How can communities encourage the development of good school alternatives harnessed to solid public oversight? Do charter or voucher schools face particular accountability challenges? What do parents need if they are to make sound choices? In particular, what do the poorest parents need? How do advocates of more school choice deal with the politics surrounding the issue? And, how do schools of choice make sure they get all the funds to which they are entitled, including special education funds?
These questions and others lay at the heart of a two-day seminar on "How Can Communities Do School Choice Right?" convened at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., in August 2004. The seminar, hosted by the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings and the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington's Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, took dead aim at the practical challenges involved in a choice movement that now involves tens of thousands of schools and millions of students across the United States.
These proceedings capture the flavor of the conversation.