Analysis: New research on student funding and performance shows New Orleans charter schools get more bang for their buck and increase children’s earning potential

WWe have heard the assertion time and time again: Charters are a form of specialized education that may not be able to meet the needs of large segments of the population, some people say. These critics claim that while public charter schools might be able to achieve good results by serving a some very motivated families, there is no way they will succeed in climb.

New Orleans has proven these skeptics wrong. The city was the test case for scaling up public education via the charter school model – and it passed that test with flying colors.

Since Hurricane Katrina, every public school in the city of New Orleans has been chartered, and most of the public schools in Orleans Parish have also had model charter independence.

Two rigorous evaluations concluded that charter schools in Crescent City produce better academic outcomes than traditional public schools with similar student demographics. The Center for Research on Educational Achievement (CREDO) at Stanford University concluded that in the 2016-17 school year a student attending a New Orleans public charter school won the equivalent of an additional 54 days of reading learning and 71 days of learning math compared to a similar student in a traditional public school in the city, when traditional schools existed.

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The New Orleans Educational Research Alliance at Tulane University find that the charter-focused education reform package implemented after Katrina increased student achievement by 11 to 16 percentage points, increased high school graduation rates by 3 to 9 points, and improved college graduation rates from 3 to 5 points. Study authors Douglas Harris and Matthew Larsen say, “The reforms also improved overall outcomes for disadvantaged students and reduced educational inequalities for high schools and colleges. It is very unusual to see programs and policies improving all of these outcomes.

New Orleans charter schools accomplish all of this even by operating with less per student funding than traditional public schools in Orleans Parish. Including all sources of revenue, New Orleans public charter schools received $ 12,520 per student in 2018. This amount was one-third. less than the $ 18,694 per student income received by the traditional public schools that existed in the parish of Orléans at that time. This disparity reflects the overall result found in our latest study, published in November, on charter school funding inequalities in 18 cities across the United States. We found that public charter schools, on average, received about two-thirds the amount of funding per student in traditional public schools in the same city.

By combining the rigorous results of the CREDO study with our comprehensive income data for the 2017-18 school year, we find that charter schools in New Orleans have done more with less. Our latest study, published in February, finds that the New Orleans charters made every dollar count, producing about 21 reading points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for every $ 1,000 in funding. . Similar students in traditional schools in the parish of Orleans only got about 14 NAEP points for $ 1,000 in income. This equates to New Orleans charters generating one-third more pass at a cost one-third less than traditional schools in 2018. Each $ 1,000 generates an average of 22 NAEP math points in charter schools. of New Orleans, up from just over 14 NAEP math points. by $ 1,000 for traditional schools at that time.

These results represent a 51-52% profitability advantage in reading and math, respectively, for New Orleans charter public schools compared to their district public school counterparts in 2018.

The New Orleans charters also offered a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional schools in the area. Our ROI calculations totaled the lifetime income students should receive, based on the achievement levels produced by their schools, then divided by the cost of their studies. Every dollar invested in a city chartered public school generated a 66% higher return on investment than a dollar invested in a traditional public school in 2018. Students who spent half of their studies in the charters of the New Orleans still produced a 26% higher ROI forecast than similar. students who spent the 13 years in the traditional public schools of the parish of Orléans.

In New Orleans, the higher ROI in charter schools was almost $ 470,000 more in lifetime income per student than the ROI generated in the district schools in our study.

The next time someone tells you that public charter schools can’t be successful on a large scale, tell them to visit New Orleans. They could stop by Café du Monde for a donut while they’re there, to celebrate the large-scale success of New Orleans’ public charter schools.

Corey A. DeAngelis is director of school choice at the Reason Foundation, executive director of the Educational Freedom Institute, and adjunct research fellow at the Cato Institute.

Patrick J. Wolf is a distinguished professor of educational policy and the 21st Century Endowed in School Choice Chair in the Department of Educational Reform at the College of Education and Health Professions at the University. from Arkansas.


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