Money Matters, Clips, And…Seriously?

It’s April 25th.  In, 404 BC the Spartans defeated the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War.  Today, education’s silly wars continue unabated. But first three clips:

Signal article in the Boston Globe looks at the issue of what various tax-exempt institutions pay in property tax on property they own.  In some cities when you add up the churches, universities, hospitals etc…it’s a significant share of the property.  As revenue pressure increases look for more of this . Wash Post article takes a look at airline safety and the challenges of regulation. “The bottom line is regulators have put airlines in control of their own aviation safety, and passengers are strapped in for the ride.”  Sounds familiar…

Via Ed Week, more on pensions from Costrell and Podurgsky.

On federal policy one reason it’s so hard to have a serious conversation about program consolidation and performance-agreements for states is because of ideas like this that poison the discussion. Federal dollars are the best targeted education dollars toward low-income students.  It makes no sense to lessen that given the reality of state and local education finance. No Child Left Behind (and some choices about what formulas to use over the past decade) actually improved targeting.  Why roll that back?  Especially because it’s not at odds with greater state flexibility overall? Specifying where you have to spend federal dollars is not the same as saying how.

In the New York Times Michael Winerip again identifies an important issue but then mangles it.  Last week it was diversity and this week it’s the tension between independent charters and big networks (or maybe it was just intended to be a hit on Eva Moskowitz, it’s not quite clear).  Anyway, there are legitimate friction points between one-off or independent charter schools and the big non-profit networks.  They raise issues around what genuine choice looks like, philanthropic strategy, and how to manage the tension between reaching the scale to serve more students better and diversity of schooling options.  These issues are not new but are apparent and playing out in cities around the country – and there are not easy or pat solutions. Yet Winerip instead focuses on some emails between Joel Klein and Eva Moskowitz? Really New York Times?

But, it could be worse, my hometown paper, The Washington Post, decided that this was worthy of print space this morning…

8 Replies to “Money Matters, Clips, And…Seriously?”

  1. Winerip notes how much charter schools receive per pupil, but then fails to mention that district schools in New York City get approximately $3000 more per student. He also flippantly states that “Rent is not something charter chains worry about” and then later contradicts himself by pointing out that one-third of chain schools in New York City do not get free space in public school buildings. He utterly fails to explore the issue of school placement in public buildings; critics complain about unproven new schools so it makes sense for the NYC Department of Education to provide space for charter chains with proven models.

  2. @ Gideon

    A report by the independent budget office found that MOST charter schools in New York City (the ones located in public school buildings) receive MORE in per pupil funding than district schools. A link to the report is below.

    The report does not take into account the hundreds of millions in private capital raised by large charter school operators. Red flags should be raised for schools like KIPP who are currently receiving more in per pupil funding than public schools in NYC. Private donations mean that KIPP is able to spend an additional $2,250-$3,250 per pupil according KIPP’s math or an additional $5,000 per pupil according to researchers at U of Michagan.

    @ Andrew

    The point Winerip is making is that a small number of politically connected charter operators have undue influence on DOE policy. He could not make that point without illustrating the close relationship of Moskowitz and Klein. I would hardly define it as a “hit job”. I think it is clear that she was advocating for her schools the way any good school leader should be. The problem is the unrestricted access she had to Klein. Its too bad they focused solely on Moskowitz, Deborah Kenney of Harlem Village Academy threw Klein a birthday party earlier this year. You won’t see that in any papers.

    There are serious problems of equity and accountability when the School Chancellor and mayor has such close relationships with charter operators. Klein has helped some charter schools (HVA and HSA) fund raise while not helping others. E-mails show Klein appealed to Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad to secure a $1 million from Broad’s foundation for HSA. Bloomberg was at the HVA fundraiser earlier this year. I doubt either will be at my high achieving public school’s fundraiser.

    More on the Email scandal

  3. @ Gideon

    A report by the independent budget office found that MOST charter schools in New York City (the ones located in public school buildings) receive MORE in per pupil funding than district schools. A link to the report is below.

    gothamschools (dot) org/2011/02/15/most-city-charters-receive-more-funds-than-districts-study-finds/

  4. notownedbyabillionaire: you are correct, the IBO found that charter schools in district schools get similar amounts per pupil as district schools (in 2008-09 it was less, in 2009-10 is was more) because they include the value of the public space as revenue to the charter school. My point, which I clearly stated, is that charter schools that do NOT get space in a public building get much less funding than district schools and have to pay for their facility out of their operating budget. If we’re going to be fair, then either give charter schools funds for facilities equal to what district schools receive or provide them with space in public buildings. Critics of charter schools argue that they cannot be compared to district schools because their enrollments differ; why do they never argue that they should not be compared because they receive less funding?

  5. I am glad we agree that most charter schools in NYC receive more funding than public schools. I honestly didn’t get that from your first comment.

    You also pointed out correctly that charter vs. district comparisons are often not apples to apples comparisons due to the different populations of students served. This makes comparisons between the better funded charter operators that don’t enroll the same students as district schools even more troublesome.

    Our one disagreement is that, I don’t think we can claim that the funding disparity between some charter schools and their public school counterparts levels the playing field across the board. I see one problem with this line of thinking.

    Public schools have significant restraints on how they spend money. (i.e. they can only use DOE approved vendors, have many more mandated HR allocations and as was done earlier this year, Tweed can reach into public schools savings accounts and take back the money.) In reality these constraints mean that charter schools should be able to find significant saving over public schools. I think you and I would probably both agree that public schools should be given greater freedom with their budgets.

  6. Matthew Ladner Says:
    April 25th, 2011 at 10:48 am
    Ms. Straus has damaged the credibility of her paper in the past. Apparently the standard mo is to close the comment section if anyone subjects a claim to a bit of fact checking, or simple logic:

    Same thing happened at

  7. Why is it that it appears that parties in congress are always trying to rearrange a law to suit their agendas. Title 1 funding was intended for the less advantaged, now thru changes that look harmless, lumping funding together actually undermine the very program and population they were created to help. This is the kind of strategy that causes me to lose what little faith I had in politicans.
    No wonder so many are angry with our representatives and senators in congress. I know we need to tighten our belts, use our money in a wiser fashion, but not at the price of the poorest of our children.

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