This debut edition of Hopes, Fears, & Reality provides new data on many aspects of charter schools in the United States and examines issues and controversies surrounding reform.
The report is in two parts. The first provides new data that inform questions such as: Is the charter school movement growing or slowing down? Do charter schools serve more or fewer disadvantaged children than regular public schools? Are charter schools innovative? The report also identifies several important questions on which state and local record keeping needs to be improved.
The second part of this report takes up issues and controversies that characterized the discussion of charter schools in 2004-2005. The goal is to provide essays that examine these controversies in a broad context and assemble evidence in a balanced and informative way. The essays are unlikely to settle any of these issues definitively, but they may establish a more constructive basis for continued discussion.