Check out UCEA and Charter Schools

Hello readers,

I am headed to Washington DC to present/chair a symposium called “The Impact of Charter Schools on Segregation, District Finances, and Student Mobility.”

The presentation is in the Jay room of the Washington Hilton at 8am on Saturday morning. We have some experts in the field discussing important issues related to charter schools. Among these issues are:

*Charter school enrollment is certainly on the rise in Pennsylvania, especially in urban school districts

*Rural students select “cyber charter” schools more than students from other geographic locales

*Students tend to move to schools that have lower PSSA passing rates than the schools in which they were intitially enrolled

*Pennsylvania school districts are now sending more than a billion dollars to charter schools and it is hurting their day-to-day practices

*Charter schools tend to promote school segregation

*A higher percentage of students leave charter schools than they do traditional public schools

Our presentation is not going to be super sophisticated in terms of methods (more descriptive than anything else) so we are well aware of the obvious counterfactual claims that will come our way. That being said, there is little evidence to suggest that in Pennsylvania charter schools are the magic bullet that is “saving” public education. Rather, they seem like an expensive alternative that does about the same when compared to traditional schools on the metrics that policymakers use to evaluate schools (and sometimes charters do even worse). The obvious counterfactual is selection bias (and maybe the students are at a lower academic starting point), but we do know that these charter schools are not making it so these self-selecting students are now academic super stars. A big question we ask is, is the charter choice really worth the cost tax payers are paying in PA? Come watch our presentation and join the debate!

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