As is expected but not always evident of highly regarded newspapers, the Washington Post brought to light a serious issue that not only pertains to the District of Columbia charter schools but charter schools across the country.
Late last week, the DC Mayor’s Office released a report that revealed DC charter schools are receiving significantly less per-pupil funding than traditional public schools. The report found that in spite of the spirit of current laws that call for funding equity, traditional schools still receive significantly more money for both educational and administrative purposes.
Although this particular report could not adequately assess facilities funding, it has been well documented that charter schools nationwide face facility-funding shortfalls, often due to restrictive state laws.
Overall, funding disadvantages present an unnecessary distraction for charter administrators whose main goal is to improve the educational landscape in their communities.
To be sure, the report’s recommendations indicate a good-faith effort to rectify the funding gap by restructuring how public schools receive education dollars. The Post Editorial Board views the report’s Friday evening release as a way to lessen expectations, but it remains to be seen whether these recommendations translate into action.
Ensuring funding equity is important, but it’s equally critical to focus on the type of systemic reform that incentivizes more and better opportunities for students. The DC charter school law is no doubt comparably strong, but as this report indicates, there’s always more work to be done.