New study says charter schools more productive—and generate a higher return on investment—than traditional public schools

A new report from the University of Arkansas should provide proponents of charter schools and school choice additional ammunition in their efforts to reform a struggling American education system.

According to Reason, Researchers examined data from 21 different states. While the results varied, charter schools were found to be more productive—and generate a higher return on investment—than traditional public schools (TPS). On average, charter school students scored so much better on assessments that spending money on charters was roughly 40 percent more efficient than spending money on TPS. According to the study:

Comparing [National Assessment of Education Progress] achievement obtained in public charter schools versus TPS for 21 states and DC, we find the public charter school sector delivers a weighted average of an additional 17 NAEP points per $1000 invested in math, representing a productivity advantage of 40% for charters; In reading, the public charter sector delivers an additional 16 NAEP points per $1000 invested, representing a productivity advantage of 41% for charters.

The bad news is that, according to the report, as pointed out on page 28 of the report, New Mexico’s charter schools have the lowest State-level Return on Investment for Charter Schools Relative to Traditional Public Schools of the states studied. It is still positive, but not as good as it could be.

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5 Replies to “New study says charter schools more productive—and generate a higher return on investment—than traditional public schools”

  1. Hey Paul, Do you remember your last public meeting pushing charter schools? That is the meeting where Mark Boitano, the leading figure in the charter school movement in New Mexico, stated quite clearly that the chief characteristic of charter schools is mediocrity?

    Did anyone in this study consider the fact that many, if not most, charter schools are able to select their students, whereas public schools welcome everyone? If that differentiation is not made then the only thing these statistics are doing is comparing apples to Volkswagens.

  2. Hey Paul! What happened to one of my comments? Did you delete it? I’m asking because I can’t seem to find it. I will repeat it for you and find out if you delete it this time. You call for transparency and then hide a post that is critical of you?

    This is what I posted: A highly respected local business man had this to say about you and your Rio Grande Foundation, “We all held our breath when Paul came to town, waiting to see what would happen. Most of the ‘common sense’ business people have nothing to do with any of his events. The RGF is focused on a rigid, far right wing agenda.”

    That is the essence of what I posted last time. Let’s see if you allow it to stay up this time.

    1. I never saw this comment and wouldn’t delete it if I had (all of your comments are approved automatically by the system once I approve your initial post). My response would simply be this: RGF is an “open-door” organization. If people have suggestions or comments about how we do our work, they are welcome to give us that input. If your business friend is interested in discussing some particulars relating to our work, he is welcome to call or email me. I can’t guarantee we’ll agree or that RGF will change what it is doing, but I have cordial conversations with very liberal folks all the time and am certainly willing to have the discussion with a common-sense business-person if they are willing to reach out directly rather than working through intermediaries.

      I’d need more specific examples than the smear “far-right wing agenda.” That is really a meaningless statement. In recent weeks and months, RGF has discussed the need for school choice, opposed corporate welfare and subsidies (repeatedly), supported common-sense criminal justice reforms, and spoken out against anti-competitive state regulations on transportation businesses. I’m not sure what the phrase “far-right wing agenda” means and cannot respond to such a vague attack.

    2. Oh, and Ken, if you personally would like to have coffee during the month of August, I’d be more than happy to share with you what RGF’s vision is for New Mexico. We might have more in common than you think.

      1. Paul, I’m in! Date, time, place? You’re the one with the job. I can accommodate your schedule if you give me two or three possibilities. Let’s do it. Ken

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