« Wis. School Vouchers for Students With Special Needs Survive Early Challenges | Main | School Choice Expansion Nixed from ESEA Rewrite for the Second Time »

Charter Schools Haven't Broken Into The Preschool Market, Here's Why

| No comments

Despite steady growth nationally, charter schools have yet to really break into the preschool market.

One major reason: Out-of-sync state charter and pre-K policies, according to a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning think tank.

The report analyzes the 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, that offer both charter school and state-funded pre-K programs.

In the vast majority of those states, charter schools face significant barriers to developing and running a state pre-K program.

Among them:

  • In nine states, charter or pre-K law doesn't allow charter schools to offer preschool;
  • In 22 states, pre-K per pupil funding is much lower than what charters receive for K-12 students;
  • In 10 states, charter schools can not automatically enroll pre-K students in their kindergarten programs;
  • In nine states, it's at the discretion of regular school districts whether they want to share pre-K funds with charter schools—many don't.

Based on those and other factors, the report breaks down how "hospitable" each state is toward charter preschool programs.

Charter school preschool policies by state.PNG

The report argues these policies are preventing a powerful synergy between the two types of programs—both often leveraged to help low-income kids get ahead—from being realized.

Bellwether Education Partners' Sara Mead (a noted pre-K expert) and Ashley LiBetti Mitchell wrote the report for the Fordham Institute, with funding from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. Both the Walton and Joyce foundations provide some grant funding for Education Week, but the paper retains full editorial control of its content.

To see a state-by-state analysis of charter pre-K policies as well as recommendations for authorizers and state and federal policymakers, check out the full report here.


Graphic from 'Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration' by Sara Mead and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel.

Don't miss another Charters & Choice post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox.


Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments