Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education

By Joe Nathan | Go to book overview

Preface to the
Paperback Edition

“I'm a convert to the charter movement.” That's how Kent Matheson, superintendent of the Flagstaff, Arizona, public schools put it, surprising the two hundred or so school administrators who had gathered in Boise, Idaho, to hear a debate about the value of charter public schools. The program organizers thought I would present the pro-charter side and Matheson would present the “con” position. It didn't work out that way. He and I agreed that the charter movement was a fundamental, important, and positive change.

That was one of the most intriguing, encouraging days I've spent in the two years since the first edition of this book was published. Matheson's rethinking helps illustrate some of the changes the charter idea has produced over the last couple of years. The next few pages offer a brief update on the charter movement's growth, evolution, and challenges.

Almost every day, people call or write with important, thoughtful questions about the charter school movement. Parents wonder, “Do you know of charter schools in my neighborhood (or city or area or state) that would help my children?” Educators ask, “How can I start a charter school? Do you know of charters that are looking for educators to work in them?” Journalists have their own questions: “Can or will charters improve achievement? What happens to other public schools when charters start? What are good charter schools to visit?” This book was written to help answer these and many other questions.

Perhaps my biggest challenge is to convey the positive impact of the charter movement on thousands of students, educators, and

-xiii-

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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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