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ERIC Number: ED559668
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Pages: 55
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
Do Charter Schools Ruin Local Public Schools in Poor Neighborhoods? Evidence from New York City. Working Paper #02-14
Cordes, Sarah
Institute for Education and Social Policy
Charter schools and school choice are popular reforms believed to improve student performance largely through market competition, increased innovation, or some combination of the two mechanisms. Opponents of school choice argue that such reforms sap needed funds and resources from the traditional public school system. Despite this claim, there has been little or no research examining the impact of charter schools on the resources of surrounding public schools. Given recent policies such as Race to the Top that encourage the proliferation of charter schools, it is important to understand the impact that charter schools have on the level and distribution of resources in traditional neighborhood public schools. Using data on New York City Public Schools for the period 1997-2010, this paper seeks to answer the question: What impact do charter schools have on neighborhood public school resources? As a supplemental analysis, I further probe my results by answering the question: What potential mechanisms explain these effects, if any? Findings indicate that charter schools lead to average increases in financial resources including total and instructional spending per pupil, with small or insignificant changes in nonfinancial resources such as the percent of teachers with master's degrees, the percent of teachers with more than two years of experience in their current school, and pupil-teacher ratios. These findings are robust to several different measures of charter school competition, definitions of neighborhood, and model specifications. Exploration of mechanisms reveals that increased per pupil expenditures may be due, in part, to decreasing enrollments of general education students and higher concentrations of both free lunch eligible and special education students in neighborhood public schools following charter school entry. On net, charter schools appear to have no significant negative effects on public school resources as measured by expenditures, although some schools that serve larger shares of lower cost (i.e. general education and immigrant) may experience decreased spending. These findings are consistent with a theory where charter schools act as profit maximizers that compete with public schools for students, particularly those students who are easiest and least costly to educate. Tables are appended.
Institute for Education and Social Policy. New York University, Joseph and Violet Pless Hall, 82 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003. Tel: 212-998-5880; Fax: 212-995-4564; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: New York University, Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP)
Identifiers - Location: New York
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305B080019