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Charter Schools:
Annotated Bibliography
Roslyn Prehara
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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Berger, Kristina, and Peter W. Cookson, Jr. Expect Miracles: Charter Schools and the Politics of Hope and Despair. Colorado: Westview P, 2002. Examines "research concerning observable results of the charter school movement" (99). Approaches argument that competition is the key to school improvement. Reflects on the principle of supply and demand regarding education. Discredits claims that charter schools introduce innovation, higher performance, more parent-teacher involvement, and educational innovation, as they have not lived up to these claims. Explores levels of charter school performance based on student achievement, curricular innovation, student-to-teacher ratios, accountability, access by general public to the schools, and impact on public education. Reveals performance of schools to be average in most areas, if not inadequate. Uses studies conducted in Minnesota, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, California, and Michigan. Provides fair opposing position to charter school movement based on facts and research. Very useful article as an honest stance against charter schools.

Browning, Melissa. "A Critical Analysis of Charter Schools." Equity and Excellence in Education 33.2 (2000): 16-23. Deals with important concepts concerning charter schools: accountability, autonomy, competition, innovation, and choice. Explains "that increased autonomy can heighten inequalities, and that choice can be turned on its head, serving to exclude certain members of society" (16). Provides history of charter school development and state of conditions as of 2000. Discusses accountability and problems assessing academic growth. Identifies trend of financial problems with start-up funding, teacher salaries, and facility funding which cause failings. Responds to 'autonomy for efficiency' claim from proponents of charter schools, showing that autonomy produces only more financial challenges. Utilizes results from research conducted in California, Michigan, and Arizona: states with 44% of US charter schools. Further, gives information that is concrete and valuable for anyone researching charter schools.

Finn, Chester E. Jr., Bruno V. Manno, and Gregg Vanourek. Charter Schools in Action. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 2000. Explores principle of competition within education brought on by charter schools and the necessity of this drive for change to make performance necessary. Describes effect of competition on schools in Michigan, Arizona, Illinois, New York, citing increase in marketing schemes by public schools systems. Cites examples of increased marketing schemes by public schools systems, including a requirement for all involved with school in Mesa, Arizona, to attend customer-service workshops. Analyzes charter schools as district assets, assisting districts in achieving common purposes in the area of innovation, and provides examples. Makes speculations loosely based off of studies to forecast the future impact of charter schools on public education. Provides information on both sides of charter school issue that is useful for research.

Fusarelli, Lance D. "Charter Schools: Implications for Teachers and Administrators." The Clearing House 76 (2002): 20-24. Investigates performance of charter schools and significance for administration and teachers. Provides conditions of charter school debate based on whether student achievement is improved. Identifies reasons given by directors and founders of charter schools for establishing them. Assembles argument between proponent and opponents of charter school movement, leaning towards the opposing side. Defines charter schools and explains what they are like. Discusses teacher involvement within charter schools. Assesses overall performance of charter schools based on limited information available concerning student performance. Analyzes ability of charter schools to embrace or take advantage of innovation. Names major barriers to charter school success, and reflects upon possible future of charter school movement. Provides up-to-date information useful concerning conditions, as of 2002, of charter school movement.

Garcia, George F., and Mary Garcia. "Charter Schools-Another Top-Down Innovation." Educational Researcher 25.8 (1996): 34-36. Discusses failure of school reform efforts which fail because they are "imposed by state legislators, governors, state departments of education, and even local governing boards without input from those who do the work" (34). Approaches charter schools as another such reform effort, established despite public school success. Answers question: "Why are legislators so willing to find money for charter schools when these same individuals have been unwilling to fund education even at the rate of inflation?" (34) and responds to assumptions made by advocates of charter schools. Explains relation between charter schools and private schools, which fuel segregation based on race or religion. Argues that positive aspects of charter schools are as complements to public schools, concentrating on "drop-outs, replacing failing schools, [and] piloting innovative learning models…" (35) Provides concrete research and results in an argument against charter schools.

McGree, Kathleen M. "Charter Schools: Early Learnings." Insights… on Education Policy and Practice 5 (1995) 10 October 2004 <:http://www.sedl.org/policy/insights/charter9507.html>. Examines concerns and difficulties charter schools face in early stages of planning. Approaches charter school movement as "relatively cost-free innovation within the boundaries of the public system" (1). Defines charter schools and answers questions concerned with why charter schools have surfaced. Considers different issues related to subject, like autonomy, legal status, approval and appeals process, funding, accountability, special education, equity, and admissions. Discusses roles and responsibilities of teachers within charter schools. Investigates and evaluates effects charter schools have on public schools in area of change and competition. Identifies various questions proposed concerning different policies. Also reviews issues of transportation, role of charter school sponsors, and parental involvement. Mentions and explains many different focal points of issues concerned with charter schools. Organizes information in readable format for anyone interested in charter schools to investigate.

Peebles, Lucretia. "Charter School Equity Issues: Focus on Minority and At-Risk Students." Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (November 2000): 1-8. Addresses concerns "with equity issues at charter schools that serve predominantly minority or at-risk students," (1) and proposes to help policymakers in addressing these concerns. Describes enrollment conditions of charter schools, in which a higher percentage of African American and Hispanic students are enrolling. Discusses segregation in schools done by charter school movement because of their focus on "students most in need" (1). Proposes charter schools as best possible avenue of success for minority and at-risk students. Investigates admission and recruitment concerns, noting risks of specialized curriculum. Charges that policy makers should pay more attention to activity and curricula of charter schools to ensure all is in line with state standards. Provides great solutions to problems usually discussed in research rather than just discussing those issues.

Stewart, Barbara L. "Charter Schools: Opportunities to Extend Educational Models, a Positive View." Education 122.4 (2002): 777- 84. Analyzes application of educational theories by charter schools. Identifies advantages offered in "opportunity to design, implement, demonstrate, evaluate, disseminate, and extend specific educational models" (778). Profiles history beginning in 1960. Names general characteristics of charter schools, specifically in comparison to public schools. Recognizes strengths in approach to education. Evaluates popularity based on choice and diversity of educational philosophies. Summarizes seven important concepts of charter school movement. Specifies primary reasons given by government officials for introducing charter school bills. Investigates the introduction of charter schools in Texas. Provides valuable information on positive aspects of charter schools in organized manner. Moreover, stresses the importance of the educational reform model given by charter schools.

US Charter Schools. WestEd. 10 October 2004. <http://www.uscharterschools.org/pub/uscs_ docs/index.htm>. Details background of charter school movement and offers extensive information describing charter schools and how to start one. Answers frequently asked questions. Gives tips to parents for finding and choosing a charter school. Sketches eight successful charter schools and identifies elements of effective charter schools. Provides complete text of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Describes grants available to charter schools. Supplies monthly resource update and weekly news update from charter schools across the country. Profiles charter school legislation and activity in each state. Specifies the role of the Federal Government in the charter school program. Presents very biased information about current state and successes of charter schools, citing no opposing perspectives. Site does, however, give a lot of descriptive information about charter schools.

Zollers, Nancy J., and Arun K. Ramanathan. "For-profit Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities: The Sordid Side of the Business of Schooling." Phi Delta Kappan 80.4 (1998): 297-304. Criticizes for-profit charter schools as nothing more than another type of business, whose main goal is to improve test scores. Analyzes how these schools deal with special education, revealing how special education students have been treated with disregard and hostility. Blames this treatment on profit-motivated school managers who treat these students as financial liabilities. Challenges successes reported in the area of special education reported by some charter schools and "the contention that they represent a model for public education" (298). Identifies behaviors conducted by charter schools, such as requesting that parents of special education drop their child's individualized education program or refusing to accept special education students at all. Produces argument for special education students against charter schools, using research conducted in Massachusetts charter schools. Helpful in bringing new subjects to the forefront concerning charter schools, and very informative.

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