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ERIC Number: ED516578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 58
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Success at Scale in Charter Schooling. Working Paper 2008-02
Wilson, Steven F.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Teachers may be the most important element of an effective school, but does that mean that K-12 improvement must wait on the ability of schools or systems to recruit, nurture, and retain outstanding teachers? Such a strategy implies that widespread excellence hinges on the ability of publicly funded school systems to attract more than 3.3 million superstars--or more than 200,000 such hires a year. The challenge of recruiting the way to excellence is a daunting proposition. The author is skeptical that it is a feasible one. He notes that even today's successful charter schools have succeeded by creating a "No Excuses" culture reliant on their ability to attract talented and passionate recruits, but he questions whether these models are capable of working at the scale that the nation requires. Indeed, given the limited talent pool of promising hires and the exhausting demands these schools make of faculty, the author considers whether such models can ever effectively serve more than a handful of the nation's students. The author's purpose in this paper is not to question the value of these ventures but to illuminate the constraints of their current strategy and offer an alternative vision that may enable these success stories to continue to expand. Taking a close look at eight Boston-area No Excuses schools, he asks two questions: "Is the model sustainable? And can it be widely reproduced?" Given their heavy reliance on scarce human capital--particularly recent graduates of elite colleges and universities--he argues that scalability could be pursued through efforts to recruit more talent into teaching but that a more promising, overlooked strategy would provide teachers of varied abilities with comprehensive instructional systems demonstrated to produce academic results. An appendix is included. (Contains 26 tables, 1 figure, 1 footnote and 58 notes.)
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System