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Culture Beat / October 28, 2016

It’s Time for Marketing School

The growth of charter schools is affecting public school funding.

What does one do when the product one sells is inferior to that of the competition? Spend money on better marketing, of course — at least that’s what several school districts across the nation have chosen to do. Since 2004, national enrollment in charter schools has grown by 219% while over that same period public schools have seen enrollment decrease by 1%. This decrease has impacted the amount of funding public school districts receive — funding that’s tied to a school’s student population. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District has lost roughly $100 million in funding as the district’s enrollment is down by about 14,000 students. Most of the decreased enrollment has been attributed to increased enrollment in Los Angeles area charter schools.

While union-driven public schools complain of the loss of funding due to the competition from charter schools, their solutions often amount to nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. Jason Mandell, a spokesman for the California Charter Schools Association, defended charters, saying, “As more families choose charter schools, districts are being forced to look in the mirror and examine why many families aren’t satisfied with their schools. It’s healthy, because in many cases it’s forcing systems that have become complacent or stagnant to evolve and improve, in order to deliver the kind of high-quality education that families expect.”

Charter schools are continuing to prove that, given a true choice, parents will opt for the best educational opportunities available for their children. Forcing parents and their children to accept substandard schooling for the sake of financing teachers’ unions is quite simply egregious and un-American.

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