Study on public vs. charter: Who really has more administrative bloat?

Public schools are often criticized and scrutinized for perceived administrative bloat, tied to concerns that those sitting behind desks in district offices are diverting funds away from investment in students, the Huffington Post reports. Conversely, charter schools are touted for successes through their leaner administrative model, allowing for more resources to go directly to classrooms. But a new study by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education debunks this belief. By looking at charter and traditional public schools in Michigan, where both receive about the same operational funding, researchers found that charter schools actually spent more per-student on administration and less on instruction than non-charter public schools. Controlling for factors that determine school resource allocation like student enrollment and school location, Michigan State University’s David Arsen and the University of Utah’s Yongmei Ni found that charter schools spend on average $774 more per student on administration and $1,140 less on instruction than do traditional public schools…

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