Home > Uncategorized > Temple University Study Finds Nearby Charter’s Boost Performance of Public Schools— But ALSO Prove Pro-Public Education Advocate’s Points

Temple University Study Finds Nearby Charter’s Boost Performance of Public Schools— But ALSO Prove Pro-Public Education Advocate’s Points

Atlantic writer Alex Zimmerman reports on the findings of a study by Sarah Cordes, a professor at Temple University, that concluded that proximity to a charter school boosted the performance of public schools as measured by standardized achievement tests. Why?

(Ms. Cordes) suspects that her findings are the result of the competition stoked by charters.

“I think having that close a proximity might really get administrators to get their act together,” she said. “Part of it is just that it’s really hard to ignore a charter school in your building.”

But as Mr. Zimmerman notes later in his article, two other factors might have an impact as well, factors that pro-pulic education advocates have argued for:

Cordes also points to the budgetary effects of charter schools. Somewhat paradoxically, given charter critics’ arguments, competition from charter schools led to more average spending per student at traditional schools—between 2 percent for schools that are further away to 9 percent for co-located schools.

Though she did not look at whether decreases in enrollment had adverse effects on programming that wouldn’t be measured by reading and math test scores or survey data, Cordes said future research should look at whether enrollment drops lead to smaller class sizes, which have been shown to boost learning.

So… as is often the case in research on charters vs. traditional schools… it is difficult to draw any clear cut solution because we are left with two questions:

  1. If spending had increased by 2 to 9 percent per student would the traditional schools’ scores have increased by the same amount?
  2. If class sizes had diminished by 2 students per classroom would the traditional schools’ scores have increased by the same amount?

It would be wonderful to find out the answer to these questions… but unless overall spending increases we will never know.

 

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