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Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schools


reviewed by Christopher Nelson — 2003

coverTitle: Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schools
Author(s): Brian P. Gill, P. Michael Timpane, Karen E. Ross and Dominic Brewer
Publisher: Rand, Santa Monica, CA
ISBN: 0833027654, Pages: 120, Year: 2001
Search for book at Amazon.com

Debates about vouchers, charters, and other market-based school reforms tend to be confusing mixtures of data, ideology, politics, and constitutional argument.  Brian Gill, P. Michael Timpane, Karen Ross, and Dominic Brewer of RAND seek to provide insight into these debates through a systematic review of literature on vouchers and charter schools in their book, Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schools.  “Whether a system based on family choice undermines the values associated with the common school,” they write, “is an empirical question” (p. 201).  As the book’s title suggests, answers to these empirical questions (which involve achievement, access, integration, choice, and civic socialization) remain fraught with uncertainty.  Still the authors provide an illuminating attempt to relate current research – imperfect as it is – on the subject to the continuing policy debate on market-based educational reforms.    The book begins with the issue of student achievement.  After bemoaning the dearth of high quality studies on the topic, the authors conclude... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 4, 2003, p. 639-642
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11016, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 11:02:02 AM

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About the Author
  • Christopher Nelson
    The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University
    E-mail Author
    CHRISTOPHER NELSON is a senior research associate at The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University, where he has authored and contributed to large-scale evaluations of charter schools in five states. He is co-author of a recent book on Michigan charter schools and is currently completing a number of scholarly papers on charter school teachers, student achievement, and the correlates of success in charter schools. Along with education reform, Nelson works on issues related to evaluation methodology and public policy. Nelson holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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