Bigger Bang, Fewer Bucks? The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities

29 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018

See all articles by Corey DeAngelis

Corey DeAngelis

Reason Foundation; Cato Institute

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Larry Maloney

Aspire Consulting

Jay May

EduAnalytics, LLC

Date Written: February 15, 2018

Abstract

We examine the differences in cost-effectiveness and return-on-investment (ROI) for public charter schools and traditional public schools (TPS) in eight major cities in the United States. The cities are Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, New York City, San Antonio, and the District of Columbia. We utilize data on how much money is invested in public charter schools and TPS, what levels of student achievement are attained across the two public school sectors, and how much economic payoff our society can expect to receive as a result of the educational investments in each sector. Ours is the first study to examine these differences across the United States at the city level. We find that public charter schools outperform TPS on both productivity metrics overall and for all eight cities. On average, public charter schools are around 35 percent more cost-effective and produce 38-53 percent higher return-on-investment than TPS, depending on how one weights the sample.

Keywords: charter school; school choice; school productivity; return-on-investment

JEL Classification: I28, I20

Suggested Citation

DeAngelis, Corey and Wolf, Patrick and Maloney, Larry and May, Jay, Bigger Bang, Fewer Bucks? The Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities (February 15, 2018). EDRE Working Paper No. 2018-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3125824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3125824

Corey DeAngelis (Contact Author)

Reason Foundation ( email )

1747 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
United States

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Larry Maloney

Aspire Consulting ( email )

14567 North Outer Forty Drive
Suite 110
Chesterfield, MO 63017
United States

Jay May

EduAnalytics, LLC ( email )

401 S. Shaffer Drive
New Freedom, PA 17349-9462
United States

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