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

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

16
In Lieu of Conclusions: Tentative Lessons from a Contested Frontier

ROBERT MARANTO, SCOTT MILLIMAN, FREDERICK HESS, APRIL GRESHAM


Tentative Lessons

Schools embody our highest hopes and our worst fears. We want them to be places where our children are raised to be virtuous and capable citizens, but we fear they may be places where our children are exposed to nefarious influences and permitted to founder. We have a mythical conception of public schools as anchors of the communities, or as places where communities together settle upon shared values and invest for the common welfare, but we too often see schools as riddled by inattention and neglect, or by conflict and gridlock.

Against a backdrop of hopes and fears, school choice plans have won widespread attention in recent years. Although numerous scholarly works have explored school choice, the work has been of necessity either theoretical or speculative, with much of the latter based on small-scale choice programs or on statistical speculations based on private school enrollments. In Arizona, for the first time, a state has implemented relatively comprehensive school choice through charter schools. The works in this volume represent the first published examination of a large-scale, comprehensive school choice system in the real world.

In Arizona and across the nation, the frontiers of school choice are sharply contested terrain. As in Rashomon, different observers see very different events. Still, it is our contention that a careful reading of the works in this volume presents several lessons for policy makers, educators, and citizens in other states.

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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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