Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education

By Joe Nathan | Go to book overview

Chapter Nine

Charting the Future

Twenty years from now, will the charter movement be a chapter or a footnote in school reform? The charter movement's first five years have been a time of remarkable growth, fierce political struggle, and intense media interest. Yet it is impossible to know for sure what lies ahead.

Charter schools are no panacea. Just setting up a school like City Academy, PSl Charter School, or O'Farrell Community School is not nearly enough. It must then carry out its mission and goals, day to day. As one Colorado charter school teacher told me, “This is the most exciting job I've ever had, and I love it. It's also the hardest.” But those hard jobs are producing results. This chapter contains some final observations about what those in the charter school movement could do to help not just the thousands of students that charter schools presently serve but also the millions of American students who need a better education than they are getting.


Recognize That the Charter School Movement
Is Part of a 200-Year Effort to Expand Opportunity

It is important for everyone to understand that the charter school concept has deep roots. It is an outgrowth of the 200-year effort in this country to expand educational opportunity, especially for those who are not wealthy and powerful. Those who have power almost always insist that major changes proposed are unnecessary and probably would lead to greater harm for the people they are intended to help. They distort the goals of new movements. They use their power to block, delay, restrict, and obstruct. This lesson

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Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface to the Paperback Edition xiii
  • Preface xxvii
  • Introduction - A New Choice 1
  • Part One - Introducing Charter Schools 21
  • Chapter One - A Tour of Charter Schools 23
  • Chapter Two - The Birth of a Movement 55
  • Part Two - How Charter Schools Are Changing the System 73
  • Chapter Three - Breaking the District Monopoly 75
  • Chapter Four - A New Role for Unions 93
  • Part Three - Creating Charter Schools 119
  • Chapter Five - Getting Started 121
  • Chapter Six - Building Support 131
  • Chapter Seven - Staying in Business 142
  • Part Four - Where To, What Next 165
  • Chapter Eight - Key Early Lessons 167
  • Chapter Nine - Charting the Future 180
  • Appendix A - Charter Activity State by State 187
  • Appendix B - Model Charter School Law 207
  • Appendix C - Additional Resources 223
  • Notes 227
  • The Author 239
  • Index 241
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