Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education

By Chester E. Finn Jr.; Bruno V. Manno et al. | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE
WE BEGAN this book with the belief that the charter idea deserved examination and testing. We now conclude our effort to demystify that idea and show how schooling based on choice, autonomy, and accountability can undergird a new model of public education.What makes charter schools appeal to so many families and teachers? What is distinctive about them? What can American education learn from them? In this Epilogue, we discuss ten elements that foster success in individual charter schools and ten larger lessons to be gleaned from the charter experience as a whole.
WHAT'S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT CHARTER SCHOOLS?
1. These schools are mission-driven, built around a unifying vision. Everybody associated with a school can see what it stands for and what it promises to deliver.
2. Charter schools are focused on academic achievement, not preoccupied with inputs and procedures. They have powerful incentives to produce results — and risk grave consequences if they fail to do so.
3. Charter schools, as schools of choice, are responsive to their consumers. Keeping clients satisfied is a hallmark of successful institutions, including most colleges and private schools, but it has not always been characteristic of public schools.
4. Charter schools are diverse. Their clients have widely varying needs and priorities. The schools' freedom to be different has helped them respond to these disparate demands.
5. Charter schools engage parents. Parents feel ownership. Some also feel that this school may be their youngster's last chance. And entrepreneurial schools must treat parents as a resource, not a nuisance.
6. Most charter schools have an intimate, family-like feel. Everyone knows everyone's face and name. Parents are welcome any time. That most charter schools are small surely helps. So does the sense of being in a lifeboat together, paddling through turbulent seas.
7. Charter schools build — and anchor — communities. They are communities unto themselves as well as sources of neighborhood stability and renewal. Many offer extra services to families and create strong partnerships with cultural, recreational, and business organizations.

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Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Charter Schools in Action - Renewing Public Education *
  • Contents *
  • Tables *
  • List of Interviews and Profiles *
  • Introduction *
  • Part I Charter Schools in Action *
  • 1: What's a "Charter School"? *
  • 2: Field Trips *
  • 3: Where Did They Come From? *
  • 4: How Are They Working? *
  • 5: Trials by Fire *
  • 6: The Accountability Puzzle *
  • Part II Renewing Public Education *
  • 7: The Case Against Charter Schools *
  • 8: Political Battlegrounds *
  • 9: Beyond the Schoolhouse Door *
  • 10: Beyond the Schoolhouse Door *
  • 11: The Great Issues *
  • 12: Will Charter Schools Save Public Education? *
  • Epilogue *
  • Appendix: Survey Results and Methodology *
  • Index *
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