ERIC Number: ED397495
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-May-16
Reference Count: N/A
From Paper to Practice: Challenges Facing a California Charter School. A Report Presented to the San Diego Unified School Board. Technical Report.
WestEd, San Francisco, CA.
Signed into law on September 2, 1992, California's charter-school law has led to the approval of over 100 charter schools. San Diego City Schools (SDCS) was one of the first districts to sponsor charter schools, including the Harriet Tubman School, 1 year after the law became effective. This report provides a brief overview and summary of a case study-report of the charter school at Harriet Tubman Village operating since September, 1994. Data were derived from document analysis; a review of literature; parent questionnaires (81 out of 180 parents, a 45 percent response rate); classroom observations; and interviews with school district staff, school administrators, school board members, teachers, and parents. The background and context section recounts a brief history of the Tubman school from its inception. Findings are presented for four areas of interest--educational program, teacher characteristics and beliefs, governance and other issues, and parent perspectives. The following conclusions are made: (1) The lines of authority and liability between charter schools and the district are ambiguous; (2) the review and approval process did not produce a charter that is clearly consistent with the legislation or the school district's requirements; (3) the charter-school petition inadequately describes the school's educational program; (4) teachers express some of the concepts and teach some of the content that the petition describes; (5) standardized tests are driving significant adaptations in the educational programs; (6) the Tubman Governance Council has been partially inhibited because its authority is not clearly delineated; (7) governance council members had to grapple with serious and complex issues, often without an experienced leader; and (8) the principles of choice may be compromised if parents are not fully knowledgeable about the nature of Tubman's program and their other options. Recommendations are offered for autonomy and accountability issues, the education program, improved governance, ensuring informed parental choice, and future evaluation. Six tables and eight figures are included. Appendices contain the text of California charter school law, the San Diego Charter School Study: Guiding Framework, the methodological framework and notes, and parent responses. (Contains 16 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: WestEd, San Francisco, CA.