Cover image for The charter school challenge : avoiding the pitfalls, fulfilling the promise
Title:
The charter school challenge : avoiding the pitfalls, fulfilling the promise
Author:
Hassel, Bryan C.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
viii, 193 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Charter schools : the promise and the pitfalls -- The politics of charter school programs. A bird's eye view of charter school politics -- Reaching compromise in four states -- Charter school programs in practice. Breaking the mold -- Open for business -- Challenging the system -- Fulfilling the promise of charter schools. Politics, policy and the future of charter school programs.
ISBN:
9780815735120

9780815735113
Format :
Book

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Material Type
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Status
Central Library LB2806.36 .H37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Central Library LB2806.36 .H37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Charter schools have become a US phenomenon, garnering praise from Democrats and Republicans. Because they appear to sidestep both political stalemate and the practical difficulty of implementing widespread change - the traditional barriers to improvement in the American public sector - charter schools hold great promise as an educational reform. Now, with charter laws on the books in more than 30 states, Bryan Hassel investigates whether charter schools have been able to avoid the pitfalls that have tripped up so many other revolutionary school reforms.


Summary

Charter schools have become a national phenomenon, garnering praise from both Democrats and Republicans. Because they appear to sidestep both political stalemate and the practical difficulty of implementing widespread change--the traditional barriers to improvement in American public education--charter schools hold great promise as an educational reform. Now, with charter laws on the books in more than thirty states, Bryan Hassel investigates whether charter schools have been able to avoid the pitfalls that have tripped up so many other "revolutionary" school reforms. After a broad overview of how charter laws have been adopted nationwide, this book focuses in depth on charter schools in Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Hassel reviews the four states' implementation of charter laws and whether their programs are providing sufficient autonomy, resources, and potential to influence the broader education system--all essential components for charter schools' success. He concludes that if states want to give charter schools a full test, they should empower nonlocal entities to approve charter schools, establish the schools as distinct local entities, allow full per-pupil funding to go with students to the charter schools, and impose minimal constraints on the source and number of charter schools. The schools themselves will need to improve their infrastructure, and charter-granting agencies will have to rebuild the systems for monitoring schools' academic results and compliance with regulations. These policies are vital if charter schools are to realize their potential as a significant educational reform.


Author Notes

Bryan C. Hassel is director of Public Impact, an education and policy consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is coeditor of Learning from School Choice (Brookings, 1998).


Bryan C. Hassel is director of Public Impact, an education and policy consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is coeditor of Learning from School Choice (Brookings, 1998).


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Referring to the charter school movement as "one of the most significant developments in public education in the 1990s," Hassel provides an overview of the political factors that can affect the passage of charter school legislation at the state and local levels. Based on case studies of charter legislation in Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan, Hassel identifies factors that differentiate "charter" from "noncharter" states, and "strong" from "weak" legislation. Although he rarely discusses individual schools, Hassel's study should provide a framework by which later chroniclers of the movement can make sense of its history. The greatest weakness of this work is the author's unabashedly positive stance toward the charter school movement. Rooted in the assumptions of earlier procharter school manifestoes such as Joe Nathan's Charter Schools (1996), Hassel pays much greater attention to charter school advocates than to their opponents. Concerns raised by scholars such as Peter Cookson in School Choice (1994) about the potential abuses of educational reforms rooted in the "market metaphor" are largely ignored, as are the experiences of states such as Arizona that might support such concerns (see Seymour B. Sarason's Charter Schools, CH, Sept'99). Recommended for public and academic libraries, this volume should interest students, parents, and practitioners interested in the progress of this movement. S. Walter University of Missouri--Kansas City


Choice Review

Referring to the charter school movement as "one of the most significant developments in public education in the 1990s," Hassel provides an overview of the political factors that can affect the passage of charter school legislation at the state and local levels. Based on case studies of charter legislation in Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan, Hassel identifies factors that differentiate "charter" from "noncharter" states, and "strong" from "weak" legislation. Although he rarely discusses individual schools, Hassel's study should provide a framework by which later chroniclers of the movement can make sense of its history. The greatest weakness of this work is the author's unabashedly positive stance toward the charter school movement. Rooted in the assumptions of earlier procharter school manifestoes such as Joe Nathan's Charter Schools (1996), Hassel pays much greater attention to charter school advocates than to their opponents. Concerns raised by scholars such as Peter Cookson in School Choice (1994) about the potential abuses of educational reforms rooted in the "market metaphor" are largely ignored, as are the experiences of states such as Arizona that might support such concerns (see Seymour B. Sarason's Charter Schools, CH, Sept'99). Recommended for public and academic libraries, this volume should interest students, parents, and practitioners interested in the progress of this movement. S. Walter University of Missouri--Kansas City


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