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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