A Tour of Charter Schools
You will find one charter school in a former grocery store, another in a low-income housing project, another in a former post office, and yet another in a former VFW post. Some charter schools share space with other organizations—a YMCA, a city recreation center, or a business. Some are located in actual school buildings, but you would never assume from the outside that school was going on in some of the places where charter schools have found homes.
Some charter schools work with elementary youngsters; some with secondary. Some were operating before charter school legislation was adopted and were converted to charter status; others were established after a state legislature passed a charter school law.
Likewise, you'll find different educational philosophies among charter schools. So there is no one curriculum blueprint, no single organizational plan.
But there is one common denominator: charter schools know that they are responsible for improving student achievement. So the schools focus on what needs to be done in order to increase achievement. They do not make excuses. They do not ignore problems children bring to school with them, but they look for and generally find ways to “hook” youngsters, to encourage, incite, and inspire them. People organizing charter schools believe that public schools can and should make a clear, measurable positive difference.
Theories, political battles, and legislation are interesting. But in the end, what matters most in education is what happens to young people day to day. So it is important, before going any further, to describe what is happening in several charter schools