The 2007 NCSRP report, edited by Lake, is the third in an annual series focusing on what’s going on in charter schools, how well they are doing, and what can be learned from their experience—now 15 years—of providing an alternative to traditional district- run public schools.

Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

U.S. charter-school mediocrity

L’esperienza dell’autonomia scolastica sotto la forma di scuole statali alle quali è concessa una franchigia rispetto alle leggi scolastiche (in generale si tratta di scuole cedute in appalto ad enti privati con fini non lucrativi) si sta rivelando meno promettente di quanto lo si pensava una decina di anni or sono. Il rapporto annuo 2007 sullo stato di queste scuole negli Stati Uniti esamina le novità ed il modo di funzionamento di queste scuole e ne denuncia l’incapacità ad innovare ed a sperimentare forme alternative di funzionamento rispetto alle scuole statali regolari.

************

This is the third annual report from the National Charter School Research Project (NCSRP) at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education.

Like previous editions of Hopes, Fears, & Reality, this year’s report explores some of the most challenging issues currently facing the charter school movement. The 2007 edition focuses on what is happening inside charter schools themselves: How are they organized and led? Who teaches in charter schools and how does their compensation differ from that of teachers in traditional public schools? Do charter schools seem to be meeting their original promises? Do charter school students experience anything different than students in traditional public schools?

Press release of the National Charter Schools Research Project

Charter schools edge traditional schools on safety

Charter schools are “quieter and less disruptive” than traditional public schools serving similar students, according to an analysis published today.

“It’s not entirely clear whether charter schools are safer and more orderly due to the students they serve or because of actions by the schools’ leaders,” said Robin Lake, director of the National Charter School Research Project (NCSRP), based at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education.

“We believe it could be both,” Lake added. “Student and parent preferences for a safe and orderly environment coupled with the flexibility of charter school administrators and teachers to enforce standards likely drive these results.”

The issue is discussed in “Safety and Order in Charter and Traditional Public Schools,” a chapter in NCSRP’s new report, Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools in 2007.

The chapter, co-authored by Paul Hill, examines teacher reports of serious threats to persons or property. While both charter and traditional public schools experience safety and behavioral problems, fewer problems are reported by teachers at charter schools.

The 2007 NCSRP report, edited by Lake, is the third in an annual series focusing on what’s going on in charter schools, how well they are doing, and what can be learned from their experience—now 15 years—of providing an alternative to traditional district- run public schools.

Another chapter, co-authored by Dan Goldhaber and NCSRP researchers, says that while charter schools are experimenting somewhat with teacher compensation, they could do a lot more given their wide-ranging flexibility around staffing and budgets. To encourage more experimentation, the chapter calls for states to lift requirements that impose existing salary schedules specified in union contracts. Otherwise, charter school personnel practices may look a lot more traditional than advocates had once hoped.

Other chapters in this year’s report focus on:

- The National Charter School Landscape in 2007: This chapter shows that the number of charter schools continues to grow, but at a slightly slower pace than in previous years. The analysis also sheds light on charter schools’ educational programs and teacher work life.

- Charter School Governance: Joanna Smith, Priscilla Wohlstetter, and Dominic Brewer find that while charter schools are producing some notable innovations, the movement as a whole still employs fairly traditional governance models. The chapter concludes with recommendations for ways to encourage greater experimentation and dissemination of effective governance practices.

- Building a Pipeline of New School Leaders: Attracting new charter school leaders in both quantity and quality is an emerging challenge. This chapter contains insights from an interview with Jonathan Schnur, co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools, and recommendations for cities interested in attracting high-quality leaders.

- Smart Charter School Caps: In the final chapter, Education Sector’s Andrew Rotherham looks at problems stemming from state caps that limit the number of charter schools and proposes revising caps policies in a way that “promises to sensibly manage the growth of charter schools, while fostering public school quality overall.”

The full report is attached.

Content:

- OVERVIEW Charter Schools From the Outside-In by Robin J. Lake (PDF: 114 K)

- CHAPTER 1 The National Charter School Landscape in 2007 by Jon Christensen and Robin J. Lake (PDF: 688 K)

- CHAPTER 2 Under New Management: Are Charter Schools Making the Most of New Governance Options? by Joanna Smith, Priscilla Wohlstetter, and Dominic J. Brewer (PDF: 149 K)

- CHAPTER 3 Building a Pipeline of New School Leaders by Christine Campbell (PDF: 174 K)

- CHAPTER 4 Look Familiar? Charters and Teachers by Michael DeArmond, Betheny Gross, and Dan Goldhaber (PDF: 331 K)

- CHAPTER 5 Safety and Order in Charter and Traditional Public Schools by Paul T. Hill and Jon Christensen (PDF: 420 K)

- CHAPTER 6 Smart Charter School Caps: A Third Way on Charter School Growth by Andrew J. Rotherham (PDF: 160 K)

****************************************************

Coby Loup’s comments published in the weekly Bulletin of News and Analysis from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation "The Education Gadfly", Volume 7, Number 47. December 13, 2007.

Looking for a great stocking stuffer? You could do worse than this report, which offers some enlightening thoughts and findings on charter schools. Breaking from the two previous editions, which focused mostly on external pressures facing charter schools, the 2007 report "explores what is going on inside charter schools themselves." Especially interesting are the chapters on principal leadership and teacher compensation. In the first, researcher Christine Campbell interviews New Leaders for New Schools co-founder Jonathan Schnur, who discusses the challenges of finding the highly capable managers necessary for leading successful, innovative charter schools. The teacher compensation paper asks why more charters haven’t experimented with performance pay. The culprits: Restrictive state laws and stale thinking from principals and teachers who hail from traditional public schools. To get around such status-quoism, the paper recommends injecting "new blood" into the movement. Another chapter tackles the question of whether charter schools are "making the most of new governance options." Again the authors conclude that, given their relative freedoms compared to traditional public schools, charters could and should be stepping farther outside the box, exploring options like teacher cooperatives, public-private partnerships, and new school board arrangements. The volume also includes a chapter on charter school safety, by CRPE honcho Paul Hill and his colleague Jon Christensen, and one on "smart charter school caps," by Education Sector’s Andy Rotherham.

Les documents de l'article

hfr_07_presentation.pdf
hfr07_news.pdf
pub_hfr07_web.pdf