Inside Urban Charter Schools offers an unprecedentedly intimate glimpse into the world of charter schools by profiling five high-performing urban charter schools serving predominantly low-income, minority youth in Massachusetts
Interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations conducted over the course of two years flesh out rich and colorful portraits of daily life in these schools. Using an analytic framework grounded in research on nonprofit management and effective schools, the authors show that these schools excel along the organizational dimensions of structure, systems, human resource strategies, culture, and clarity of mission.
By raising provocative questions for parents, educators, policymakers, and scholars, the book makes a powerful contribution to important conversations about the purpose of K–12 schooling in the twenty-first century and what it will take to enable all schools—whether charter or traditional—to successfully educate all students.
What makes a great school? Kay Merseth and her colleagues have looked inside some of the nation’s best public charter schools and unlocked their secrets. Through engrossing case studies and thoughtful scholarship, this book shows how these schools use their freedom to realize the high expectations they hold for all students. This is a book with plenty of ‘lessons learned’ for charter schools—and for other urban public schools as well. — Nelson Smith, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Teachers, principals, and anyone else who is serious about closing the achievement gap should read this book. Merseth and her colleagues take you into the classrooms and corridors of five of the best schools in the country and paint a detailed picture of the very specific strategies, beliefs, systems, and cultures that make these schools really work for kids. It is an inspirational and practical how-to guide for school reformers. — Dacia Toll, co-CEO and president, Achievement First
Kay Merseth and her colleagues take readers on an insightful tour of some of the nation’s most innovative and inspiring schools. — Thomas Toch, Codirector, Education Sector
In this marvelously readable account, Kay Merseth and her team provide eye-opening portraits of five top-flight charter schools at work. Detailing just what these schools are doing when it comes to culture, staffing, organization, and instruction, the authors explore how and why these schools are succeeding. The result is a series of invaluable lessons for educators, policymakers, and reformers. — Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute