Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools in 2007

December 2007

Like previous editions of Hopes, Fears, & Reality, the 2007 edition explores some of the most challenging issues facing the charter school movement. This edition focuses on what is happening inside charter schools themselves: How are they organized and led? Who teaches in charter schools and how does their compensation differ from that of teachers in traditional public schools? Do charter schools seem to be meeting their original promises? Do charter school students experience anything different than students in traditional public schools?

Charter schools face many of the same issues as other public schools: how to build effective educational programs, how to motivate staff, how to develop leadership, and how to create an organizational culture that promotes the school's goals. However in pursuing these goals charter schools are structurally different from other public schools. They can usually hire their own teachers and administrators and have more freedom to set their own expectations for student behavior and cultural norms.

With these differences come opportunities for innovative approaches to public schooling, as well as new challenges. This edition begins to focus on some of these issues: what are the pressing concerns, tensions, and opportunities involved with teaching, leading, and governing charter schools?

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