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TOURNAMENT R(1):Speedrace vs Crocodile


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After 1 vote and with 4 points ahead, the winner is...

Barney's avatar
51 debates / 1,284 votes
Publication date
Last updated date
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Three days
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One week
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Multiple criterions
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Contender / Con

Round 1

On Balance, Charter Schools are Beneficial to the Quality of Education in the United States.

Definition(s) and Scope:

The topic specifies "on balance," meaning considering both the positives and negatives. Therefore, if I manage to prove that charter schools are beneficial to the quality of education in the United States, and that the positives associated with charter schools outweigh the negatives, then I have won the debate. 
The scope of this debate is to look at the present in the United States.

The burden of proof is shared between pro and con (or at least, that is how I am defining it to be. My opponent should counter in his first round argument if he disagrees, otherwise it will be assumed that he agrees with this BoP.). This means that I must prove that charter schools are beneficial to the quality of education in the United States, and that the positives associated with charter schools outweigh the negatives. My opponent must prove that charter schools are not beneficial to the quality of education in the United States and/or that the and that the negatives associated with charter schools outweigh the positives. It is not enough to only respond to the other's arguments; both sides are responsible for providing evidence for their position. 
Also, it is not my job to outline the negatives of charter schools, and likewise, it is not my opponent's job to outline the positives of charter schools. We only need to respond to the negatives/positives outlined by each other. If my opponent does not outline any negatives and I outline positives, I de facto win. If I provide no positives and he provides negatives, he de facto wins.
My opponent should make sure to accept/contend the definitions, scope, and BoP in his opening round.

To prove my case, I must do two things:
1.      Prove that charter schools do increase the quality of education in the United States.
2.      Highlight positives associated with charter schools.

In doing the first, I am doing the second as well, and therefore they will both be accomplished in the following section.
Firstly, what is a charter school? From a paper published by the Center of Reinventing Public Education [2], “charter schools aim to use their autonomy to design unique strategies to teach students who may not have been well served in traditional district-run schools.”
The following are reasons why charter schools do increase the quality of education in the United States:

  1. High-achieving charter school policies

    A study performed in 2018 [1] by Sarah Cohodes, an assistant professor at Columbia University, looked at the differences between charter and public schools in the United States. According to the study, while charter schools and traditional public schools have the same average performance, “most broad studies of charter schools also suggest that charters serving urban and low-income student populations can boost test scores…the most effective charter schools appear to hold promise as a way to reduce achievement gaps.”

    It continues to say that “adopting the practices of successful charter schools in traditional public schools, or turning around struggling traditional public schools with charter organizations” is likely the good way to improve student achievement “and narrow the achievement gap.”

    Because the presence of charter schools in the United States produces productive policies that, when adopted, could narrow the achievement gap, this shows that charter schools increase the quality of education in the United States.

  2. Large degree of variation

    In a report [2] written in 2014 by Patrick Denice, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis, Denice outlines that charter schools are very experimental, and as such, vary widely in terms of success. He goes on to say that “outperforming schools can be expanded and replicated; under performing schools can be improved, closed, or replaced.”

    While it may seem like a negative that charter schools do create some under performing schools, this is simply an inevitable part of the process, and those schools can always reform according the the principles of schools that have done well. Overall, the large degree of variation is not only self-correcting, but shines a lot of light onto what educational practices work, and which ones do not, allowing for improvement in the general education sector.

  3. Evidence in Florida

    According to an article [3] written in 2019 by Dr. Judith Stein, former Executive Director of the Division of Magnet/Innovative Programs for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida saw “some of the biggest gains in America over the past two decades” following their rapid charter school expansion. Their graduation rates went up by “more than 30 points from 20 years ago,” reading and math scores are up for “every subgroup and every grade compared with 20 years ago.” This is concrete proof that charter schools increase the quality of education in the United States.

  4. Surrounding Influence

    In a dissertation [4] written in 2018 by Jarod Taylor Apperson at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, he finds that “for every 10 percent increase in charter market share, neighborhood student achievement (i.e. students at both charter and traditional schools) increases 0.01 standard deviations in ELA and 0.04 standard deviations in Math.” This proves that not only do charter schools themselves tend to perform well, but that they positively influence the public schools around them.

The evidence outlined above proves that charter schools do indeed increase the quality of education in the United States by deviating from the common standards of education to show which policies work and which ones do not.


On Balance, Charter Schools are Beneficial to the Quality of Education in the United States.

CON agrees with both the scope and the definitions of the debate as provided by PRO. (Including his Charter School definition as well.

CON also agrees that the Burden Of Proof is shared.

CON thanks the user Bear-Man for moderating this debate, Ragnar for judging the winner, and Speedrace for providing his arguments against mine. I hope we will have a good debate and discussion.

To win this debate, I show that the negative points of charter schools make them unbeneficial to the quality of education in the United States. I must also sucesfully refute PRO's arguments.


1. Are Charter Schools Really Beneficial?
A report done by James Roebuck, showed that the SPP of the 28 highest performance charter schools in Pennsylvania was 66. Online charter schools came in at an abysmal 47. While, the state school system SPP was 77. According to a Washington Post article [1]:
The latest national research found that charter students in Pennsylvania cover 29 fewer days of reading material on average, and 50 fewer days of math than traditional public schools.
The SPP of online charter schools are in fact so terrible, that they don't meet the minimum level of academic success. 

2. Poor Performing Charter Schools
My opponent states that we can always just get rid of or improve the poor performing charter schools, however it isn't that easy. According to the same report by Roebuck, over half of the charter schools that have been open for a decade, did not improve at all over the ten years.

Their SPP rating have always been below acceptable, and have not shown signs of improving [2]. This proves that we can not just improve upon our mistakes so easily, as these mistakes after mistakes shows that Charter schools do not have a profound positive impact, like my opponent states.

3. Teachers at Charter Schools
According to several reports, teachers at charter schools are paid FAR LESS, due to the different rules played by charter school systems.

Although, they work the same amount of hours as a normal public school teacher, their wage is decreased, which is not only unfair to the teachers, but unfair to the students.

Think about it, if a teacher gets paid less, the quality of education in the schoolhouse is likely to be less than a normal public school. This is already demonstrated by the poor performance of charter schools in the Pennsylvania school district. This further proves the detrimental effect of charter schools.

4. Equality or Randomness?

Think about it, you're a family, struggling to pay your wages, and living in a crowded apartment building. You want to send your child to school, but you can't. Why?

Your child's fate is being decided on by a random, blind test. Charter lotteries show that only 1/4 of the people the apply for a spot actually get in. This is not only terrible, but completely ruins the effect that Charter schools give everyone a chance, because they clearly don't.

5. Concluding Remarks
I believe I have fulfilled my BoP by providing several arguments that highlight the negatives of charter schools in the United States. I await PRO's round 2 argument. I am sorry for any inconvenience I have caused by posting so late. 

Sources Listed:

[2]: (This may cost money or other methods to view).

Round 2

Are Charter Schools Really Beneficial?

This is not on a national level (it focuses on Pennsylvania), and therefore does not answer the resolution according to the scope of the debate, which focuses on the United States as a whole. In fact, cases like these were already acknowledged by me in my opening case. Without data proving that this occurs nationally, this is a moot point.

Poor Performing Charter Schools

This report actually fails to show that charter schools do not increase the quality of education in the US, but rather shows that they fail when mismanaged. The same man who wrote this report, James Roebuck, did not push for the eradication of charter schools; he pushed for charter reform. In this article [1], Rep. Roebuck pushed for reform of oversight in charter schools. An “audit…said that a lack of governance by charter school boards allowed the Philadelphia-based Aspira Inc. to manage public funds without sufficient accountability.”

This audit “also concluded that reduced revenues, persistent operating deficits, poor cash flow and overspent budgets reportedly caused the charter schools’ combined general fund balance to plummet from $7.7 million in 2014 to $419,000 in 2016.” It was because of a lack of oversight that the charter schools failed.

In fact, in another article [2] by Joseph Lathan, a PhD at the University of San Diego, it’s stated that the wide variation (which I talked about in the previous round) can be noticed to change frequently depending on which state a study is based in, and likewise, the amount of oversight in these states differ as well. Schools in Arizona and Ohio, with little oversight, didn’t do nearly as well as schools in Massachusetts, which, with a healthy amount of oversight, “gained the equivalent of 12 extra months of learning in reading and 13 extra months in math every year, compared to demographically similar students in traditional public schools.”
And now I ask Con – if Rep. Roebuck believes that charter schools decrease (or just do not increase) the quality of education in the United States, as your argument seems to imply, why then does he push to reform the governmental oversight surrounding them, rather than simply getting rid of charter schools themselves.

Teachers at Charter Schools

Con failed to provide any sources backing up his claim that teachers “are paid FAR LESS” than public school teachers. This source from Comparably [3] says that the average wage for charter school teachers is $54,921, while this page [4] from the same source says that the average wage for public school teachers is $56,909. This shows that this claim is objectively false, as a $2,000 difference hardly constitutes as “far less.” The wages are comparable.

Equality or Randomness?

Con's statement assumes that charter schools are the only way for one’s kids to get an education. That is not true; there are public schools everywhere, and therefore, Con’s claim that “you can't” “send your child to school” is false. This argument is like saying that homeless shelters can only hold half of all homeless people, and therefore they must not help the homeless community at all. This is obviously not true; the amount of people homeless shelters are able to hold don’t contribute to how positively or negatively they impact the lives of people that they can. There are only a limited amount of charter schools; therefore, there are a limited amount of students that can go to charter schools. This has little to no effect on the actual quality of the education in America.



I sadly must concede this debate. For some reason, debateart decided not to save my argument even after I clicked preview then save. I wish my opponent good luck in future rounds. Sorry
Round 3
Welp :(

big sad amirite
Round 4
Yes very big sad.

Ragnar, could you say thoughts on the debate so far?
Well you see I lost, but I actually won