Charter Schools Program The Charter Schools Program provides grants to states to support the planning and development of new charter schools. This funding is critical, because charter schools usually receive less public funding than traditional public schools. In fact, arecent study found that charter schools received 19.2 percent less funding per pupil on average. Charter schools critics argue that they don’t produce outcomes that are any better than traditional public schools. This is true, on average, and charter schools should be held accountable for results like other public schools. But the existence of charter schools has spurred the development of some of the most promising school models for educating disadvantaged students. School models like KIPP, Yes Prep, and Achievement First have achieved unprecedented outcomes for students in poverty and have even outachieved schools with higher-income students. A recent study of KIPP middle schools conducted by Mathematica found that the schools had a positive impact on students’ math and reading achievement in all four years after students entered the schools. These schools wouldn’t exist if states didn’t have charter laws on the books, and educators can’t develop or replicate schools like these without financial support. Recent momentum for education reform has been unprecedented. It would be unwise and shortsighted to stall that momentum now. Congress should find offsets from ineffective programs to support the funding for teachers’ jobs. Robin Chait is the Associate Director for Teacher Quality at American Progress.
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