Lessons from Massachusett’s successful charter school movement.
Over two decades ago, Massachusetts introduced its first charter public schools, planting seeds that would grow some of the highest performing public schools in the nation. No one could have known then how successful this experiment in education reform would be—nor how controversial. The Fight for the Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation draws on data and interviews with education policymakers and school leaders to trace the history of charter schools and document the stellar academic outcomes that they help students achieve.
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Cara Stillings Candal is an education policy expert and Senior Fellow at Pioneer Institute. She was formerly research assistant professor at the Boston University School of Education and has an extensive background in national and international education policy and teacher training. Candal is the author/editor of numerous articles and several books about charter schools and other alternatives to traditional school options.
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Read what they’re saying…
“In the decades since Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the nation seems to be searching for a magic formula to close achievement gaps. But educational change isn’t about magic; it’s about fi nding the political will to serve all children. Because in America there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ there is only us. Thankfully, Massachusetts summoned the courage to establish an excellent public charter school sector in the 1990s that has closed achievement gaps more effectively than traditional public schools in the country. This book from Pioneer Institute provides valuable lessons for anyone hoping to use best practices from successful public charter schools to deliver on the promise of equal opportunity in American education.”
Cheryl Brown Hendersondaughter of the Rev. Oliver L. Brown, lead plaintiff in the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS
“At a time in American history when charters are attacked for being un-accountable, privatized, arch-enemies of public education, Dr. Candal uses scholarship, financial data, and real-world examples from some of the highest performing charter schools in the United States as a measured response to those claims. She also identifies challenges within the charter sector and offers helpful recommendations learned from Massachusetts. This is a must-read book for governors, state lawmakers, and charter authorizers.”
Gerard RobinsonExecutive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity and former state educational official in Virginia and Florida
“Massachusetts’s charter schools consistently rank among the best in the nation, but the Commonwealth continues to impose senseless caps that foreclose opportunity for too many students. This book provides a detailed history of how Massachusetts’s charter schools came to be so good and an honest take on the politics that prevent the movement from growing.”
Jeanne AllenPresident and CEO, Center for Education Reform
“Great charter schools give families real choices and give school leaders and teachers the power to do what they do best— educate children to the highest standards. Massachusetts has great charter schools and this book tells us why. It is a valuable tool for policymakers and charter school leaders nationwide.”
Nina ReesPresident and Chief Executive Officer, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
“Pioneer Institute has performed more high-quality research on Massachusetts’s charter sector than any other organization. This is an excellent book that provides a detailed history and analysis of how the Commonwealth has produced the best charter schools in the nation. Anyone who wants to understand how to close achievement gaps through sound policy and practice should read it.”
Kevin Andrewsfounding headmaster, Neighborhood House Charter School
“Pioneer Institute’s reports on education policy in Massachusetts provide the facts and context essential to understanding how education reform works and what (too often) stands in the way of its success. Dr. Candal’s latest book for Pioneer details how Massachusetts developed what is probably the best panoply of charter schools in the country, and why that achievement is threatened by the forces of status quo. Like Horace Mann’s Annual Reports in the 1840s, it is illuminating reading for reformers in other states and even in other countries.”
Charles L. GlennProfessor Emeritus of Educational Administration and Policy, Boston University and former Executive Director, Office of Educational Equity, Massachusetts Department of Education
Learn more about how you can help expand charter schools in your state!