ERIC Number: ED467033
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Supplying a System of Charter Schools: Observations on Early Implementation of the Massachusetts Statute.
Millot, Marc Dean
This report examines the extent to which proposals to decentralize public education can be implemented by individuals, groups, or institutions prepared to operate charter schools. Charter schools must be able to balance autonomy for decisions relating to educational programs and accountability with academic standards and market forces. Massachusetts' charter schools enjoy broad autonomy, with full control over educational programs, personnel and business decisions, and governance. Responsiveness to market forces and the responsible exercise of autonomy requires a wide range of capabilities, including expertise in special education, business management, government operations, administrative capacity, financial backing, and strong community relationships. While schools often turn to technical-assistance organizations and private sources of finance for private-sector support, government regulation also significantly affects the ability of charter schools to form and operate. Several barriers limited the pool of charter applicants, including access to suitable facilities and capital, limits on charter numbers in the largest urban areas, inability to overcome opposition, and untimely government rulings. To encourage charter schools, legislators should appropriately prescribe autonomy; tailor eligibility to the scope of autonomy; ensure staff expertise; avoid permanent caps; encourage institutions of higher learning to target typical students, and improve access to facilities and expertise. Chartering agencies must learn from experiences in other states and match staff capacity to the scope of autonomy. To effectively promote charter schools, private foundations should invest in nonprofit technical-support organizations, encourage qualified applicants to target mainstream students, and create funds to train promising applicants and provide down-payment loans for the purchase and renovation of facilities by nonprofit charter-school operators. (Appendix A provides study methods and contains 38 references. Appendix B presents the Massachusetts Charter School Statute.) (TEJ)
Descriptors: Accountability, Charter Schools, Educational Finance, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Free Enterprise System, Institutional Autonomy, School Administration, School Choice, School Policy, School Support, State Legislation, State Regulation, State Standards
Institute for Public Policy and Management, University of Washington, Box 353060, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-616-5769. For full text: http://www.crpe.org/pubs/pdf/MAcharterfull.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH.
Authoring Institution: Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA. Inst. on Education and Training.; Washington Univ., Seattle. Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts