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Charter School Location

Evidence and Policy Implications

Robert Bifulco

Maio 2014, inglês

Charter schools are just one school choice option, but one of the options that is growing rapidly. Robert Bifulco contributes a thorough review of the literature on charter school location, pointing out areas where more research would be useful. He also provides information from the Common Core of Data (2009–2010) on the location of charter schools across the United States. He concludes that charter schools tend to locate in large cities and in districts with a higher percentage of low-income and black students, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest and in most of the South. Also, in a majority of the states with charter schools, charters tend to locate in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Importantly, he found no evidence that charter schools systematically avoid the most disadvantaged children or seek out the most advantaged neighborhoods.

Charter school location depends on both demand factors and supply factors. Demand factors are important, as parents tend to prefer to send their children to schools close to home. Supply factors include costs, financing policies, accountability policies, political realities, and authorizer behavior. Policy makers are likely to have multiple, possibly conflicting goals for charter schools that involve impacts on school segregation, fiscal impacts on public school districts, school competition, and housing markets. Policy makers could potentially tweak some of the supply factors to better achieve their primary policy goals.

This paper was presented at the Lincoln Institute’s annual Land Policy Conference in 2013 and is Chapter 9 of the book Education, Land, and Location.


Economia, Inequidade, Governo Local, Pobreza, Políticas Públicas, Urbano, Urbanismo