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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2004

If You Build Them, They Will Come.

Jay P. Greene of the Manhattan Institute reports that allowing charter schools to flourish helps with overcrowding in all of Florida's public schools. Greene explains the simple math behind this concept:

In 1993-1994 there were 2,867 schools serving 2,041,714 students for an average school size of 712 students. By 1998-1999 the state had opened 312 additional public schools for a total of 3,179 schools, but the number of students grew at an even faster rate to a total of 2,336,793, or 735 students per school.

Since 1998, however, the average number of students per school in Florida has actually been declining, reaching 685 students per school last year — that's even lower than it was a decade ago...

The quicker pace is primarily explained by the large expansion of charter schools in recent years. Of the "extra" 304 schools brought online in the last five years, 231 were charter schools. Before 1998, the state had only a handful of charter schools.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute took notice of Greene's article in its weekly E-bulletin, calling it a "lesson for Nevada." Perhaps charter schools could help with the problem NPRI discusses in a recent paper, "Nevada Public School Performance: Parents and Employers Give a Failing Grade." More research here and here on charter schools from the Center for Education Reform.



Posted on 08/09/04 11:51 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

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