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Public Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Public Schools in Denver

Friday, April 12, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Peter Mason
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Public Charter Schools Outperform Traditional Public Schools in Denver


Academic study finds that public charter schools in Denver deliver 30 percent better
reading and math outcomes per dollar invested than traditional public schools


DENVER – Charter schools, including those in Denver, produce better reading and math outcomes per dollar invested than traditional public schools. That’s the analysis of a new academic research report from the University of Arkansas, A Good Investment: The Updated Productivity of Public Charter Schools in Eight U.S. Cities


The report examines the academic cost-effectiveness and return-on-investment (ROI) for charter schools. On average, for the cities examined, public charter schools are 40 percent more cost-effective and produce a 53 percent larger ROI than traditional public schools. Cost-effectiveness is measured by how many 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math and reading test score points each sector produced for each $1,000 spent per student.


Public charter schools in Denver specifically produced a 30 percent larger ROI than traditional public schools, including:

  • Public charter schools are 25 percent more cost-effective in reading than traditional public schools
  • Public charter schools are 26 percent more cost-effective in math than traditional public schools


The results were equally impressive nationally. On average, for the students in the cities included in the study, public charter schools are 40 percent more cost-effective and produce a 53 percent larger ROI than traditional public schools. When examining the long-term earning potential of students, the results were also clear. On average, each dollar invested in a child’s K-12 schooling in traditional public schools yields $4.41 in lifetime earnings compared to $6.37 in lifetime earnings from each dollar invested in a child in public charter schools.


Despite these objective, measurable successes demonstrated by public charter schools, the researchers at the University of Arkansas recently released a different academic report that found “funding inequities that handicap students in public charter schools have continued through the 2015-16 school year in 13 out of 14 metropolitan areas examined in the U.S. Across the 14 locations, public charter schools received $5,828 less per pupil than traditional public schools, representing a funding inequity of 27 percent, on average.”


“This academic research study confirms what charter school supporters already know: investing in public charter schools is a smart decision that delivers more results and better outcomes than should be expected based on their level of funding,” said Ben Lindquist, president of the Colorado League of Charter Schools. “When school boards have to make tough decisions about how to spend their limited funds, they should be choosing to invest more heavily in charter schools if they are focused on giving their communities the best student outcomes.”


About the Colorado League of Charter Schools


The Colorado League of Charter Schools is a nonprofit, membership-based organization that represents the interests of the state’s 225 charter schools and the families of the 124,000 students who attend them. Our mission is to improve student achievement by supporting Colorado’s charter schools, positively reshaping the public school landscape, and advancing opportunities for innovation and expanded high-quality public school choice. We want all Colorado students to have access to high-quality, publicly-funded school options. More information is available at