Inside Charter Schools: Unlocking Doors to Student Success
This summative report—compiling much primary- and secondary-source information—is the culmination of a four-year charter-school project from the National Charter School Research Project. In it, Betheny Gross offers an insider’s look at charter-school leaders, teachers, and academic programs via surveys, case study analyses, and evaluation of third-party longitudinal data. The report is full of interesting tidbits about charters (35 percent, for example, operate for an extended school year, though few have adopted novel instructional models), and well-articulates the benefits and obstacles for school leaders and teachers who work in the charter-school sector. The abundance of information presented in this report, while informative, also somewhat overshadows the main thesis—that charter autonomy can only create the opportunity for success, not assure it. Based on all of the information garnered through the four-year Inside Charter Schools project, Gross comes away with policy recommendations aimed at supporting charter-school leaders and teachers. Among them: “Authorizers need to look closely for a clear and achievable mission” and “State laws should allow charter schools to operate outside traditional teacher contracts.” Those interested in unlocking the door to the charter-school classroom need look no further.
Betheny Gross, “Inside Charter Schools: Unlocking Doors to Student Success,” (Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Public Education, February 2011).
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