TEACHING AND LEARNING
An economist delves into charter schools
PhD student brings data to bear on questions about local education policy
“There are some big unanswered questions in the policy debate of whether charter schools should be allowed to expand.”
Elizabeth Setren was a sophomore at Brandeis University trying to figure out how to combine her dual loves of math and public policy when she stumbled across the perfect answer: economics. Now, as a PhD student in economics at MIT, Setren has spent the past four years researching the charter school system in Boston in an attempt to figure out what exactly is going on, and what policymakers need to know.
As she strives to “infuse facts into what’s a very emotional and ideological debate” on the expansion of charter schools in the Boston area, Setren is also working closely with school leaders, and she meets with decision-makers in the policy sphere to ensure that they have as much information as possible. In fact, she regularly presents her work to various agencies such as the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and her research is featured on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s website.