Competitive crunch

It should come as no surprise that the economy has become the excuse de jour for all sorts of bad policy. It should also come as no surprise that charter school detractors are going after these alternative models yet again (see here, here, and here, too). The latest attacks come from districts in Utah and Massachusetts where anti-charter forces want moratoria on new schools. The claim? That charters are draining already-scarce district resources and districts shouldn't be financially responsible for schools they don't oversee. The inconvenient truth? Districts are being pressed by charter competition. The financial officer for one Utah district claims that districts have innocent intentions: "It's time we examine whether charter schools have lived up to their promise. I think there's a growing realization that they're more expensive to run than public schools," she explains. More expensive? Clearly she never read Fordham's groundbreaking analysis of charter school funding, which found that charters receive about 80 cents on the dollar compared to their traditional public school counterparts. Let's call this what it is: just another attempt to strangle charter schools in their crib.

"Districts Lobby to Halt New Charter Schools," by Kirsten Stewart, Salt Lake Tribune, January 8, 2008

"Raise the Cap on Charters," Boston Globe, January 10, 2008

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