Study: Co-Location Does Not Harm Traditional Public Schools

by Alec Torres

The Manhattan Institute issued a report recently, finding that when charter schools are co-located with traditional public schools, traditional public schools neither suffer nor gain.

Co-location has been at the subject of contentious debate in New York City for some time now. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg first instituted the policy of co-location — which allows charter schools to occupy underused or unused space in traditional district schools rent-free – in 2003. Now 183 schools servicing tens of thousands of schools are co-located.

The policy has allowed charter schools, which serve the same students as their traditional public-school peers, the ability to use their limited and stretched resources to better serve their students.

However, in early February, May Bill de Blasio, announced a moratorium on co-location so the city can “review” the schools and their effects on the community. He expressed worries that co-location was detrimental to academic achievement at traditional public schools.

While there have been various reports on the benefits and success rates of charter schools in general, few studies have been conducted on the effects of co-location on traditional public schools. In the Manhattan Institute study — one of the first of its kind — author Marcus Winters found “no evidence that co-locations — whether with charter schools or with traditional public schools — in New York City have any discernible impact (positive or negative) on student achievement in a traditional public school. This result is consistent across various measures for the existence and magnitude of colocation.”

Winters acknowledged that co-location may cause strain between traditional public school and charter-school students occupying the same space, however this inconvenience does not yield lower achievement in either charter or district schools.

“The evidence suggests that policymakers considering co-locations need not weigh the potential benefits for students who would attend a charter school against reductions in the performance of students attending a traditional public school that is required to share facilities with the charter,” Winters writes.

Via New York Daily News.

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