Study: Schools with the most autonomy do best for students

By William Flanders

All public schools in Milwaukee are not created equal. With traditional Milwaukee Public Schools and three different types of charter schools, public schools in Milwaukee vary greatly in their levels of funding, autonomy and, more particularly, in their independence from MPS. 

A study I co-authored looks for the first time at which of these schools obtain the best student outcomes per taxpayer dollars spent. Our study found that, after controlling for socioeconomic factors, charter schools with the most autonomy and without union teachers do the most for students despite receiving significantly less funding. This has major public policy ramifications.

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