September 22, 2004
Report: New York's charter schools have established successful records
New York's charter schools have established a successful record in comparison to traditional public schools, and should be given more resources, according to a new report by the Washington-based Progressive Policy Institute.
The report found that the state's 50 charter schools have improved more than previously existing public schools in the same areas.
“No charter school in New York has been in operation for more than five years and most are in their third year of operation or less,” the report said. “In that short history, however, New York charter schools have already shown impressive results in their students’ test scores.”
In addition, the report said charter school students and parents in New York also were eager to give the school high marks in other areas.
“Another indication of charter schools’ attractiveness to parents is that, in 2002, every charter school sponsored by SUNY had a waiting list,” the report added.
Contrary to some claims that charter schools drain local district resources, most give school districts an incentive to become more innovative with resources and academics, the report said.
“Just two years after the charter school bill’s passage, the New York State School Boards Association urged its members to view themselves as competing for students even if no charter schools are on the horizon and to treat students, parents, taxpayers, and other stakeholders as customers who expect good value,” the report said.
The report encouraged state lawmakers and others to level the financial playing field between charter schools and public schools to encourage more competition.
“If the state is serious about making chartered schools a strong element of the state public school system, it must ensure charter school students receive their fair share of state and local public dollars,” the report said.
New York’s charter schools receive about two-thirds to three-fourths of traditional school’s per-pupil allotment, depending on the district, the report said. The funding passes to the charter school through the district.
The report also asked lawmakers and policy experts to consider a number of steps that would make charter schools even more competitive including:
- Ending the legislated limit on the number of new schools
that can be chartered each year.
- Promoting better analysis and evaluation of charter schools,
particularly of “value-added measures that go beyond
schools’ test scores (for example, safety, retention
rates and success after leaving school).”
- Encouraging districts to improve schools, including converting
some public schools into new charters, as a response to
competition from existing charters.
- Updating state charter laws for better and more widespread access to charter schools.
The full report is available in pdf format at www.ppionline.org/documents/NewYork_0921.pdf.