Charter Schools Against the Odds

Liam Julian

Paul Hill, Ed.
Education Next Books
2006

Probably charter schools are the most innovative education reform going today. And for that very reason, they have become targets of status-quo mongers across the land. This collection of essays by Koret Task Force members illustrates how charter schools have managed to flourish (and flourish they have--less than fifteen years after their inception, charters educate over a million students) in hostile environs. In Chapter 2, Fordham's Eric Osberg writes that charter schools often receive far less money that their district school counterparts, evaluates how some have surmounted this burden, and makes a convincing case for why charter schools deserve the same dollars as district-run institutions. Chapter 4 holds advice from Checker Finn and Paul Hill about the importance of top notch charter authorizing, and John Chubb writes in Chapter 5 about how the best management organizations have been able to expand the reach of charter schools without compromising the autonomy that gives such schools their character and uniqueness. Other authors--Caroline Hoxby, Paul Peterson, Brad Smith, and Nathan Torinus--all dispense their particular brands of expertise. This solid compilation touches on the varied facets of charter schooling. It gives a good picture of the rocky terrain in which charter schools take root and the dusty and arid environments in which they attempt to thrive. It puts forth worthwhile suggestions, based on past experiences, for how charter schools may best brave the elements and become sturdy and successful institutions. Read it here.