The fourth time is the charm: charter school legislation in Washington State
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Washington State is amongst a handful of states without charter school legislation. Even in the absence of such legislation, the idea of charter schools is no new phenomenon in Washington. State residents voted against the authorization of charter schools in 1996, 2000, and 2004. A review of voter‟s ballots and Seattle Times online newpaper archives revealed three of the most common reasons cited opposing charter school legislation in 1996, 2000, and 2004. 1. If charter school legislation was implemented, low-income and other disadvantaged students would be left behind in increasingly impoverished traditional public schools, 2. Charter schools increase taxes and take money away from traditional public schools, and 3. Charter schools are experimental and have not been proven to work. This research tests the validity of these three arguments in states with charter school legislation by answering the following research questions: 1. What was the demographic composition of traditional public schools vs. charter schools after charter school legislation was implemented? 2.What was the amount of per-pupil revenue for traditional public schools vs. charter schools after charter school legislation was implemented? 3. What percent of traditional public schools vs. charter school students performed at or above proficiency on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) after charter school legislation was implemented? Results reveal that greater percentages of minority students attended charter schools and charter schools receive significantly less funding per-pupil than traditional public schools. Results did not reveal any significant differences between NAEP scores for charter schools and traditional public schools.
- MA in Policy Studies