Student Behavior Improves with More School Options

By Caleb Taylor

How do charter school options affect student discipline in traditional public schools in Arkansas?

A research paper entitled “The Effects of Charter Schools on Disciplinary Infractions in Traditional Public Schools: Evidence from Arkansas,” by ACRE Policy Analyst Dr. Mavuto Kalulu, ACRE Scholar and UCA Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Thomas Snyder, and former ACRE Undergraduate Research Fellow and UCA Alumnus Aaron Newell, was published in the November 2019 edition of the Quarterly Review of Business Disciplines

The Quarterly Review of Business Disciplines is a journal of the Academy of Business Disciplines sponsored by the University of North Florida. 

The authors examine the effect charter schools have on student behavior in traditional public schools. They find that an increase in charter school enrollment is associated with fewer disciplinary infractions in traditional public schools in Arkansas.

From the authors:

In Arkansas, charter enrollment appears to be a win-win for students in both types of schools. Existing Arkansas studies have shown that students perform well in charter schools compared to traditional public schools, and that student performance improves under competition. Our study shows that charter schools also reduce the disciplinary infractions at traditional public schools. Teachers have listed classroom behavior as a major obstacle. Charter schools can provide alternative approaches and competition that can benefit traditional public schools. State and local governments can look to charter schools to help alleviate the disciplinary issues in the traditional public schools and improve student performance.”

The research paper was a project Newell undertook with Kalulu and Snyder during his tenure as an ACRE Undergraduate Research Fellow in the spring semester of 2018. Newell is currently a first-year law student at Bowen School of Law.