Money Matters!

Leave it to the New York Times to botch the lede on an education story! In today’s story about the new charter finance study they inaccurately characterize charter schools as privately run (some are, most aren’t) while failing to note that in a seminal moment in the education debate the Fordham Foundation has decided that money does matter after all!

Seriously, financed by the Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation, Fordham has put together the most comprehensive look at charter school finance to date. Working with Sheree Speakman and Bryan Hassel the report offers a thorough look at the revenue that public charter schools and traditional public schools receive. Punchline: charters generally receive a lot less.

Because the report delves into the notoriously opaque and confusing world of school finance it’s not without some problems but the methodology is transparent so further research should shed some light on that going forward and the data problems are not so substantial as to undermine the primary thrust. Worth nothing that the most vocal complaints so far are coming from MN where charter supporters say the study overstates the amount of money that charters get.

It’s solid enough that litigation is a good bet going forward. An interesting new angle on school finance suits. Good time to be an education lawyer these days, huh?

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