Inside Charter Schools / Edition 1

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Overview

Deepening disaffection with conventional public schools has inspired flight to private schools, home schooling, and new alternatives, such as charter schools. Barely a decade old, the charter school movement has attracted a colorful band of supporters, from presidential candidates, to ethnic activists, to the religious Right. At present there are about 1,700 charter schools, with total enrollment estimated to reach one million early in the century. Yet, until now, little has been known about the inner workings of these small, inventive schools that rely on public money but are largely independent of local school boards.

Inside Charter Schools takes readers into six strikingly different schools, from an evangelical home-schooling charter in California to a back-to-basics charter in a black neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan. With a keen eye for human aspirations and dilemmas, the authors provide incisive analysis of the challenges and problems facing this young movement.

Do charter schools really spur innovation, or do they simply exacerbate tribal forms of American pluralism? Inside Charter Schools provides shrewd and illuminating studies of the struggles and achievements of these new schools, and offers practical lessons for educators, scholars, policymakers, and parents.

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Editorial Reviews

Education Beat

As many public schools grow larger and more diverse, the charter school movement gains equal and opposite momentum statewide. Bruce Fuller has charted this movement as it gains momentum across the state and nation. His Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization offers a peek inside six such schools...Fuller steers clear of a blanket like-or-dislike viewpoint. Instead, he shows the problems individual charter schools face.
— Colleen Flannery

New York Times

Published a decade after the introduction of charter schools, the most dynamic and important school reform movement in recent memory, this collection offers rare insight into charter classrooms as well as a framework for the public policy discussion that surrounds them...The book is at its best when it lets the stories of the schools speak for themselves, unable to answer the broad policy questions but helping readers understand their complexity.
— Jodi Wilgoren

The Washington Monthly

In this book Fuller offers six essays—as much works of journalism as they are academic pieces—on six very different charter school experiments...Fuller deftly ties the grab-bag together with his own opening and closing thoughts on the philosophical and political tension between allowing free-thinkers to experiment and maintaining a community commitment to free and equitable education for all...The book provides a useful benchmark for a movement that in many ways is just getting started.
— Jay Matthews

Education Beat - Colleen Flannery
As many public schools grow larger and more diverse, the charter school movement gains equal and opposite momentum statewide. Bruce Fuller has charted this movement as it gains momentum across the state and nation. His Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization offers a peek inside six such schools...Fuller steers clear of a blanket like-or-dislike viewpoint. Instead, he shows the problems individual charter schools face.
New York Times - Jodi Wilgoren
Published a decade after the introduction of charter schools, the most dynamic and important school reform movement in recent memory, this collection offers rare insight into charter classrooms as well as a framework for the public policy discussion that surrounds them...The book is at its best when it lets the stories of the schools speak for themselves, unable to answer the broad policy questions but helping readers understand their complexity.
The Washington Monthly - Jay Matthews
In this book Fuller offers six essays--as much works of journalism as they are academic pieces--on six very different charter school experiments...Fuller deftly ties the grab-bag together with his own opening and closing thoughts on the philosophical and political tension between allowing free-thinkers to experiment and maintaining a community commitment to free and equitable education for all...The book provides a useful benchmark for a movement that in many ways is just getting started.
Library Journal
This insightful study of charter schools, edited by Fuller (Univ. of California, Berkeley), offers dispassionate evidence on whether government should move toward decentralization or merely become leaner and smarter in its support of local schools that are trying to improve. The wide-ranging discussion gives readers a real feel for what charter schools are like, allowing them to step inside a school and see what the hope and hype are all about. The detailed case studies cover a teacher cooperative in rural Minnesota, an urban back-to-basics school in Michigan, and a group of homeschoolers in California. Providing no easy answers, this study offers practical lessons to parents, educators, and policymakers aiming for reform and support of public education as a whole. Recommended for all libraries.--Leroy Hommerding, Fort Myers P.L. Dist., FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674008236
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Fuller is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Growing Charier Schools, Decentering the State

Bruce Fuller

The Public Square, Big or Small? Charter Schools in Political Context

Bruce Fuller

We Hold on to Our Kids, We Hold on Tight: Tandem Charters in Michigan

Patty Yancey

An Empowering Spirit Is Not Enough: A Latino Charter School Struggles over Leadership

Edward Wexler and Luis A. Huerta

Selling Air: New England Parents Spark a New Revolution

Kate Zernike

Diversity and Inequality: Montera Charter High School

Amy Stuart Wells, Jennifer Jellison Holme and Ash Vasudeva

Losing Public Accountability: A Home Schooling Charter

Luis A. Huerta

Teachers as Communitarians: A Charter School Cooperative in Minnesota

Eric Rofes

Breaking Away or Pulling Together? Making Decentralization Work

Bruce Fuller

Notes

Contributors

Index

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