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Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Despite that major drawback, this was an excellent book to read because it gave such a good foundation (for me at least) of how the charter school movement got started, where it went, and where the authors hoped to see it go in the future. It was rather depressing to read what they hoped would be in place by 2010 - we're nowhere even close, although we are closer than we were in 2001, of course.
Just as a side note: When I was doing the research for this paper, I would take small post-it notes and mark pages with interesting passages that I could quote in my paper or items that I wanted to research further. When I finished this book, I had 87 post-it notes lining the edge of the book. I think that says it all.
My only complaint is the date. Would the authors consider doing a new and updated version? I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I think this book is the gold standard in charter school books. If you want to read a book to give you great background information on the subject, make this one it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this to be a very helpful book as an education law student studying the construction of charter schools from a legal perspective. Read morePublished on August 15, 2003 by Maureen A. Blake
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... Read morePublished on July 12, 2002