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How Charter Schools Undermine Good Education Policymaking

As publicly funded schools of choice operated by private entities, charter schools differ from traditional public schools in that they have more operational autonomy, their teachers are not public employees, and they are operated by nonprofit or for-profit private entities under renewable contracts. The main sense in which they are public is that they are funded by taxpayer dollars. This policy memo describes how charter schools disrupt four core goals of education policy: establishing coherent systems of schools, attending to child poverty and disadvantage, limiting racial segregation and isolation, and ensuring that public funds are spent wisely. The author recommends that policies be designed both to limit the expansion of charters and to reduce the extent to which they disrupt the making of good education policy.