Item description for Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education. by Chester E. Finn, Bruno V. Manno & Gregg Vanourek...
Can charter schools save public education? This radical question has unleashed a flood of opinions from Americans struggling with the contentious challenges of education reform. There has been plenty of heat over charter schools and their implications, but, until now, not much light. This important new book supplies plenty of illumination.
Charter schools--independently operated public schools of choice--have existed in the United States only since 1992, yet there are already over 1,500 of them. How are they doing? Here prominent education analysts Chester Finn, Bruno Manno, and Gregg Vanourek offer the richest data available on the successes and failures of this exciting but controversial approach to education reform. After studying one hundred schools, interviewing hundreds of participants, surveying thousands more, and analyzing the most current data, they have compiled today's most authoritative, comprehensive explanation and appraisal of the charter phenomenon. Fact-filled, clear-eyed, and hard-hitting, this is the book for anyone concerned about public education and interested in the role of charter schools in its renewal.
Can charter schools boost student achievement, drive educational innovation, and develop a new model of accountability for public schools? Where did the idea of charter schools come from? What would the future hold if this phenomenon spreads? These are some of the questions that this book answers. It addresses pupil performance, enrollment patterns, school start-up problems, charges of inequity, and smoldering political battles. It features close-up looks at five real--and very different--charter schools and two school districts that have been deeply affected by the charter movement, including their setbacks and triumphs. After outlining a new model of education accountability and describing how charter schools often lead to community renewal, the authors take the reader on an imaginary tour of a charter-based school system.
Charter schools are the most vibrant force in education today. This book suggests that their legacy will consist not only of helping millions of families obtain a better education for their children but also in renewing American public education itself.
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Studio: Princeton University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.24" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.78" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Aug 19, 2001
Publisher Princeton University Press
ISBN 0691090084 ISBN13 9780691090085
Availability 0 units.
More About Chester E. Finn, Bruno V. Manno & Gregg Vanourek
Reviews - What do customers think about Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education.?
Charter School Primer Aug 16, 2003
I found this to be a very helpful book as an education law student studying the construction of charter schools from a legal perspective. The authors do a good job of presenting facts and issues in a balanced manner. A fine editing job was done to avoid the pitfall of the work being completely entrenched by the writers' perspectives. This is a very thorough introduction for those not familiar with the charter school model or why it came to be. The writing is clear and succinct. MOst significantly, I actually ENJOYED reading this book as I found it to be a captivating read regarding a topic which has potential to be soporific.
High on idealism, low on the realistic problems of the model Jul 13, 2002
The Charter School model is perilously close to the idea of both ad-hoc home schooling and the distasteful voucher system now championed by many powerful groups and individuals who also seem delighted by the Charter model. Both the Charter and voucher approaches operate in two problematic ways: 1) They help further underfund already strapped inner city and rural public schools and 2) They most often shortchange teachers in the process. A third, and even more frightening threat is that these schools will soon be subject to the same ideological restrictions as the public school system (with its cruel zero-tolerance policies for both mischievous juvenile behavior and free, unregulated inquiry).
In a democracy, one is already free to start one's own independent school. There are many routes to funding such schools without picking the pockets of the much larger public school system or coming under the aegis of public school boards and their often petty bureacratic control of ideological content and democratic free inquiry. A true alternative school must come up with truly democratic and alternative means of funding. Just as there "is no such thing as a free lunch," (or perhaps their days are numbered ) there is no easy road to creating democratic alternatives for young people, particularly those who are at risk in one way or another. It takes work, commitment, and also a fundamental respect for the students and teachers who actually make the school exist and work.
From what I have read (including some horror stories of schools simply shut down by those in real authority), I cannot believe the Charter model is the right way to go. If you wish to create an independent alternative, our democracy already gives one the right to do so. To raise money by raiding the pockets of public schoolchildren and teachers is simply untenable. In a real independent alternative school, there are often teachers who sometimes are willing to work for less (for a time), but they do so entirely by force of their own idealism. At the end of the day, everyone wishes and deserves to be accorded their fair share.
Idealistic vision but not likely... Jun 3, 2001
Chester Finn's new book is said to be the best book on charter schools yet written. And in many respects, it is. He and his two co-authors have packed in statistics and numbers, and they have reported interesting interviews and sidebars from persons who have started or implemented charter schools. They remain upbeat about the ultimate outcome of charter schools, and believe that by the year 2010 we will have witnessed a proliferation of school choice in America.
I love their optimism, and I wish I could be so optimistic, too. Finn and his colleagues believe the unions will eventually accommodate to the charter schools and quit trying to kill them with thousands of small cuts. They believe that charter schools, which exemplify American inventiveness and determination, will survive the non-existent capital funding, which prevents them from building and owning their own facilities. (You do not have to have a MBA to figure out that charter school rents are paid from lower teachers' salaries.) They even believe that charter schools will eventually force, by market competition, the public schools to change.
I cannot see exactly why the unions will quit their attacks, why public authorities will open the capital facilities question, or how charter schools will avoid massive re-regulation (as in special education or bilingual education).
For these reasons, then, I think Finn and his colleagues are persuasive idealists, but I am not persuaded. Even 3,000 charter schools across the country will not change the face of public education in America. Only when parents receive vouchers will there really be a free-market change. Charter schools are just the way-station. Not bad ones, but not the revolutionary change that Finn imagines.
GREAT reading, for both newbies and old pros! May 15, 2001
As a strong believer in charter schools, and even more as a parent of a kindergartner who attends a back to basics charter school currently in its fifth year of operation, I chose this book to learn more about this nationwide phenomenon.
This is a book that I would recommend to anyone looking for the most basic information, for anyone interested in starting a charter, or for those who would just like more background.
The authors began gathering their information for a research project, and three and a half years later, ended up with this book. It is packed full of details in an easy to follow and informative manner. Following a brief introduction, subsequent chapters are logically arranged. If reading the whole book is not for you, you can easily find what you are looking for. It also contains about 2 dozen tables and short surveys, if you enjoy this sort of thing.
A number of things I particularly liked: 1) the 5 "field trips" where the authors visited 5 different charter schools--small/large, urban/suburban, progressive/traditional, profit/non-profit, and even a "virtual" (online) school; 2) the way the book is written, not so much in a textbook manner (which would have been boring); 3) the detailed comparisons between different state laws, which can make or break the charter schools.
I do have the impression that the authors are pro-charter, although they listed plenty of negatives and accurately presented both sides of all issues. However, I may be reading into it my own favoritisms.
Overall, a good, strong book that I'm glad I picked up.
Charter Schools in Action Gets An A Mar 13, 2000
Charter Schools in Action is a timely and thoughtful work that makes an important contribution to America's education debate.
Finn, Manno and Vanourek provide a well-researched study of the operation and promise of the charter school phenomenon. By mixing interviews conducted at dozens of charter schools throughout the country along with their empirical data, they provide real-life anecdotes that give the reader a better understanding of the ways in which charter schools compare to and differ from other educational institutions than do most studies I have read. The inclusion of these profiles makes this book accessible to parents as well as to academic readers.
The timing of this book could not be better. As Congress works to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year and as the likely presidential nominees of both major political parties debate whether and how to reform our nation's high schools, it is vital that policy makers understand the strengths and weaknesses of charter schools. Charter Schools in Action provides the reader with information about what charter schools have done well and where they need to improve to help policy makers come to their own conclusions about how this 90's development should fit into our education debate for the new decade. Before anyone jumps to conclude that charter schools are a cure-all or rushes to condemn charter schools as harmful to or incompatible with traditional public education, they should read Charter Schools in Action. And when they do they will come to recognize that the education debate that will occur this year and in the future should be first and foremost about doing what will best prepare America's children, whatever their backgrounds, to compete and achieve in the 21st Century.