This book takes the reader inside the charter school movement, answering such questions as:
*What is a charter school?
*How are charter schools different from other public schools?
*What does it take to create a charter school?
*What motivates the people who initiate such schools?
*What lessons can be learned from the experiences of those who have founded charter schools?
*What does the growth of the charter school movement mean for society at large?
Using detailed case studies of seven schools in three states, this book explores the challenges faced by the founders of these schools and develops guidelines for creating a successful school. Seymour Sarason's work on the creation of settings is used as a basis for examining the complex human interactions that contributed to formation of a unique culture at each school, as well as to establish guidelines for setting up a successful school.
Introductory and concluding chapters place the charter school movement within a broader social and historical context. Tensions between the American tradition of local control of schools and the centralized tradition of schooling imported from Europe in the late 19th century are discussed. The gradual bureaucratization of U.S. public schools during the 20th century is described, along with problems that have been associated with the increasingly hierarchical and impersonal nature of educational institutions.
"Brouillette delivers no less than what she promised: to help the reader better understand the challenges facing those who create new educational settings, and to better understand the perceptions and concerns that motivate charter school initiators, teachers, and parents…The book is readable, clear, easily understood from both a lay perspective as well as a academician's-it was a joy to read."
—Anthropology and Education Quarterly
"It is well written and balanced in its discussion of an issue that has accumulated much emotional baggage in the past decade."
—American Journal of Psychology
It is well written and balanced in its discussion of an issue that has accumulated much emotional baggage in the past decade… offers an impressive number of insights about the challenges that charter schools face and the shortcomings and potential of the charter school movement as a component of school reform.
—American Journal of Psychology
"The contributors to this book not only provide valuable documentation of the process of starting a charter school, but also offer an insightful and coherent analysis of challenges that founders of charter schools face. This book should be realistic, valuable resource to anyone seeking to create effective educational reform through charter schools."
—The Harvard Educational Review
Contents: S. Sarason, Foreword. Preface. Charter Schools: Redefining a Social Contract? The "Prehistory" of Charter Schools. S. Korach, Pioneering Change: The Experiences of Three Colorado Charter Schools. .T. Perry, Politics Versus the Best of Intentions: A Case Study of a School-University Collaboration. Beating the Odds in the Inner City: Wesley Elementary Becomes a Charter School. B. Korth, Understanding the Complexities of Success in the Making of a New Setting: Case Study of the University of Houston Charter School of Technology. Behind the Rhetoric: The Agony, the Ecstasy of Being First. Building a Theoretical Framework: Commonalities and Contrasts. Beyond Economics and Politics: Charter Schools as Mediating Institutions.