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ERIC Number: ED509549
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep-29
Pages: 72
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 54
Charter Law and Charter Outcomes: Re-Examining the Charter School Marketplace
Wong, Kenneth K.; Shen, Francis X.
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University (NJ1)
This paper provides a new outlook on the charter school policy environment, however, by re-examining more closely the layers of legal provisions in states' charter laws. Consistent with the first wave of charter school literature which found charter school politics to be complicated and often working at cross-purposes, the authors provide evidence of a legislative and regulatory "layering" (Wong 1999). Since charter law involves administrative and legislative rule-making, they see the result of layering in terms of legislative provisions and interpretation working at cross purposes. The politics of layering is created by multiple institutions, each operating with its own political logics, political allies, and policy functions. The implication is that policy layering tends to undermine an "ideal marketplace" for charter schools. Thus, charter schools are the creation of competing political influence and multiple (or seemingly fragmented) institutional decisions. The paper is organized into four sections. They first review the existing literatures on charter law and charter outcomes. They find a need for a revised and updated charter law database. The second section of the paper describes their work in coding legislative provisions to fill this empirical need. They discuss both their broad strategy, as well as their first steps in coding provisions related to both the traditional and reform goals of teachers' unions. The third section of this paper illustrates how this database can be employed in traditional state political empirical analysis. They perform two types of analysis: (1) using state-level factors to explain the adoption of charter provisions, and then (2) connecting those provisions to outcomes in the charter market. Although this empirical investigation remains preliminary, they find that union bargaining rights in a state are significantly related to the provisions likely to be of material concern for teachers, but not to provisions less central to material benefits. In the fourth and final section of the paper, they synthesize their findings and propose a future research agenda for studying charter school laws and their influence on charter school creation and operation. They argue that evaluation of the charter school market should recognize the internal workings of state laws. Summary of Recent Charter School Studies is appended. (Contains 66 footnotes and 8 tables.) [This paper was prepared for the National Conference on Charter School Research.]
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University. Box 459 GPC, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel: 615-322-8107; Fax: 615-322-8828; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on School Choice
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A040043