How can the education of our nation's children be improved? Vouchers and charter schools aim to improve education by providing families with more choice in the schooling of their children and by decentralizing the provision of educational services. While supporters argue that school choice is essential to rescue children from failing schools, opponents claim that it may destroy America's public education system. The authors undertake an exhaustive and critical view of the evidence on vouchers and charter schools. The book is a useful, unbiased primer for all those interested in this controversial topic.
Intro PREFACE SUMMARY ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Chapter One FAMILY CHOICE AND THE COMMON SCHOOL THE MOVEMENT FOR CHOICE IN EDUCATION COMMON FEATURES OF VOUCHER AND CHARTER SCHOOLS Admission by Choice Market Accountability Autonomous, Nongovernment Operation PUBLIC POLICY AND PRIVATE CHOICE: A NOTE ON THE SCOPE OF OUR INQUIRY CHALLENGING THE COMMON SCHOOL MODEL The Common School Model The Challenge Private" or "Public"? DEFINING THE RELEVANT EMPIRICAL ISSUES Academic Achievement Choice Access Integration Civic Socialization VALUES AND KNOWLEDGE IN THE SCHOOL-CHOICE DEBATE SUMMARY: KEY POLICY QUESTIONS IN BRIEF Chapter Two VOUCHERS AND CHARTERS IN POLICY AND PRACTICE POLICY-DESIGN DIMENSIONS COMMON TO VOUCHER AND CHARTER PROGRAMS Regulatory Dimensions Financing Dimensions Examples of Regulatory and Financing Differences DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VOUCHER AND CHARTER PROGRAMS Public Accountability Religion Participation of Existing Private Schools Funding EDUCATION TAX SUBSIDIES SAMPLE VOUCHER AND CHARTER POLICIES Sample Voucher Programs Sample Charter Laws Universal-Choice Systems of Autonomous Schools CHARACTERISTICS OF VOUCHER AND CHARTER SCHOOLS Enrollment, School Size, and Pupil-Teacher Ratio Grade-Level Configuration Teachers Program Content Complementary Programs and Resources SUMMARY Chapter Three ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT THEORETICAL ARGUMENTS EFFECTS ON STUDENTS IN VOUCHER AND CHARTER SCHOOLS Methodological Issues Evidence from Voucher Programs Evidence from Charter Schools Evidence from School Choice in Other Contexts Literature on Public and Private Schools Final Thoughts on Achievement in Voucher and Charter Schools EFFECTS ON STUDENTS REMAINING IN ASSIGNED PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Systemic Effects of Vouchers Systemic Effects of Charter Schools Studies of Interdistrict and Public-Private Competition WHAT IS NOT YET KNOWN ABOUT ACADEMIC OUTCOMES Chapter Four CHOICE THEORETICAL ARGUMENTS DEMAND FOR CHOICE Extent of Choice in the Current System Demand for Existing Voucher and Charter Programs* SUPPLY OF AUTONOMOUS SCHOOLS Existing Empirical Evidence Constraints on Supply PARENTAL SATISFACTION IN AUTONOMOUS SCHOOLS Parental Satisfaction in Voucher Schools Parental Satisfaction in Charter Schools A Concluding Note on Parental Satisfaction SUMMARY Chapter Five ACCESS THEORETICAL ARGUMENTS WHO USES VOUCHERS? Family Income of Voucher Students Race and Ethnicity of Voucher Students Prior Academic Achievement of Voucher Students Education Level of Voucher Parents Vouchers and Students with Disabilities WHO ATTENDS CHARTER SCHOOLS? Charter Schools and Children in Poverty Race and Ethnicity of Charter-School Students Prior Academic Achievement of Charter-School Students Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities SUMMARY Chapter Six INTEGRATION THE HISTORY OF CHOICE AND THE RACIAL POLITICS OF SCHOOLING THEORETICAL ARGUMENTS CONCEPTUAL AND MEASUREMENT ISSUES INTEGRATION IN EXISTING VOUCHER AND CHARTER PROGRAMS Integration in Voucher Schools Integration in Charter Schools EVIDENCE FROM OTHER CONTEXTS How Do Families Choose? Unrestricted-Choice and Open-Enrollment Plans Controlled Choice and the Importance of Policy Details UNRESOLVED COMPLEXITIES AND TENSIONS Between-School versus Within-School Integration Integration in School versus Residential Integration Targeting versus Integration in Charter Schools Quality of Integration Choice, Integration, and Social Trust SUMMARY. Chapter Seven CIVIC SOCIALIZATION HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Historic Roots of the Democratic Purposes of Public Schools Civic Socialization in the 21st Century THEORETICAL ARGUMENTS CONCERNING CIVIC SOCIALIZATION AND CHOICE Arguments in Favor of Vouchers and Charters Arguments in Favor of Conventional Public Schools EMPIRICAL FINDINGS What Is Civic Socialization? Evidence from Existing Voucher and Charter Schools Civic Socialization in Public and Private Schools Civic Socialization in Catholic Schools SUMMARY Chapter Eight CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS ASSESSING THE CHALLENGE SUMMARIZING THE EVIDENCE What Is Known What Is Not Known What Could Be Known What Might Be Learned Through a Grand Experiment A Note on Cost IMPLICATIONS FOR LARGE-SCALE CHOICE PROGRAMS CONSIDERATIONS IN POLICY DESIGN How Might Policymakers Maximize the Likelihood That Voucher/Charter Schools Will Be Academically Effective? How Might Policymakers Maximize the Likelihood That Systemic Effects on Nonchoosers Will Be Positive Rather than Negative? How Can Policymakers Ensure That a Substantial Number of Autonomous Schools Will Be Available? How Can Policymakers Ensure That Autonomous Schools Will Serve Low-Income and Special-Needs Children? How Can Policymakers Promote Integration in Programs of Autonomous Schooling? How Can Policymakers Ensure That Voucher/Charter Schools Will Effectively Socialize Their Students to Become Responsible Citizens of the American Democracy? FINAL THOUGHTS REFERENCES.
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