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A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education Paperback – September 15, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


A remarkable new book. . . . Wise and energetic advocates such as Kahlenberg and Potter can take the charter movement in new and useful directions. --The Washington Post

About the Author

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and an expert on socioeconomic integration and labor issues in public schools. Halley Potter is a fellow at The Century Foundation and a former charter school teacher.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (September 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807755796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807755792
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
Kahlenberg believes that today's charters should adhere to Albert Shanker's vision in 1988 - in that vision teachers could experiment with innovative approaches to educating students. Thus, he's upset that the vast majority of today's charters empower management, not teachers, and most are antiunion. That in itself is an ominous precursor of Kahlenberg's content - the objective of education is to educate pupils as best possible, not to empower one group or another. Pragmatism should be a key value - not 'liberal,' 'progressive,' 'conservative,' etc.

Unfortunately, the author seems oblivious to the realities of public education in America - teacher unions and administrators are the #1 and #2 enemies of pupil achievement. Both continually demonstrate themselves far more interested in bettering themselves than pupils - starting with pay, benefits, protective union rules that forbid 'excessive' work (eg. more than 5 hours/day) and even a scintilla of accountability. Before writing this book he should have read Joel Klein's 'Lessons of Hope' (summary of his efforts to improve pupil achievement in New York City schools), Michelle Rhee's 'The Bee Eater' (summary of her efforts to improve pupil achievement in D.C. schools), 'On Equality of Education Opportunity' (summary of a massive research effort to determine 'what works' in education - turns out teacher-prized attributes such as seniority and courses completed are nearly worthless), Jay Greene's 'Education Myths' (summarizes what special interest groups want you to believe about education - and why it isn't so), etc., etc., etc. He also needs to think about why Asian students regularly triumph in international pupil achievement tests.
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