Saturday, September 19, 2015

Metro School Board member Mary Pierce explains how charters schools save money; not cost money.

Mary Pierce
Metro School Board member Mary Pierce writing in  today's Tennessean explains, counters, and demolishes Will Pinkston's argument that public charter schools take money away from regular public schools.  If you subscribe to The Tennessean you probably have read it, if not then you may want to follow this link and climb The Tennessean's paywall and read it. If that is too much trouble, let me summarize and quote from it.

Pierce ask what would happen to the school budget if all charter schools closed and the student now in charter schools returned to their zoned schools?  She writes, "This hypothetical exercise, completed by the MNPS Finance Office this summer, showed that if every student attending a charter school in 2014-15 had attended his or her zoned school, MNPS would have spent roughly $3.5 million more to educate them in district-managed schools."

She explains that the way those who say charter schools cost the system reason, is that they take the $74 million dollars that follows the 8,100 students educated to charter schools and say that that $74 million is a "cost of charters," She points out that this is inaccurate and illogical, because it assumes there would be no cost to educate these students if they returned to district schools.

Pierce says, "We need to acknowledge that in MNPS, charter schools are one of the most low-cost, high-return investments we are making for students. Six of the 14 State Reward Schools from MNPS are charters, and year-over-year, most Nashville charter schools' achievement and growth scores outpace the district."

While the cost savings is important and the argument that charters cost rather than save is simply not true, the more important advantage of charter schools is that they are saving lives.  While many district schools simply warehouse kids until they go to prison, charter schools are producing scholars among the most disadvantaged students in Nashville, and sending them to college. Charter schools are breaking the cycle of poverty. That is why we should support charter schools.

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