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ERIC Number: ED543583
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
Taking Charge of Choice: How Charter School Policy Contexts Matter. Research Brief
Smrekar, Claire
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University (NJ1)
Against the backdrop of urban school politics, in which mayors play increasingly powerful and pivotal roles, the current study examines the origins and implications of mayoral control of charter school authorization and accountability in Indianapolis (see Henig & Rich, 2004; Wong & Shen, 2007). In contrast to analyses of mayoral takeovers of urban elementary education in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore, the study focuses on the advocacy coalitions and policy streams that made Indianapolis the first--and only--city with independent mayoral control over charter school authorization and accountability (see Bulkley, 2007; Kingdon, 1995; Orr, 1999; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999; Shipps, 2006). The central research question of the study is: How (and why) did the policy landscape change to secure passage of the Indiana charter school law? To address this question, the author conducted more than 30 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders (e.g., charter and non-charter school leaders, school board members, business leaders, teachers union representatives, education foundation officers, former mayors of Indianapolis, and state legislators) involved in Indiana charter school law adoption and implementation. In addition, myriad documents were analyzed for descriptive evidence of the nature of governing coalitions and their members' educational and political values related to charter school policy. Key findings include: (1) The capacity to change the direction of education policy in Indianapolis was constituted by a public demonstration of collective action, trust among different institutions, and investment from partners external to the formal governance structures in the city; and (2) Civic capacity in Indianapolis coalesced measurably following charter school policy implementation and the establishment of the Mayor's Office of Charter Schools. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This brief summarizes a paper that was prepared for the National Center on School Choice Conference held in October 2009.]
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 - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on School Choice
Identifiers - Location: Indiana