Commentary

Charter School competition improves performance

From NCPA‘s news clips: Proponents of school choice argue that charter schools improve the quality of education. Opponents retort that they just waste education dollars. A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that charter schools did improve school quality in North Carolina.(Report summary – – Full report) In 1996, North Carolina had no charter schools. By 2000, it had 91 charter schools that enrolled 14,899 students, about 1 percent of the state’s total public school enrollment. To determine whether these charter schools accomplished anything, the authors used end of year test scores for grades three through eight from North Carolina’s statewide testing program. They found: o Charter school competition raised the composite test scores in district schools, even though the students leaving district schools for the charters tended to have above average test scores. o The gain was relatively large, roughly two to five times greater than the gain from decreasing the student-faculty ratio by 1, and a gain of more than 0.75 percent in 1999- 2000. For comparison, the authors point out that the North Carolina Governor’s Office proposed increasing achievement by reducing average class size by 1.8 students at a cost of $26 million in 2002. The data suggest that this would produce just one-third of the test score increase created by opening a neighboring charter school, a move that would not require any additional spending.

Adrian Moore

Adrian Moore, Ph.D., is vice president of policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. Moore leads Reason's policy implementation efforts and conducts his own research on topics such as privatization, government and regulatory reform, air quality, transportation and urban growth, prisons and utilities.

Moore, who has testified before Congress on several occasions, regularly advises federal, state and local officials on ways to streamline government and reduce costs.

In 2008 and 2009, Moore served on Congress' National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission. The commission offered "specific recommendations for increasing investment in transportation infrastructure while at the same time moving the Federal Government away from reliance on motor fuel taxes toward more direct fees charged to transportation infrastructure users." Since 2009 he has served on California's Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission.

Mr. Moore is co-author of the book Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, "Speaking from our experiences in Texas, Sam Staley and Adrian Moore get it right in Mobility First." World Bank urban planner Alain Bartaud called it "a must read for urban managers of large cities in the United States and around the world."

Moore is also co-author of Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, published in 1997 by the Brookings Institution Press, as well as dozens of policy studies. His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Orange County Register, as well as in, Public Policy and Management, Transportation Research Part A, Urban Affairs Review, Economic Affairs, and numerous other publications.

In 2002, Moore was awarded a World Outsourcing Achievement Award by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Michael F. Corbett & Associates Ltd. for his work showing governments how to use public-private partnerships and the private sector to save taxpayer money and improve the efficiency of their agencies.

Prior to joining Reason, Moore served 10 years in the Army on active duty and reserves. As an noncommissioned officer he was accepted to Officers Candidate School and commissioned as an Infantry officer. He served in posts in the United States and Germany and left the military as a Captain after commanding a Heavy Material Supply company.

Mr. Moore earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. He holds a Master's in Economics from the University of California, Irvine and a Master's in History from California State University, Chico.