How Charter Schools End Cycles of Poverty

How Charter Schools End Cycles of Poverty

Charter schools equip students with tools to earn higher incomes

When parents are choosing a place to live, district school ratings can be a key factor in their decision. But, for some, living in a great school district is simply not an option. Low-income families are forced to send their children to a school that is less likely to equip them with the tools needed to escape poverty because they cannot afford to access alternatives.

Charter schools break this barrier by giving parents the option to choose where their child goes to school, regardless of what district they live in. Publicly funded but privately run, charter schools are granted the opportunity to innovate curriculum and teaching styles – among other things ­– to fit the needs of every student.

In fact, the data suggests that charter schools are particularly effective for students from low-income backgrounds, as well as those who struggle academically by improving their performance and increasing chances of graduation.

In New York City, 88% of SUNY charter school students outperformed traditional public schools on Language Arts exams, and did so 91% in math. Most notably, 78% of Academic Leadership students who attended one of their charter schools in the Bronx were proficient in math as compared to 48% for other Bronx students.

Charter school students are also more likely to graduate high school, more likely to attend college, and more likely to complete at least two years of study at the college level than students in traditional public schools.

Considering that workers without a high school diploma earn an average of $606 weekly compared to $749 for high school graduates, and $874 for those with some college or an associate’s degree, students who attend charter schools have an increased likelihood of earning higher incomes.

The data bears this out. A study conducted in February 2021 throughout seven U.S. cities found that each dollar invested in a child’s charter school education yields an $8 increase in that child’s lifetime earnings. That’s a 46% higher return on investment when compared to the $5.46 traditional public school students can expect.

By increasing the chances of students reaching graduation and helping them develop competitive skills for the workforce, charter schools have proven their ability to help students from low-income families break intergenerational cycles of poverty.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!