Dr. Matthew Ladner

Recently, ASA staff performed an analysis of the 200 schools its students formerly attended. Of those, 136 schools failed to make “adequate yearly progress” under No Child Left Behind. Parents flock to quality: with little more than word of mouth, ASA has approximately two applicants for every available seat.

Here is a little food for thought: with charters and magnets doing so well, what is the point of having school district administrative bureaucracies at all? They’re not helping produce top 100 national or top 10 local schools and they divert quite a bit of funding away from the classroom. Maybe all the talk about consolidating school districts should really be talk about “un-districting” schools completely. The most commonly used word to describe large school districts, after all, is “troubled.”

For dessert, consider the following: the state of Arizona has been either spending or borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars each year to build new public schools. Charter schools operate without such facility funding, making use of commercially available space. Given the forecasted multi-year budget crunch facing the state, lawmakers would be wise to forgo building new public schools. Instead, school districts should use their ability to authorize charter schools to deal with overcrowding. We just might get more school options for parents at a lower cost to the taxpayer.

Dr. Matthew Ladner

Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute and an expert on educational reform and school choice. Dr. Ladner holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston.
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