Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter Schoolsreviewed by Christopher Nelson — 2003
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
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.) Title:
Rhetoric Versus Reality: What We Know and What We Need to Know About Vouchers and Charter SchoolsAuthor(s):
Brian P. Gill, P. Michael Timpane, Karen E. Ross and Dominic BrewerPublisher:
Rand, Santa Monica, CAISBN:
2001Search for book at Amazon.com
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- Christopher Nelson
The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University
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.