School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools

By Robert Maranto; Scott Milliman et al. | Go to book overview

3
The Death of One Best Way: Charter Schools as Reinventing Government

ROBERT MARANTO

Reinventing Government is a social movement that, arguably, has had more impact on the public sector than anything since the scientific management movement of the Progressive era. This essay briefly outlines the origins and prescriptions of Reinventing Government. I also describe two sets of criteria for judging public administration outputs: the politics- based governance model of Karen Hult and Charles Walcott ( 1990) and the economics-based model of E. S. Savas ( 1987). Finally, I use these criteria to judge school reform in general and Arizona charter schools in particular, employing interviews conducted by phone and in person from November 1997 to December 1998 with twenty-nine Arizona policy makers, Department of Education officials, charter school operators, district school officials, and teachers' union officials. The bureaucratic production of public services, including education, was developed as scientific managers of the Progressive era sought the "one best way" of providing uniform public services ( Schultz and Maranto 1998). Hult and Walcott's governance model suggests that such traditional bureaucratic approaches are ill-suited to provide public service when both the social goals and the technologies used to achieve those goals are highly controversial, as in education. Savas points out that education can be provided effectively by markets through vouchers or public school choice. Indeed, markets have advantages over traditional bureaucratic approaches.

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School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1: Real World School Choice: Arizona Charter Schools 1
  • Notes 15
  • References 15
  • PART ONE Theoretical and National Perspectives 17
  • 2: And This Parent Went to Market: Education as Public Versus Private Good 19
  • Notes 35
  • Notes 36
  • 3: The Death of One Best Way: Charter Schools as Reinventing Government 39
  • Notes 55
  • References 55
  • 4: Congress and Charter Schools 58
  • Notes 65
  • Notes 67
  • 5: Charter Schools: A National Innovation, an Arizona Revolution 68
  • Notes 92
  • References 92
  • PART TWO Social Scientists Look at Arizona Charter Schools 97
  • 6: The Wild West of Education Reform: Arizona Charter Schools 99
  • References 114
  • 7: Why Arizona Embarked on School Reform (and Nevada Did Not) 115
  • References 127
  • 8: Do Charter Schools Improve District Schools? Three Approaches to the Question 129
  • Notes 139
  • Notes 140
  • 9: Closing Charters: How a Good Theory Failed in Practice 142
  • Conclusion and Recommendations for Policy Makers 156
  • Notes 158
  • References 158
  • 10: Nothing New: Curricula in Arizona Charter Schools 159
  • References 172
  • 11: How Arizona Teachers View School Reform 173
  • Notes 184
  • References 184
  • PART THREE Practitioners Look at Arizona Charter Schools 187
  • 12: The Empowerment of Market-Based School Reform 189
  • Notes 197
  • References 197
  • 13: A Voice from the State Legislature: Don'T Do What Arizona Did! 198
  • Notes 210
  • References 210
  • 14: Public Schools and the Charter Movement: An Emerging Relationship 212
  • Notes 220
  • References 220
  • 15: Whose Idea Was This Anyway? The Challenging Metamorphosis from Private to Charter 222
  • Notes 233
  • References 233
  • PART FOUR Lessons 235
  • 16: In Lieu of Conclusions: Tentative Lessons from a Contested Frontier 237
  • References 247
  • About the Editors and Contributors 249
  • Index 253
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