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A Think Twice Review of:

Review of Think Again: Do Charter Schools Drain Resources From Traditional Public Schools?

Think Twice - May 18, 2023

Publisher/Think Tank - Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Author(s) - David Griffith

A recent report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute considers whether charter schools increase or decrease traditional public school districts’ total revenues, instructional spending per pupil, and efficiency.

Reviewer(s) - Huriya Jabbar, University of Texas at Austin

The report references most of the relevant literature and fairly assesses the evidence. However, it makes claims and policy recommendations that are untested empirically and unwarranted based on the research. For example, it concludes that districts’ higher expenditures in a charter environment are due to policies protecting traditional public schools from revenue fluctuations caused by charter competition. In doing so, it fails to consider other possible explanations, such as charters strategically enrolling relatively few students who are particularly costly to educate.