October 11, 2017

Clive Belfield, (917) 821-9219, Clive.Belfield@gmail.com
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

NYC charter school funding report not useful, review finds

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Oct. 11, 2017) — A report from the Department of Education Reform (EDRE) at the University of Arkansas (UARK) claimed that charter schools in NYC were not being fairly funded because of a funding gap favoring district schools. The authors of the report also asserted that certain co-located schools had fiscal advantages over other charters. Unfortunately, an academic review of the report finds it to be dated and of little use for policymakers or researchers.

Dr. Clive Belfield, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY), reviewed the report, Charter School Funding: Inequity in New York City, for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

In his review, Belfield raises some concerns about the report, including:

  1. The report does not attempt a rigorous comparison of charters to non-charter schools;
  2. It assumes that any differences in student characteristics across charter and district schools were trivial; and
  3. It concludes that raw, unadjusted funding amounts were sufficient for assessing fairness.

Additionally, Belfield identifies that the data are based on 2014 figures, which fails to capture funding reforms and regulations enacted in NYC charter schools since that time. In response, Belfield writes: "In light of these reforms, this report has been superseded by events."

Belfield finds the report is no longer policy-relevant and that it is unlikely to be very useful for policymakers or the research community.

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find the UARK EDRE report at:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/