CHARTER SCHOOL LEGISLATION:
DISASTER, DETOUR, IRRELEVANT, OR REFORM TOOL
University of Texas - SA
COB - Downtown Campus
501 West Durango Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78207
Legislation allowing chartered schools appears to be the school reform debate's path of least resistance.
But is the concept up to the Reform Challenge?
The answer to the question implied in the title could be that the United States includes some charter legislation that will fit in each category.
Analysis of charter laws, not chartered schools.
The first is the definition of appropriate reform: Policy changes that maximize the rate of improvement in what children know and what they can do.
May not be possible to change existing schools and systems enough to constitute appropriate reform.
· Not Ideology and Cynicism
· Huge Body of Evidence
The Disaster Scenario:
· charter laws hurt traditional public schools because budget cuts exceed the schools’ savings.
· The private school sector shrinks in size and quality.
· Reform efforts neglect better long-term strategies.
· Gains by chartered school users aren’t large enough to offset the damage to the private school sector and traditional public schools.
· Rivalry between chartered and traditional public schools is not that productive, perhaps even harmful.
· Chartered Schools are Typically Few, Small, and Draw from Multiple Attendance Areas + Private Schools.
· Small enrollment changes would not lower traditional public school costs very much.
· Public School Dominance Creates the Potential for Destructive Responses.
· Shrink Private School Enrollments
· Reform Detour Effect
The Detour Scenario: Just the reform detour effect
The Irrelevance Scenario: Just the reform detour effect
· No Catalytic Impacts
· Charter Laws Pursued only as a Limited Escape Hatch
The Reform Agent Scenario: The Fast Track Scenario
· Modest Rivalry Effects and New Choices Enough to Prompt Major Improvements in Some Schools and Replacement of Others.
· Significant CopyCat Pressures to Upgrade the Weakest Laws
· Conversions Not Necessarily Bad
Public School Systems: Some Modest Productive Responses, Some Indifference, and Some Destructive Responses
· Ability to Make Positive Responses Faces Many More Barriers
· Easier to Harass, Misinform, and Sabotage and those responses exist.
· Helps by Removing Outliers
· Helps by Easing Growth Pressures
Little Replacement: Slow Rate at Most
· Would Replacement Even Do That Much Good
· Significant and Growing Restrictions
· Little Potential for Genuine Market Forces
· New Zealand Experience
· Price Change is a Key Entry-Exit Regulatory, Surplus-Shortage Eliminator
· Key Incentive to Improve and Facilitator of Innovation
Open Admissions Requirement Inhibits Specialization
Revenue, Cost, and Longevity Uncertainty
Non-Profit Only Usually
Less Money per Child Than Traditional School
Access to Fewer Centralized Services