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ERIC Number: ED535923
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 94
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-3163-1
An Examination of Innovation in Tennessee's Charter Schools
McDonald, Aaron J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Memphis
Similar to other states, charter schools in Tennessee were established to improve student learning, provide options for parents, encourage the use of innovative methods, and provide new opportunities for teachers. With the passage of the TN Public Charter School Law, the first four charter schools opened in the 2003-04 academic year. Since that time, evidence has accumulated that this cohort of schools has been able to demonstrate many of the purposes outlined in the TN charter school law. For example, teachers and parents have generally reported positive experiences with the schools as well as satisfaction with key outcomes. Additionally, although student achievement results have been mixed, the schools have all successfully renewed their charters. The extent to which the charter schools are being innovative, however, has not been well documented. Using a qualitative collective case study approach, the goal of this paper was to examine if the first cohort of TN charter schools is utilizing innovative methods. The resulting themes across the schools included the use of extended learning time, engaging students as individual learners, adopting a holistic view of education, high-levels of support for the school's mission coupled with participative decision-making, and purposeful parent and community involvement with the schools. When examined in isolation, the charter school practices appear to be well-founded in the research literature, but do not ostensibly seem to be truly new. When the combination of practices is examined, however, then each school appears to provide a unique approach to educating their students, the vast majority of whom are economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk. Additionally, the schools offered educational methods and opportunities that may not have otherwise been provided in their respective communities. This holistic, contextually-based examination of innovation also offers lessons for adoption and scale-up of practices by other schools. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee