Published Online: August 11, 2009
Published in Print: August 12, 2009, as The Benefits of Ending Charter School Caps

Letter

The Benefits of Ending Charter School Caps

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To the Editor:

Lower-performing charter schools are especially problematic when states cap charter school numbers (“Accountability Looms Large as Charter Proponents Mull Future,” July 15, 2009). Absent the cap, newer, better schools would enter to displace the low performers.

With a cap in place, however, it is up to charter authorizers to identify and close low performers, and then the students who had been in those schools must enroll in a school they thought was even worse than the charter they had chosen. Under a cap, the slot created by closing a low performer may be taken by a chartered school in another part of the state, or by a school with a mission unlike that of the closing charter, and thus be of no use to uprooted students.

Eliminate the cap, and better schools can displace low performers where they are. That benefit would be in addition to other advantages, such as increased market pressure and opportunities to innovate.

John Merrifield
Professor of Economics
University of Texas at San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas

Vol. 28, Issue 37, Page 30

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