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The impact of charter school growth on segregation, funding, and academic achievement in Maricopa County

Fountain, Timothy James (2018) The impact of charter school growth on segregation, funding, and academic achievement in Maricopa County. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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In 1994 Arizona approved Revised Statute §15-181 sometimes referred to as “charter law”. This statute was designed to perform two specific functions; the first was to increase choice for Arizona families; and the second was to increase pupil achievement. Over 20 years later, charter schools in Arizona have grown to a total of over 547 schools serving in excess of 180,000 students. This makes the percentage of students receiving their education from charter schools in Arizona one of the largest in the nation at nearly one of every five students. However, ASRS 15-181 is also one of the most lax statues in the country leaving the public education system in Arizona vulnerable to unintended consequences of the charter/choice movement. The researcher determined the impact of charter school choice on the state’s public school system. To evaluate the impact of school choice, this study looked at how market competition and school effectiveness theories have changed the landscape of public schools. Using records from the Department of Education and the annual Superintendent’s reports, the researcher looked at enrollment and financing trends with charters and traditional public schools to measure how they were working with or against each other. The researcher also analyzed the yearly state testing results and A-F grades given to all public schools based on state standardized testing to determine differences in academic performance of charter schools versus traditional public schools. The results of this study indicated that the evolution of charter schools in Arizona has resulted in unintended consequences to the segregation of students and the education budget while failing to yield significant academic differences. Charters have aided in demographic shifts in schools creating higher concentrations of Caucasian and Asian students in charter schools when comparing them to their traditional district school counterparts. Further, the location of new charter schools has shifted over the last twenty years away from areas with greater diversity and concentrated in areas of higher socioeconomic status and lower minority status. The impact on the public education system has been a larger financial strain on Arizona’s budget because the funding model was created prior to the use of charters as a public school option. All the while, charter schools have failed to yield academic results that vary significantly from those of nearby traditional district schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Charter schools; School funding; Segregation
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Educational Leadership
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2021 18:11
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5428

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