Joe Ferrare (assistant professor in EPE) and Renee Setari (doctoral candidate in EPE) recently released a working paper through the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. An abstract of the paper appears below, and a full copy of the paper is available at the NCSPE website.
“Converging on Choice: The Inter-State Flow of Foundation Dollars to Charter School Organizations”
A growing body of research has been documenting the pivotal role that philanthropic funding plays in advancing state and local charter school reform. However, there is little understanding of the geographic flow of these funding networks and the social and political conditions that have concentrated funding in some clusters of states more than others. To address this limitation we use QAP regression to analyze longitudinal funding data from 15 philanthropic foundations along with data related to the political and evidentiary contexts of the states where grant recipients reside. We find that between 2009 and 2014 foundations were increasingly converging their funding flows to charter school organizations in select clusters of states as they shifted the concentration of funds away from individual charter schools to CMOs and advocacy organizations. A substantial portion of the variation in this inter-state convergent grant funding was associated with previously established funding flows. However, the policy context of states and certain forms of evidence of charter school effectiveness were also strongly associated with inter-state convergent funding. These findings point to the potential ways public policy and research can shape the flow of private money into public education, and yet illuminate substantial geographic inequality in the ways these funds are distributed.