Charter schools rob money from the public schools. That’s an oft repeated claim from charter school opponents and from many of those who favor retaining the current cap on charter schools in North Carolina. Is the claim true? A new Issue Brief from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and authored by Bryan Hassel and Matthew Arkin of Public Impact Consulting, responds to that question – and five other myths about the financial impact of charter schools – with a resounding “No.” Rather than being a financial drain, Hassel and Arkin argue that charter schools actually spur public investment in education. The authors point out many schools attract planning and development grants specifically designed for charter schools. Moreover, they also demonstrate that charter schools are often quite successful at raising private funds for public education. Illinois is cited as an example. There, for every $10 in public funding, charter schools bring in an additional $1.78 in private funding.
Hassel and Arkin succeed in doing what charter school advocates in North Carolina need to do: attack alleged criticisms head-on. And, in so doing, charter school proponents effectively re-frame the debate in terms of the unique advantages and positive benefits charter schools provide. Currently, close to 5,200 students are on charter school waiting lists. Is there a more compelling reason for lifting the ban?