The cost of the charter school cap

October 5, 2016

CEPR Faculty Director Thomas Kane reviews the evidence pertaining to Massachusetts charter schools in the following CommonWealth magazine article. 

IN NOVEMBER, VOTERS in Massachusetts will decide whether to raise the cap on charter school enrollment. The irony is that for most voters—those living in suburban and rural communities with charter enrollment far below the current cap—the vote is inconsequential. The charter cap applies to the percentage each school district’s spending which can be sent to charter schools and most communities remain far below the cap. However, for many parents living in communities which are bumping up against the current cap—cities such as Boston, Holyoke, Chelsea and Lawrencethe stakes are very high. In November, their fellow citizens will determine their children’s future educational options.

So, the question is, should voters statewide limit the educational choices of parents in low-income, urban communities? And, if so, on what basis might they do so? For instance, is there any evidence that parents are being misled, that charter schools are actually diminishing rather than improving their children’s achievement? Is there any evidence that charter schools are discriminating against English language learners or special education students? Are charter schools really undercutting district schools financially?

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Read more about the evidence of Massachusetts' charter schools in the new report by Thomas Kane: 
Let the Numbers Have Their Say: Evidence on Massachusetts' Charter Schools