As the charter industry grows, many observers have wondered how their expansion affects the public schools in the same district. A new study published by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, addresses that question.


Policymakers have assumed that the charter sector would provide healthy competition for district public schools. The promise originally was that they would spur innovation and efficiency, and at the same time would be accountable for results. We know from the example of Milwaukee, which has had charters and vouchers for 25 years, that none of these promises were true. Nonetheless, the claims still are repeated and all too often believed by a gullible media and public, which seldom if ever hears critical views.


The present study should be distributed to every news outlet, so they understand the collateral damage that charters inflict on public schools.


“Little scholarship has been devoted to the impact of charter schools on, one, how much revenue school districts collect through local property taxes and, two, how school districts budget that revenue.

“With “The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation,” Jason B. Cook fills this void. Cook, a doctoral student in economics at Cornell University, focuses on Ohio, home to a high concentration of both online and brick-and-mortar charter schools, and examines school budget data in the state from 1982 through 2013. In addition to confirming in detail that charter competition has reduced federal, state, and local support for district schools, Cook finds that charter competition has driven down local funding by depressing valuations of residential property and has led school districts to redirect revenue from instructional expenditures (in particular, teacher salaries) to facility improvements. Cook complements these two important findings with thorough explanations.”