Edited by: Amy Stuart Wells
Publication Date: September 21, 2018
(Print Publication Date: September 1, 2002)
Series: Sociology of Education Series
In this provocative volume, Amy Stuart Wells and her co-authors provide evidence that the laissez-faire policies of charter school reform often exacerbate existing inequalities in our schools.
Providing the most comprehensive, critical review of charter schools to date, this timely volume is based on the authors’ in-depth study of 10 urban, suburban, and rural school districts and 17 diverse charter schools in California, plus their analysis of other charter school studies from around the country. Focusing on two central issues—accountability and equity—they explore how charter school policies affect the lives of children, educators, and parents in diverse social, economic, and political contexts. The authors conclude that although the quality and experiences of charter schools is highly varied across different contexts, the laws that allow these schools to exist fail to assure meaningful accountability. Meanwhile, these policies increase inequality and stratification by pushing the educational system toward privatization in terms of finance and admissions while failing to target much-needed resources toward low-income communities.
This dynamic book will help educators and policymakers develop a future policy agenda for charter school reform that will be more responsive to the needs of all children.
Amy Stuart Wells is a Professor of Sociology of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was the principal investigator of UCLA Charter School Study from 1996–2000.
“The authors, for the first time, make sense of the diverse and diffuse charter school 'movement.' They argue that the lack of support, the absence of equity provisions in state laws, and the burnout of many charter school personnel have led to the beginning of the end of this—yet another—school reform. This book provides important lessons for all who care about public education.”
—Jean Anyon, Graduate Center, City University of New York