Choices and Challenges

Choices and Challenges Charter School Performance in Perspective

Priscilla Wohlstetter, Joanna Smith, and Caitlin C. Farrell, foreword by Michael W. Kirst
cloth, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-542-8
Price: $49.95

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Pub. Date: March 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-543-5
paper, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-541-1
Price: $29.95

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As charter schools enter their third decade, research in this key sector remains overwhelmingly contradictory and confused. Many studies are narrowly focused; some do not meet the standards for high-quality academic research. In this definitive work, Wohlstetter and her colleagues isolate and distill the high-quality research on charter schools to identify the contextual and operational factors that influence these schools’ performances.


Choices and Challenges serves a broad audience—scholars, practitioners, and the general public—that follows education issues. It offers valuable guidance for policy makers concerning charter issues, but does not presume to recommend what decisions should be made. I know I will find it an invaluable resource in my role as a state official. — From the foreword by Michael W. Kirst, president, California State Board of Education, and professor emeritus, education and business administration, Stanford University

A thoughtful and concise overview of the critical issues facing the charter sector. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in research on charters, while raising the right set of questions for taking the research to the next level. — Nina Rees, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Unlike the partial and partisan literature that dominates this field, Wohlstetter and her colleagues take a dispassionate look at what we do and don’t know about the nature and performance of charter schools. They point to the complexity and diversity of charter schools and stress the need to take this into account when evaluating the sector’s successes and failures. We urgently need similarly nonpartisan reviews of the research evidence on other recent reforms in the U.S. and other countries. — Geoff Whitty, professor, director emeritus, Institute of Education, University of London

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About the Authors

Priscilla Wohlstetter is distinguished research professor in the department of education policy and social analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University, and a senior research fellow with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

Joanna Smith is an assistant research professor at USC’s Rossier School of Education and assistant director of the Center on Educational Governance.

Caitlin C. Farrell is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Table of Contents

Other books in Charter Schools

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools

Peter Frumkin, Bruno V. Manno, and Nell Edgington, foreword by Frederick M. Hess

Other books in Charter Schools

School Choice and School Improvement

Edited by Mark Berends, Marisa Cannata, and Ellen B. Goldring

Other books in Charter Schools

The Charter School Experiment

Edited by Christopher A. Lubienski and Peter C. Weitzel, foreword by Jeffrey R. Henig

Books From This Author