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Funding Inequality for Students in Nation’s Capital

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Report Emphasizes Persistent Funding Gap for D.C. Charter School Students

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
April 23, 2013

Students attending public charter schools in the nation’s capital are funded at almost 44 percent less than students in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) according to a recent report by the University of Arkansas.

The study, “Education’s Fiscal Cliff, Real or Perceived?” by leading researcher Larry Maloney, compares funding at traditional public schools to charter schools between 2007-2011. The data reveal a significant and persistent gap in per pupil funding for charter schools from federal, state and local sources.

The Center for Education Reform’s Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools has found the same results since the 1998-1999 Academic Year. Most recent data prove that on average nationally, charter schools are funded at 68 percent of their traditional district public school counterparts. This figure does not include the capital funds for facilities that charters do not receive either.

“With 43 percent of DC’s students in these innovative public schools, demonstrating overwhelmingly better academic achievement, you’d think the nation’s leaders would demand equity,” said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. “Instead these students, whose families chose to find a better alternative, are being penalized for seeking the American dream for their children.”

University of Arkansas looked at four other of the nation’s largest school districts -Newark, Milwaukee, Denver and Los Angeles – and found widespread inequity across the board. Their final report is expected to be released in the spring of 2014.