WASHINGTON (Jan. 29, 2020) – Charter schools have been thrust to the forefront of American policy discussions in recent months thanks to Democratic presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren. This is an issue that voters care about; so much so that a recent poll conducted by Beck Research found that 58 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who doesn’t support federal charter school funding.

In the fifth installation in a series on civil society, Dr. Michael Q. McShane, Director of National Research at EdChoice, discusses how a state law that authorized charter schools has enabled the civil society of Kansas City to flourish by making space for non-governmental public schools and then amplifying the power of local nonprofits, parent groups and philanthropists.

McShane finds that chartering helped reverse decades of government failure, namely the ongoing inability of the local school district and then a federal court to fix the city’s public education system. It also led to the development of a large and diverse charter sector composed of homegrown operators rather than those imported from other cities and states.

McShane concludes by saying in Kansas City “chartering was not just an outgrowth, but a force multiplier of the civil society.”

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