how charter and district schools compare in terms of academic achievement, innovation, accountability, equality, socialization, and parental and teacher empowerment. The question of which system is better, though, is not one that research alone can answer. Fundamentally, that answer depends on what "better" means and on the values that one holds most dear. For those who wish to empower parents and teachers to take charge of education, the Arizona model holds great appeal. For those who want all citizens to govern education through the political process, the Arizona model will always fall short. The most basic controversies over choice are normative and thus can be presented but not resolved. The research presented here helps to inform those interested in charter schools but does not end the debate. Only the democratic system can provide authoritative answers.
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