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Building a Plane While Flying It: Early Lessons from Developing Charter Schools


by Noelle C. Griffin & Priscilla Wohlstetter — 2001

There has been a rapid increase over the past nine years in both the number of charter schools in the United States and the enthusiasm for the concept among legislators, educators, and the general public. Although high quality teaching and learning have always been key goals of those who have designed and supported charter schools, most research about charter schools has not addressed the instructional and organizational issues associated with creating high quality educational programs. For this article, the authors investigated 17 charter schools focusing on key instructional and organizational practices that charter schools established in their start-up years. The authors identified three major categories of issues the schools dealt with that cut across all sample charter schools: developing curricular and instructional programs, developing a meaningful accountability system, and developing management/leadership systems. In each of these areas, charter schools displayed both strengths that supported their development and challenges that seemed to impede their progress. The authors conclude with recommendations for further research.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 2, 2001, p. 336-365
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10722, Date Accessed: 11/23/2017 4:35:42 AM

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About the Author
  • Noelle Griffin
    University of Southern California
    E-mail Author
    Noelle C. Griffin is associate director of the Center on Educational Governance at the University of Southern California, which conducts research on alternative ways of managing schools to improve school performance. She co-authored, with Priscilla Wohlstetter, Creating and Sustaining Learning Communities: Lessons from Charter Schools (1998).
  • Priscilla Wohlstetter
    University of Southern California
    Priscilla Wohlstetter is Professor of Education and Public Policy and director of the Center on Educational Governance in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She is co-author, with Kerri L. Briggs, of “Key Elements of Successful School-Based Management Strategies” (Journal of Education Finance, forthcoming).
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