Hopes, Fears, & Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools in 2009

January 2010

This fifth annual edition of Hopes, Fears, & Reality explores the lessons high-performing charter schools offer for other public schools.

Thanks to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, charter schools are being promoted as an important tool for improving U.S. public schools. With the “Race to the Top” program encouraging the expansion of charter schools as part of the effort to reform the nation’s lowest-performing district schools, charters are getting a new look—particularly in states that now ban or severely limit them. In response, many states are considering legislation to expand the number of charter schools allowed.

This latest look at the national charter school landscape contains reasons for cautious optimism about whether the charter school sector is poised to take advantage of the opportunity.

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