Is Choice a Panacea? (scholarly paper on KIPP and other charters)

quote: “Shifting tax dollars into charters turns out, despite the publicity, not to be the panacea for Black students, but an apparent diversion of tax dollars and public attention from the real possibilities that could come from a sustained investment in Texas and the nations public schools.”

abstract: Public concern about pervasive inequalities in traditional public schools, combined with growing political, parental, and corporate support, has created the expectation that charter schools are the solution for educating minorities, particularly Black youth. There is a paucity of research on the educational attainment of Black youth in privately operated charters, particularly on the issue of attrition. This paper finds that on average peer urban districts in Texas show lower incidence of Black student dropouts and leavers relative to charters. The data also show that despite the claims that 88-90% of the children attending KIPP charters go on to college, their attrition rate for Black secondary students surpasses that of their peer urban districts. And this is in spite of KIPP spending 30–60% more per pupil than comparable urban districts. The analyses also show that the vast majority of privately operated charter districts in Texas serve very few Black students.

Read the full paper here