Letter: Inaccurate comparison
Joyce Rankin, there are a few problems with statements you made in the May 7 Across the Street column about charter schools. Your information is inaccurate and misleading. You state, “Colorado charter schools serve a higher percentage of students of color and English Language Learners (ELL) than Colorado’s traditional public schools, and receive less funding on average than Colorado’s traditional public schools.”
In the 3rd Congressional District you represent that is inaccurate. According to GreatSchools.org, the public schools in the Roaring Fork Valley serve a population that is around 49-65 percent Latino, depending on the school, compared with two charter schools in the same valley with Latino populations at 12 percent and 19 percent.
The public schools in the Roaring Fork Valley also outperform the charter schools in student growth, the most significant measure of a school’s effectiveness.
Charter schools receive less funding because they serve smaller populations and do not offer the programs that traditional public schools offer, such as band, choir, or competitive athletics. These offerings require facilities, staff and resources that charter schools just can’t provide.
It is very common for students from charter schools to participate in programs such as music and sports at the traditional public school. The traditional schools are already underfunded and are expected to provide opportunities for students and families that don’t even attend the school, further stressing the traditional school’s resources.
So, yes, it is true charter schools use less state funding, but their students still use the funding through their participation in programs at traditional schools.
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