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ERIC Number: EJ763298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Don't Tie Us Down: Charters Are for Choice and Must Be Given the Freedom to Experiment
Sizer, Theodore R.
Education Next, v5 n3 p59-61 Sum 2005
Of the many arguments for charter schools, one is crucial: that charters should be deliberately, thoughtfully, boldly different from existing mainline public middle and high schools. The evidence of the ineffectiveness of the traditional design of K-12 education, especially that of middle and high schools, serving both rich and poor, is overwhelming. Thus, new school designs must be encouraged, risky as that may appear. Accordingly, any policy that drives charters into old molds--making them, in effect, "look and act familiar" as worthy expressions of the existing "system," producing students who do well primarily on tests organized in ways that reflect this system--undermines the sound intent of the charter idea. Mindlessly administered, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) could have the effect of driving charter schools into discredited routines, in effect, killing them. The end of NCLB is worthy, profoundly reflecting a democracy's need for an educated citizenry, but its current means may end up, save at the embarrassing margins, hurting the schools more than helping them, turning them into test-prep places and driving away the imaginative teachers that each parent wants in contact with their children. For the betterment of education as a whole, charter schools need a program of serious, sustained, independent assessment, based on the exhibited quality of an agreed-upon scope of work. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001