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Despite Success, Charters Still Face Inequity

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January 2, 2013

Charters still suffer inequity despite great success, a point reinforced in a recent piece by Peter Roff.

Chester, Pennsylvania, has more than 3,000 students in charter schools, with a better success rate than local public schools. As Roff puts it:

Creating what it calls a “Private, Public School” culture, the Chester charter school offers a 10-1 student-teacher ratio as well as academic programs created in partnership with nearby colleges and universities, which the regular public schools, by contrast, simply cannot match.

…despite 50 percent of the school’s funding being withheld, forcing drastic cuts in student services, its students “outperformed the rest of the Chester Upland School District in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments in reading and math by 20 percent.”

This supports what CER found in our Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools and other research on charters and performance:

· Inequity in funding is not exclusive to PA. On average nationally charters receive about 30% less per pupil than their traditional public school counterparts.

· Charters do more with less funding and serve predominantly disadvantaged students.

· Charters in high demand because, as Mr. Roff points out, they typically operate very differently than the traditional system.

But even with those spectacular results (or, perhaps – perversely – because of them) freedom and flexibility is under attack with calls for more regulation and less autonomy.

Especially, though not only, in Pennsylvania.

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