November 03, 2017

Proponents of school choice gathered in Jackson, Mississippi. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

Charter schools have worked their way into the education systems of more than 40 states. Yet the debate over the role charter schools should play has left America’s educators divided. What does the data reveal about their impact? Listen to our discussion with David Osborne from the Progressive Policy Institute and Chester Finn, President Emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Three Takeaways 

  • Cities are a hub for charter schools. And when they begin to populate an area, Osborne says district schools often respond by performing better.
  • Hurricane Katrina had some unintended consequences on New Orleans’ education system. More than three-quarters of the city’s school buildings were damaged. Then, the Crescent City switched to a system where charter schools were the majority. Now, New Orleans is moving to an all-charter system.
  • Charter school supporters aren’t exactly who you’d think. Even though charters tend to help minority students, Democrats often oppose charter schools because teacher unions oppose them. Meanwhile, Finn says free-market Republicans are all for new charters, as long as they’re not set up in “their cushy suburbs.”

More reading 

After this piece aired, we received a lot of responses on the subject of charter schools. So we've decided to update this piece with some different perspectives and a whole bunch of data. Here you go:

david osborne, Education, innovation hub, pri, WGBH, charter schools, Kara Miller, chester finn

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