A New Choice
|•||Choice among public schools for families and their children|
|•||Entrepreneurial opportunities for educators and parents to create the kinds of schools they believe make the most sense|
|•||Explicit responsibility for improved achievement, as measured by standardized tests and other measures|
|•||Carefully designed competition in public education|
This chapter explains the basic principles of the charter idea and then contrasts them with other reform concepts such as school site management, magnet schools, and vouchers. Individual charter schools have many differences in the students they attract and their curricula and approaches to learning. Some would be considered conservative; others are liberal. Some defy easy philosophical description. But despite these differences at the individual level, it is possible to define what the charter school movement is and what it is not.
The charter school concept is about an opportunity, not a blueprint. Here are the key elements of a model charter school strategy (summarized in the sidebar, p. 2).