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NEPC’s October Education Interview of the Month Podcast Features a Discussion of Fiscal Impact of Charter Expansion

BOULDER, CO (October 18, 2018) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith and Dr. Gordon Lafer, a political economist at the University of Oregon, discuss the fiscal impact of charter schools on the funding of public education.

Focusing on Dr. Lafer’s study of the expansion of charter schools in three California school districts, they explore the way this expansion is limiting the capacity of district-run schools to best serve their students.

Dr. Lafer explains the net fiscal impact of a charter school opening and why this information is so critical for public education. In many parts of country, the unlimited expansion of charters has resulted in cuts to services for the vast majority of the students remaining in public schools. Losing students to charters has cost the California public school districts millions of dollars per year in funding. 

California has one of most unregulated charter school industries in the country, with no cap on the number of charters that can open. There are only two reasons a state can reject a charter application: if there is evidence that it will harm the students, or if it has no educational benefit whatsoever.  Lafer argues that as a result the detrimental fiscal impact of charter schools has become increasingly severe.

According to Lafer, to prevent unfettered growth of incompetent charters and the resulting funding cuts to public schools, state policy must take into account the economic and educational impact of charters in deciding whether or not to allow their future growth. 

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month.  All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here

Coming Next Month

In November, Greg’s guest will be Dr. Rick Mintrop of University of California Berkeley. Greg and Rick will explore the universal implementation of school vouchers and privatization in Chile, and what might happen in the U.S. if similar policies were to become more widespread here.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: