I was astonished to read a post on the EWA blog today about whether charter schools reduce the funding available to public schools.


“There’s no question that the growth of charter schools presents significant financial challenges for many school systems, especially in cities where they serve a large share of students. Where researchers disagree is how great the costs to districts are, and to what extent charter schools are to blame.”

The author posed the question as a “debate” between the distinguished economist Helen Ladd of Duke University—whose bio is star studded with degrees and honors—and Robin Lake, who is an advocate for the charter industry at the pro-charter Center for the Reinvention of Public Education. Ladd is a scholar. Lake is not.

And yet they are treated as equals by this shoddy reporting.

The writer didn’t bother to contact scholar Gordon Lafer, author of the “One Percent Solution” and of a recent study demonstrating that charters diverted tens of millions of dollars from public schools in three urban districts in California.


When school districts cut their budgets because of charter schools, they must lay off teachers and cut programs. That affects the education of the vast majority of students. Why is that a debatable issue?

I googled the author, David Loewenberg, and saw that he was TFA and the New America Foundation (funded largely by Google), and it made sense.