TC's Cohodes: "Massachusetts Charter Cap Holds Back Disadvantaged Students"
On the Education Next blog, Sarah Cohodes, assistant professor of education and public policy at TC, says that students in urban schools in Massachusetts would benefit from a November state ballot initiative that would lift the cap on charter school expansion. The measure would add 12 new, approved charters to the current limit of charter schools that can be opened each year.
“[R]esearch shows that charter schools in the urban areas of Massachusetts have large, positive effects on educational outcomes," Cohodes and coauthor Susan Dynarski, professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan, write. "The effects are particularly large for disadvantaged students, English learners, special education students, and children who enter charters with low test scores. In marked contrast, we find that the effects of charters in the suburbs and rural areas of Massachusetts are not positive."
But the charter cap now in force in Massachusetts does not limit charter expansion in suburban and rural areas. Lifting the cap, therefore, would "have no effect on the rate at which these charters expand," the professors write. By contrast, "Massachusetts’ charter cap currently prevents expansion in precisely the urban areas where charter schools are doing their best work. Lifting the cap will allow more students to benefit from charter schools that are improving test scores, college preparation, and college attendance."
Published Thursday, Sep 22, 2016