A Think Twice Review of:
Review of Charter School Funding: Dispelling Myths about EMOs, Expenditure Patterns, & Nonpublic Dollars
Think Twice - Jan 18, 2022
Publisher/Think Tank - University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform
Author(s) - Angela K. Dills, Patrick J. Wolf, Corey A. DeAngelis, Jay F. May, Larry D. Maloney, and Cassidy Syftestad
The latest in a series of reports from the University of Arkansas Department of Education unconvincingly attempts to show that charter schools are inequitably funded compared to public district schools. The report, Charter School Funding: Dispelling Myths about EMOs, Expenditure Patterns, & Nonpublic Dollars, runs into several major problems according to Dr. Mark Weber of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Policy Perspective in the latest NEPC review.
First, it relies on a proprietary (not publicly available) dataset to make its claims, but the data conflict with publicly reported figures, and the methods used to create the dataset are not documented. The report's analysis also ignores several basics of school finance. Differences in student characteristics and school programming are not accounted for, categorical spending is conflated with potential profit taking from charter management organizations, and philanthropic giving is inadequately evaluated.