on-charter-schools-there-must-be-accountability/

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A charter school for young entrepreneurs shows the diversity of charters

16 May

 

Charter schools invoke passion on both sides of the argument as to whether they constitute good public policy. A good analysis of the issues can be found at Public Policy Forum Charter  Schools: Issues and Outlooks  http://www.rockinst.org/pdf/public_policy_forums/2007-03-28-public_policy_forum_charter_schools_issues_and_outlook_presented_by_judy_doesschate_and_william_lake.pdf

 presented by Judy Doesschate and William Lake Another good summary of the arguments for and against school choice can be found at Learning Matters analysis which came from the PBS program , News Hour. In DISCUSS: Is School Choice Good Or Bad For Public Education? several educators examine school choice issues. http://learningmatters.tv/blog/web-series/discuss-is-school-choice-good-or-bad-for-public-education/8575/

Whtittney Evans of NPR reports in the story, Utah Charter School Nurtures Entrepreneurial Spirit:

A new charter school in Utah wants to equip students in kindergarten through ninth grade with a solid foundation in business.

Students’ daily lessons are peppered with concepts like sales and marketing, finance and entrepreneurship, says first-grade teacher Tammy Hill. “And that plays into leadership and improved math skills. And finance plays into every part of their lives.”

About 580 students attend Highmark Charter School in a suburb just north of Salt Lake City. They earn play money by turning in homework on time and performing chores. They’re encouraged to make items and sell them to each other.

“So they’re learning about supply and demand and how to make a budget and then those who have money left when the classroom store opens, they can come buy little erasers and stickers and lollipops and whatnot with the money they’ve saved from their budget,” Hill says.

Around lunch time, a group of rowdy fifth-graders lines up outside the school store.

Most of them say they’re looking forward to sixth grade when they’ll be old enough to apply for a job here.

Eighth-grader Kymira Jackson hastily ties her apron and races to the counter to start her shift. “I’m not good at math so it gives me a little more time to work it out, but it’s a lot of fun,” she says.

Cheryl Wright is a professor in the department of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. She specializes in kindergarten through third grade education.

“Money is an external reinforcer,” Wright says. “And when you think about what is really foundationally important to early learning in particular, it’s intrinsic motivation.”

She says financial literacy is a bold objective. But it is social networks and good relationship skills that are the key to lifelong happiness and success, not just making money.    http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/183914596/utah-charter-school-nurtures-entrepreneurial-spirit

Moi wrote in The Center for Education Reform releases 2012 charter school law guide

Business Week has a concise debate about the pros and cons of charter schools featuring Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas; Manhattan Institute arguing the pro position and Jeffrey Henig, Columbia University arguing against charter schools. The Education Commission of the States succinctly lists the pros and cons of charter schools 

Pros

According to proponents:

·         Charter schools present students and parents with an increasingly diverse array of education options.

·         The competition provided by charter schools forces school districts to improve the performance of their schools in order to attract and retain students and dollars.

·         If managed properly, charter schools serve as laboratories for education experimentation and innovation. The easing of certain regulations can free teachers and administrators to develop and implement new learning strategies.

·         Increased accountability for charter schools means that schools have to perform or risk closure. This extra incentive demands results.

Cons

According to opponents:

·         Because charter schools operate as a business, as well as a learning institution, they are subject to market forces that may eventually force them to close, depriving students of a continuous education.

·         Charter schools sometimes segregate students along racial and class lines and fail to adequately serve students with disabilities or limited English proficiency.

·         Accountability for student performance is difficult to measure and enforce in the burgeoning charter school movement. The usual complications of accurate student measurement are compounded by the often-conflicting demands of the state government’s need for accountability and the marketplace’s desire for opportunity.

·         The emergence of education management organizations as proprietors of charter schools creates “pseudo-school districts” in which decisions are made far removed from the school.

The Center for Education Reform (Center) has been publishing information about charter schools for the past several years.

https://drwilda.com/2012/04/04/the-center-for-education-reform-releases-2012-charter-school-law-guide/

Moi supports neighborhood schools which cater to the needs of the children and families in that neighborhood. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education. It is for this reason that moi supports charter schools which are regulated by strong charter school legislation with accountability. Accountability means different things to different people. In 2005 Sheila A. Arens wrote Examining the Meaning of Accountability: Reframing the Construct for Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning which emphasizes the involvement of parents and community members. One of the goals of the charter movement is to involve parents and communities. http://www.edreform.com/issues/choice-charter-schools/

http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf

Resources:

Why Charter Schools

Related:

Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/10/brookings-report-what-failing-public-schools-can-learn-from-charters/

Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation https://drwilda.com/2012/02/23/good-or-bad-charter-schools-and-segregation/

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability https://drwilda.com/2011/12/24/focus-on-charter-schools-there-must-be-accountability/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                             http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                                https://drwilda.com/

National Education Policy Center study compares spending by charters and public schools

7 May

Charter schools invoke passion on both sides of the argument as to whether they constitute good public policy. A good analysis of the issues can be found at Public Policy Forum Charter Schools: Issues and Outlooks presented by Judy Doesschate and William Lake http://www.rockinst.org/pdf/public_policy_forums/2007-03-28-public_policy_forum_charter_schools_issues_and_outlook_presented_by_judy_doesschate_and_william_lake.pdf Another good summary of the arguments for and against school choice can be found at Learning Matters analysis which came from the PBS program , News Hour. In DISCUSS: Is School Choice Good Or Bad For Public Education? several educators examine school choice issues. http://learningmatters.tv/blog/web-series/discuss-is-school-choice-good-or-bad-for-public-education/8575/

The National Education Policy Center examines one aspect of the charter school debate, the question of equitable funding between charters and public schools. The conclusion is the data does not support one conclusion. Here is the press release:

Contact: Bruce Baker, (732) 932-7496, x8232, bruce.baker@gse.rutgers.edu
William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, 
wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release:  http://tinyurl.com/d8dlmeb

BOULDER, CO (May 3, 2012) — Do charter schools live up to their supporters’ claim that they deliver a better education for less money?

While previous research has focused on the first half of that claim – education quality — a new report  published by the National Education Policy Center examines the second half – what charters spend.

Schools operated by major charter management organizations (CMOs) generally spend more than surrounding public schools, according to Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing Charter School & Local Public District Financial Resources in New York, Ohio and Texas.

The finding is significant, especially when programs such as the U.S. Department’s “Race to the Top” are directing more resources to charters deemed to be successful. The NEPC report presents new research on this question by Rutgers University Education Professor Bruce Baker, working with University of Colorado Boulder doctoral students Ken Libby and Kathryn Wiley. The research team examined spending in New York City, Ohio and Texas.

Charter school finances are hard to measure,” says Baker. “Charters generally receive both public and private funds. Also, in-kind assistance and resources from districts and states to charters vary greatly. Yet we can see that the most successful charters, such as KIPP and the Achievement First schools, have substantially deeper pockets than nearby traditional schools.”

The report explains that most studies highlighting or documenting a successful charter school have sidestepped or downplayed cost implications while focusing on specific programs and strategies in those schools. The broad conclusion across these studies is that charter schools or traditional public schools can produce dramatic improvements to student outcomes in the short- and long-term by implementing “no excuses” strategies and perhaps wrap-around services.  Most charter school studies conclude that these strategies either come with potentially negligible costs, or that higher costs, if any, are worthwhile since they yield a substantial return.

But according to Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations, a “marginal expense” may be larger than it sounds.   An additional $1,837 expense in Houston for a KIPP charter school, where the average middle school operating expenditure per pupil is $7,911, equals a 23 to 30 percent cost increase.

A 30 percent increase in funding is a substantial increase by most people’s definition,” says Baker.

The study compares per-pupil spending of charter schools operated by CMOs to the spending in nearby district schools. The report’s authors examined three years of data, including information on school-level spending per pupil, school size, grade ranges and student populations served. For charter schools, the report’s authors drew spending data from government (and authorizer) reports as well as IRS non-profit financial filings (IRS 990s). Notably, the data from these two different sources matched only for New York City; the data reported for Texas and Ohio from the two sources varied considerably.

The study found many high-profile charter network schools to be outspending similar district schools in New York City and Texas. But it also found instances where charter network schools are spending less than similar district schools, particularly in Ohio. In Ohio, charters across the board spend less than district schools in the same city.

In contrast, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools charter schools in New York City, spend substantially more ($2,000 to $4,300 per pupil) than similar district schools. Given that the average spending per pupil was around $12,000 to $14,000 citywide, a nearly $4,000 difference in spending amounts to an increase of some 30 percent.

Similarly, some charter chains in Texas, such as KIPP, spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations. In some Texas cities (and at the middle school level), these charters spend around 30 to 50 percent more based on state reported current expenditures. If the data from IRS filings are used, these charters are found to spend 50 to 100 percent more.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder produced Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing Charter School & Local Public District Financial Resources in New York, Ohio and Texas, with funding from the Albert Shanker Institute (http://www.shankerinstitute.org/) and from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (http://www.greatlakescenter.org).

Here is a portion of  executive summary:

Overall, charter spending variation is large as is the spending of traditional public schools. Comparative spending between the two sectors is mixed, with many high profile charter network schools outspending similar district schools in New York City and Texas, but other charter network schools spending less than similar district schools, particularly in Ohio.

We find that in New York City, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools charter schools spend substantially more ($2,000 to $4,300 per pupil) than similar district schools. Given that the average spending per pupil was around $12,000 to $14,000 citywide, a nearly $4,000 difference in spending amounts to an increase of some 30%. In Ohio, charters across the board spend less than district schools in the same city. And in Texas, some charter chains such as KIPP spend substantially more per pupil than district schools in the same city and serving similar populations, around 30 to 50% more in some cities (and at the middle school level) based on state reported current expenditures, and 50 to 100% more based on IRS filings. Even in New York where we have the highest degree of confidence in the match between our IRS data and Annual Financial Report Data, we remain unconvinced that we are accounting fully for all charter school expenditures.

Here is a portion of the conclusion:

Conclusions and Implications

These analyses take an important step forward in comparing charter school spending to traditional public schools serving similar children, in similar grades and in the same city, and across multiple contexts. Further, we are able to make comparisons, with varying degrees of success, across three distinct charter school environments, based on data covering numerous major Charter Management Organizations and individual schools.

To no surprise, what we find is that charter school spending relative to public school spending varies widely. It varies widely partly because charter school spending itself varies and partly because the spending of surrounding schools varies across contexts. We find that in New York City, no charter network included in our analysis systematically spends less per pupil than comparable NYC public schools. Most spend more, and some spend substantially more. KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon schools spend 20% to 30% more per pupil than similar traditional public schools in the city.

This finding is consistent with other data on charter school finance in New York City. First, the Independent Budget Office reports discussed above indicate that co-located charter schools receive slightly higher public subsidy levels than traditional public schools in the city. We make our comparisons against traditional public schools serving the same grade level and similar populations. Charter schools in NYC have much lower special population concentrations and city schools with lower special education shares spend less than the citywide average. Further, charter schools in our sample raise substantial additional philanthropy, above and beyond the public subsidy level. These margins of additional expenditure are also consistent with our summary and critique of the poorly-documented accounts of Fryer and colleagues regarding New York City charter schools.

Our findings regarding charter schools in Texas and Ohio are more mixed, perhaps because they appear to be hampered by data inconsistencies. We are relatively confident in the finding that Ohio charter schools appear to be spending less than otherwise similar traditional public schools in the same Ohio cities, but not as confident that we have captured precisely the magnitude of the gap, since IRS filing data appear to incompletely capture charter spending in Ohio. In Texas, IRS filing data do consistently report higher expenditures than state documented current expenditures, as expected. But, there are huge differences in spending across Texas charter schools, with some spending much less than district schools and others spending much more….

The one charter management organization that operates across settings—KIPP—consistently spends more than neighboring district schools regardless of setting, but with some variation by grade level (note that we lacked sufficient data on the Ohio KIPP school). That said, Ohio and Texas are likely among the best cases for conducting such analyses because data are available on school site expenditures. In other states, these types of analyses are simply not yet possible. And this matters if we’re to get a grasp on not only “what works,” but the equally important question of how much it costs.

The road to painting a clearer picture of charter school spending and the “costs” of charter models should take two different but concurrent paths forward. First, we must continue to make strides in improving the precision with which we are able to compare marginal spending differences across organizational units like schools or districts. Put simply, we need more comparable spending measures. We need such measures in order to make more accurate judgments about the relative efficiency of charter schools and about the relative equity of their available resources. One cannot accurately compare the relative efficiency in producing student outcomes, of one set of schools to another, where the spending measure for one set of schools is incomplete or where the spending measure for the other set of schools may include expenditures on the children in the first set. Similarly, one cannot make reasonable judgments about resource equity across children attending different types of schools where resource measures are incomplete and beneficiaries of resources are unclear.

Second, beyond looking at average expenditure differences by schools we must also begin to dig deeper into understanding the cost structure of providing specific programs and services—most notably, those programs and services that work, or that make successful charter schools tick. Determining cost structure requires: breaking the expenditures down into their parts, rather than viewing them as a whole; figuring out which programs, strategies or reforms are causing improved outcomes; determining the ingredients of successful strategies—the people, materials, supplies, equipment, physical space, and time it takes to implement these strategies; and then, calculating the cost of each factor and the cumulative cost of putting it all in place.

The substantial variation in resources introduced into urban education systems by the emergence of well-funded and less-well-funded charter schools creates significant equity concerns. Certainly cities like Houston and New York have long histories of offering competitive district-operated magnet schools of choice that have received more resources than other city schools. But these cities have also in the past decade begun to tackle this issue and design within-district resource allocation formulas intended to improve funding equity and predictability across schools.50 The press for improved within-district equity came in part from public pressure to deconstruct the system of elitism which revolved around academic competition for access to better resources. The emergence of well-endowed charter schools that are oversubscribed and have long waiting lists has replaced the old system with one in which access to more adequate educational resources is now contingent on winning a lottery.http://www.greatlakescenter.org/docs/Policy_Briefs/Baker_CharterSpending.pdf

Citation:

Baker, B.D., Libby, K., & Wiley, K. (2012). Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations: Comparing charter school and local public district financial resources in New York, Ohio, and Texas. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/spending-major-charter.

This material is provided free of cost to NEPC’s readers, who may make non-commercial use of the material as long as NEPC and its author(s) are credited as the source. For inquiries about commercial use, please contact NEPC at nepc@colorado.edu.

There is no one “magic bullet” or Holy Grail in education. There is what works to produce academic achievement in a given population of students.

Related:

The Center for Education Reform releases 2012 charter school law guide                                                               https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/the-center-for-education-reform-releases-2012-charter-school-law-guide/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©