Feel free to debate my use of the term “doodle” here — our last Friday Doodle was decidedly low-tech.
But I’ve been looking at charter school data lately and found a number worth sharing in visual form:
Of the nearly 300 traditional public school districts in Indiana, 30 of them have a charter school located within their boundaries. (Open up the map to see if your district is one of them.)
This matters because traditional public and charter schools are competing for the same pool of state education funding. That money follows the child to the school in which she ultimately decides to enroll.
Just because it’s a doodle doesn’t mean we have no takeaways for you:
- We may be talking about a relative handful of districts with charters inside their borders, but those 30 corporations — which include Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Indianapolis and several of the Marion County township districts — enroll nearly 330,000 of Indiana’s 1.1 million students. There are a lot of students at stake.
- It’s easy to count the number of districts with charters within their borders. Counting up the districts who compete with charter schools is a trickier task. For instance, Gas City’s Missinewa Community Schools does not have a charter within its borders, but students could plausibly travel to the charter school in Marion.
- For wide geographic swaths of the state, “school choice” as we discuss it — students leaving traditional publics for charter or voucher schools — exists in a much more muted form than it does in Indiana’s metropolitan areas, if it exists at all. (To that end, however, public school advocates would note the state’s school funding formula pays for vouchers first, meaning an increase in voucher enrollments leaves less money behind to divide among the public schools in the state.)
- Without a charter school to attend, if students in rural areas are exercising school choice, it’s probably through tuition-free transfers from one public school district to another.