charter schools, we need a deeper and more complete understanding of what it means for charter schools to be part of the American public school system (Casey, 2015).
Adding to the challenge of identifying the role of charter schools in education today, is the general attitude or assumption that autonomy is a cornerstone of the charter school movement (Torres, 2014). In theory, charter schools should provide practitioners with increased autonomy from rules and regulations to enable the design of innovative programs that would challenge American public schools and increase buy-in and commitment from school leaders, teachers, parents, and communities; Presumably then, charter school teachers would demonstrate increased commitment to and ownership of the charter school and it’s curricular emphasis (Torres, 2014). However contradictory to this assumption, early research has demonstrated that systems may become polarizing for certain teachers as they gain expertise and desire greater autonomy or a voice in decision-making (Torres, 2014). Within the findings of this early research, if limited teacher input contributes to the problem of high turnover, this may increase the likelihood that relative novices, and not experienced teachers, become the norm for staffing charter schools (Torres, 2014).
One in five students now attend a charter school (Pearson & Kingsland, 2015). With the rapid increase of charter school education, one must consider whether the growth creates demands on charters to become more and more like the public schools they're replacing, potentially undermining the premise of charter schooling as a whole (Pearson & Kingsland, 2015). The question then, becomes whether charter schools are enhancing, replacing, or only becoming the doppelganger to American public education today. The answer to this question is not obvious, requires extensive research and consideration, and should be a prominent social concern in the debate of education today. What is certain, is that the future of quality education for American youth should not depend on mere luck in lotteries, or concerned communities or religious groups to take education into their own hands. We as a nation should be better than that, and try to find a quality system that provides all youth with equal opportunity.
Casey, L. (2015). The charter school challenge. New Labor Forum, 24(1), 22-30. doi:10.1177/1095796014562861
Pearson, McKoy, J. "., & Kingsland, N. (2015). How many charter schools is just right? Education Next, 15(3), 56-62.
Torres, A. C. (2014). Are we architects or construction workers? Re-examining teacher autonomy and turnover in charter schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22(124), 1-23. doi:10.14507/epaa.v22.1614