Charter Schools

charter school

charter school, alternative type of American public school that, while paid for by taxes, is independent of the public-school system and relatively free from state and local regulations. A charter school has a greater degree of freedom and autonomy than the traditional public school, and students attend it by choice. Each school is granted a renewable charter, usually by a state or local board for three to five years. The aim of these schools is to increase learning opportunities and to allow for greater innovation in teaching practices. Some charter schools have a higher percentage of minority or economically disadvantaged students than traditional public schools and some specialize in a particular academic area. Charter schools are usually small, mainly urban, and vary significantly from state to state. The first charter school law was passed in Minnesota in 1991, and the first school opened there the following year; California initiated similar legislation in 1992. By 2010, more than 5,000 such schools were serving more than 1.8 million students in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. While many applaud the charter school movement for promoting greater choice for students and parents, it has also been criticized by those, including many teachers' unions, who are apprehensive about the possible chilling effect on other public schools, the lack of adequate supervision, and, after several years of operation, the apparently unsatisfactory performance of many of the schools.

See P. Berman, National Study of Charter Schools: Second-Year Report (1998); J. Nathan, Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education (1998); C. Finn et al., Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (2000); B. Fuller, ed., Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization (2001).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Charter Schools: Hope or Hype?
Jack Buckley; Mark Schneider.
Princeton University Press, 2009
Are Charter Schools Effective?
Garrison, Lawrence F.; Holifield, Mitchell.
Planning and Changing, Vol. 36, No. 1/2, April 1, 2005
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Effective Charter Schools and Charter School Systems
Lawton, Stephen B.
Planning and Changing, Vol. 40, No. 1/2, Spring/Summer 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Common Traits of Successful US Charter Schools
Stetson, Ranae.
Childhood Education, Vol. 89, No. 2, March-April 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
How Charter Schools Do, and Don't Inspire Change in Traditional Public School Districts
Linick, Matthew; Lubienski, Christopher.
Childhood Education, Vol. 89, No. 2, March-April 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Charter Schools in Eight States: Effects on Achievement, Attainment, Integration, and Competition
Ron Zimmer; Brian Gill; Kevin Booker; Stephane Lavertu; Tim R. Sass; John Witte.
Rand, 2009
The Truths about Charter Schools: New Research from Chicago and North Carolina
.
Education Next, Vol. 5, No. 4, Fall 2005
Unpacking Charter Schools: A Knapsack Filled with a Few Broken Promises
Heaggans, R. C.
Education, Vol. 126, No. 3, Spring 2006
For-Profit and Nonprofit Charter Schools: An Agency Costs Approach
Morley, John.
The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 115, No. 7, May 2006
Charter Schools Legislation and the Element of Race
Levy, Tal.
The Western Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 34, No. 1, Spring 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Charter Politics: Why Some Places Have More Students in Charter Schools and Others Have Fewer
Stoddard, Christiana; Corcoran, Sean P.
Education Next, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring 2008
Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education
Chester E. Finn Jr.; Bruno V. Manno; Gregg Vanourek.
Princeton University Press, 2000
The Great School Debate: Choice, Vouchers, and Charters
Thomas L. Good; Jennifer S. Braden.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair
Peter W. Cookson Jr.; Kristina Berger.
Westview Press, 2002
Rethinking Professional Issues in Special Education
James L. Paul; Carolyn D. Lavely; Ann Cranston-Gingras; Ella L. Taylor.
Ablex Publishing, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "Charter Schools and Their Impact on Special Education"
The Democratic Potential of Charter Schools
Stacy Smith.
Peter Lang, 2001
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