Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair

By Peter W. Cookson Jr.; Kristina Berger | Go to book overview

PART ONE:
The Landscape of Charter Schools

THE EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT OF THE
CHARTER SCHOOL MOVEMENT

The charter school movement's ability to capture the imagination and support of a broad and influential spectrum of American society—from grassroots community groups to Fortune 500 executives, from politicians to parents—is a testament not only to the power of the charter school idea itself but also to the gravity of the problems, both real and imagined, that the movement's champions promised that charter schools would solve. When the movement first took shape, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the ground was extremely fertile for new ideas in education reform. The public school system was under sharp criticism for failing to educate America's children to "world class" standards; despite nearly a decade of frenzied activity to address the concerns raised in 1983's A Nation At Risk report, 1 little progress-as measured by performance on standardized tests—had been made.

Over the past twenty years, frustration with what to many appears to be a stagnating system has fueled the push for charter schools as well as for many other, even more radical, reform concepts, including vouchers and privately funded scholarship programs for low-income children. Looking even further back, however, we can see the charter school movement's roots in the

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Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Prologue - Faith versus Reason in Educational Reform 1
  • Part One: the Landscape of Charter Schools 23
  • Part Two: The Social and Political Geology of Charter Schools 113
  • Postscript: the Goodness of America an Education for Democracy 137
  • Appendix *
  • Source Notes 181
  • Index *
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