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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

More brains for the bucks at urban charters

“Public charter schools across eight major U.S. cities are 35 percent more cost-effective and produce a 53 percent higher return-on-investment (ROI) than residentially assigned government schools,” writes co-author Corey DeAngelis, a Cato Institute policy analyst.

Charter students showed higher achievement, despite lower funding, in every city, he writes. Boston charters had the strongest test scores.

Figure 1: Charter School Funding and Performance

Return on investment — brains for the buck — was strongest in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and Boston.

Figure 2: ROI for Charter Schools Relative to TPS (13 Years)

DeAngelis also is co-author of Doing More With Less: The Charter School Advantage in Michigan, which found higher achievement for lower funding in the state. “Each dollar invested in a Michigan public charter school produces 32 percent more student achievement than would be had by investing in the average district school,” he writes in the Detroit News. That translates into a 36 percent gain in lifetime earnings.

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