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

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

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Real World School Choice: Arizona Charter Schools

ROBERT MARANTO, SCOTT MILLIMAN, FREDERICK HESS, APRIL GRESHAM


A National Controversy

In the last ten years, issues of choice in education have grown dramatically in prominence. Debates about school charters and school vouchers elicit high passion, meaning that much of the debate about charter schooling and school vouchers leans toward the emotional rather than the empirical. Choice proponents believe that vouchers (which parents could use at private schools) or public charter schools (which compete with and are independent of local school districts) will solve perceived education woes. Choice opponents fear that such drastic reforms raise serious concerns about equity and accountability, while promising nothing traditional schools do not already offer.

Although polls find that the public generally favors school choice in the abstract, the margins of support are often narrow and depend on the exact plans described. Policy makers are similarly divided: Republicans typically support more school choice, whereas Democrats are divided about or simply opposed to such choice. In 1998, public referenda on school vouchers were hotly contested and defeated in California and Colorado, but more such proposals are sure to surface in other states ( Cookson 1994; Henig 1994; Feistritzer 1996; Doherty 1998; Milbank 1998). This book explores the implications of one key form of school choice--charter schooling. The authors explore the issue primarily by considering charter

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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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