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1. The Charter School Experiment:
2. On the Journey to Open a New School:
3. Inside Urban Charter Schools:
4. Charter Schools: Moving to the
5. Charter Schools: Creating Hope
6. Taking Measure of Charter Schools:
7. Charter Schools: Hope or Hype?
8. Charter Schools in Action: Renewing
9. Stand for the Best: What I Learned
10. CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Ultimate
11. The Seven Outs: Strategic Planning
12. Upstart Startup: Creating and
13. A Public School of Your Own: Your
14. Free to Learn: Lessons from Model
15. Charter School Board University
16. Charter Schools : Everything You
17. How to Create Alternative, Magnet,
18. Successful Charter Schools
19. The Charter School Experiment:
20. Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox

1. The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications
by Christopher A. Lubienski
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-09-30)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193474266X
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Editorial Review

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In The Charter School Experiment, a select group of leading scholars sets out to survey the past, present, and future of this dynamic area of education reform. Contributors with varying perspectives on the charter movement carefully evaluate how well charter schools are fulfilling the goals originally set out for them: introducing competition to the school sector, promoting more equitable access to quality schools, and encouraging innovation to improve educational outcomes. They explore the unintended effects of the charter school experiment over the past two decades, and conclude that charter schools are entering a new phase of their development, beginning to serve purposes significantly different from those originally set out for them. ... Read more

2. On the Journey to Open a New School: One Step at a Time
by Brenda J. Travis
Paperback: 128 Pages (2005-03)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$38.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0976164906
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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On the Journey to Open a New School: One Step at a Time is a unique handbook because it offers a comprehensive, detailed review of the functional steps required to start a school. It is useful to individuals, preschool developers, and religious and other community-based organizations that wish to start private or charter schools. Through the voice of experience, readers will develop a thorough understanding of what will be involved when they embark on the journey to open a new school. From conducting initial research to determine community wants and needs, to preparing for opening day, and everything in between, this easy-to-read, motivating, and empowering handbook explains it all. This handbook is based on the author’s personal experience as a new school developer and is packed with helpful information that will help new school developers make their visions a reality. The appendix includes a list of national resources and nearly 30 key organizational and administrative sample documents that readers may modify and use accordingly.Sample documents include: vision/mission statements; research/marketing survey; location/facility identification considerations; summary of facility/space requirements; comprehensive business plan outline (including detailed personnel plan); charter school development and proposal considerations; project task list; marketing and fundraising strategies; detailed financial documents; school crisis plan, operations, faculty, and student handbook outlines; administrative forms list; curriculum overview; admissions forms; administrative and student calendars; extensive resources list; and much more! This handbook is considered a much-needed, must-have, and one of a kind resource. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thorough and Easy to Follow
I bought this book in the beginning phase of my charter school endeavor.It was clear, easy to follow, and incredibly thorough.It helps you to ask the right questions and address things in a procedure that makes sense.
I used the examples in the book to create the beginning of my own charter petition.When I eventually met and joined the California Charter School Association, they were amazed at how much groundwork I had accomplished on my own.I attribute that to this book.It showed me how to get started.
I highly recommend this book to anyone considering or starting a charter school.It gives a realistic picture of the extensive information needed to get up and running.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I found this book to be so INCREDIBLY helpful, I was amazed. It was such a good step by step guide, I really recommend it. ... Read more

3. Inside Urban Charter Schools: Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools
by Katherine K. Merseth, Kristy Cooper, John Roberts, Mara Casey Tieken, Jon Valant, Chris Wynne
Paperback: 275 Pages (2009-01-27)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$21.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1934742104
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Editorial Review

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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. ... Read more

4. Charter Schools: Moving to the Next Level
by Deb Yoder
Paperback: 100 Pages (2007-01-24)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$11.27
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Asin: 1425928714
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Editorial Review

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Charter schools are public schools that may be started by anyone willing to do the work and who can get approval from a chartering authority. Over the last ten years, charter schools have popped up all over the nation. These schools are officially public schools, but there are a few differences. Charters are the epitome of local control. They offer a much wider variety of choices to parents and students than do the traditional public schools. In their years of being directly involved in charter school teaching and administration, Deb and Judy have seen the excitement these schools have brought to education, but they have also found a few unsettling pitfalls that need to be avoided to insure charter school success. They have compiled their thoughts and experiences with the intention of publishing a book for charter school boards and principals. This book could also be of assistance to those groups that are interested in starting a charter school or joining the charter school community. Deb and Judy hope that sharing the lessons they have learned can help others to avoid some common mistakes that have been made early in the charter school movement. ... Read more

5. Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education (The Jossey-Bass Education Series)
by Joe Nathan
Paperback: 288 Pages (1998-12-29)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$6.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787944548
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"[One of] the best books on schools and schooling to cross our editors' desks this year."

--The American School Board Journal, August 1997

Award-winning former public school educator Joe Nathan draws from nationwide surveys, research, and visits to dozens of charter schools to address key questions about charter schools. Who starts these schools? What kinds of students attAnd? Are charter schools using ideas and techniques from which other schools can learn? Are these schools actually helping students? Are charter schools making an impact on the larger educational system?

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great History of Charters
I was a little leary at first because the book is so old, however, after reading it (required for a class I'm taking), I think it is super.I've learned a lot that I didn't know even though I've worked in charters for 12 years.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book thatparents and educators must read!
Charter Schools may just be the secret to better public education.In a free market economy, what works better than competition?Charter schools are forcing our public schools to work, because they are showing the public that it can be done, well, with the money that we already have out there.Read this book-- and start wondering, where does your tax money really go? ... Read more

6. Taking Measure of Charter Schools: Better Assessments, Better Policymaking, Better Schools
by Julian R. Betts
Paperback: 216 Pages (2010-05-16)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$31.45
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Asin: 1607093596
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This book breaks new ground on how policymakers and journalists can fairly assess charter school performance. The editors and authors show how good approaches to charter school assessment would also work for regular public schools, which is important because of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. ... Read more

7. Charter Schools: Hope or Hype?
by Jack Buckley, Mark Schneider
Paperback: 376 Pages (2009-07-13)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$17.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691143196
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Over the past several years, privately run, publicly funded charter schools have been sold to the American public as an education alternative promising better student achievement, greater parent satisfaction, and more vibrant school communities. But are charter schools delivering on their promise? Or are they just hype as critics contend, a costly experiment that is bleeding tax dollars from public schools? In this book, Jack Buckley and Mark Schneider tackle these questions about one of the thorniest policy reforms in the nation today.

Using an exceptionally rigorous research approach, the authors investigate charter schools in Washington, D.C., carefully examining school data going back more than a decade, interpreting scores of interviews with parents, students, and teachers, and meticulously measuring how charter schools perform compared to traditional public schools. Their conclusions are sobering.

Buckley and Schneider show that charter-school students are not outperforming students in traditional public schools, that the quality of charter-school education varies widely from school to school, and that parent enthusiasm for charter schools starts out strong but fades over time. And they argue that while charter schools may meet the most basic test of sound public policy--they do no harm--the evidence suggests they all too often fall short of advocates' claims.

With the future of charter schools--and perhaps public education as a whole--hanging in the balance, this book supports the case for holding charter schools more accountable and brings us considerably nearer to resolving this contentious debate.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Schools should not be run as businesses
Schools, prisons, hospitals, governments, and the like should not be run as businesses or following business principles.The reason is simple, most businesses fail.Business methodology more often than not leads to failure.Society should, instead prefer and follow the methods of science, engineering, and democracy. (See also my "review"/comments on the book The Dismal Science:How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community, 12 May 2008) ... Read more

8. Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education.
by Chester E. Finn, Bruno V. Manno, Gregg Vanourek
Paperback: 304 Pages (2001-10-01)
list price: US$32.95 -- used & new: US$9.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691090084
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Can charter schools save public education? This radical question has unleashed a flood of opinions from Americans struggling with the contentious challenges of education reform. There has been plenty of heat over charter schools and their implications, but, until now, not much light. This important new book supplies plenty of illumination.

Charter schools--independently operated public schools of choice--have existed in the United States only since 1992, yet there are already over 1,500 of them. How are they doing? Here prominent education analysts Chester Finn, Bruno Manno, and Gregg Vanourek offer the richest data available on the successes and failures of this exciting but controversial approach to education reform. After studying one hundred schools, interviewing hundreds of participants, surveying thousands more, and analyzing the most current data, they have compiled today's most authoritative, comprehensive explanation and appraisal of the charter phenomenon. Fact-filled, clear-eyed, and hard-hitting, this is the book for anyone concerned about public education and interested in the role of charter schools in its renewal.

Can charter schools boost student achievement, drive educational innovation, and develop a new model of accountability for public schools? Where did the idea of charter schools come from? What would the future hold if this phenomenon spreads? These are some of the questions that this book answers. It addresses pupil performance, enrollment patterns, school start-up problems, charges of inequity, and smoldering political battles. It features close-up looks at five real--and very different--charter schools and two school districts that have been deeply affected by the charter movement, including their setbacks and triumphs. After outlining a new model of education accountability and describing how charter schools often lead to community renewal, the authors take the reader on an imaginary tour of a charter-based school system.

Charter schools are the most vibrant force in education today. This book suggests that their legacy will consist not only of helping millions of families obtain a better education for their children but also in renewing American public education itself.Amazon.com Review
Few have studied the issue of charter schools for as long oras closely as Chester E. Finn Jr., Bruno V. Manno, and GreggVanourek. The product of several years of analysis and detailed casestudies, Charter Schools in Action is a comprehensive look atthe various laws, policies, and personalities that make up thisfledgling reform effort. Parents, teachers, policymakers, andespecially potential charter school owners will find the informationinvaluable. In fact, Finn, Manno--both former U.S. secretaries ofeducation--and Vanourek have so thoroughly documented their researchthat the book threatens at times to bury the reader beneath a mass offacts, figures, and graphs. Still, this is no dry tome. Interviewswith superintendents and school owners are combined with detailedfeatures of schools, students, and parents, many of which paint a rosyportrait of the program. There is no mistaking the enthusiasm andpassion these men share for charter schools--they contend that theyare one of the last hopes for renewing public education, and they wantthem to succeed. They do their best to dispel negative notions of theprogram, such as the complaint that they tend to underserve disabledchildren and that they rob funds from traditional public schools. Andwhen they do point out problems, they also offer prescriptions forhealthy change, arguing, for example, for better accountability and abuilt-in system of checks and balances. Charter Schools inAction is simply a must for anyone who seeks a solid understandingof the subject. --Jodi Mailander Farrell ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars I wish they'd release an updated version!
I did an in-depth research paper on charter schools for my college English class last semester, and I just happened to pick this book up from the library. I cannot believe how much it helped me. I usually try to stick with more recent books because I figure that since there are so many books on the subject of charter schools, I need to read the most recent ones because they're probably going to be the most applicable to the situation today. However, I'm glad that I broke that rule and read this book from 2001. I will say that the statistics on charter schools were of course completely wrong, and there is nothing in there about the Race to the Top initiative or anything else that has recently been put in place.

Despite that major drawback, this was an excellent book to read because it gave such a good foundation (for me at least) of how the charter school movement got started, where it went, and where the authors hoped to see it go in the future. It was rather depressing to read what they hoped would be in place by 2010 - we're nowhere even close, although we are closer than we were in 2001, of course.

Just as a side note: When I was doing the research for this paper, I would take small post-it notes and mark pages with interesting passages that I could quote in my paper or items that I wanted to research further. When I finished this book, I had 87 post-it notes lining the edge of the book. I think that says it all.

My only complaint is the date. Would the authors consider doing a new and updated version? I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I think this book is the gold standard in charter school books. If you want to read a book to give you great background information on the subject, make this one it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Charter School Primer
I found this to be a very helpful book as an education law student studying the construction of charter schools from a legal perspective.The authors do a good job of presenting facts and issues in a balanced manner. A fine editing job was done to avoid the pitfall of the work being completely entrenched by the writers'perspectives. This is a very thorough introduction for those not familiar with the charter school model or why it came to be. The writing is clear and succinct. MOst significantly, I actually ENJOYED reading this book as I found it to be a captivating read regarding a topic which has potential to be soporific.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book from the leader in Charter Schools
For the past 20 years, Chester Finn has been a behind the scenes and in some cases, in front of the crowd leader for most of the great education reforms that have occurred in the past 20 years. Having had the great fortune to be one of Finn's students at Vanderbilt many years ago, I have had a chance to read the plethora of great books and articles that Finn has published. This is another in that series. Don't just buy this book and The Educated Child (which apparently is a huge bestseller) go back and buy all his books. Finn is a great academic who is blessed with an ability to communicate to the common person.

Finn may talk about the education that children receive but he is the best educator a parent can ever find. We are expecting our first grandchild in a few weeks and I want my daughter to read every book that Professor Finn has written. It will ensure the success of my grandchild's future.

Don McNay...

4-0 out of 5 stars High on idealism, low on the realistic problems of the model
The Charter School model is perilously close to the idea of both ad-hoc home schooling and the distasteful voucher system now championed by many powerful groups and individuals who also seem delighted by the Charter model. Both the Charter and voucher approaches operate in two problematic ways: 1) They help further underfund already strapped inner city and rural public schools and 2) They most often shortchange teachers in the process. A third, and even more frightening threat is that these schools will soon be subject to the same ideological restrictions as the public school system (with its cruel zero-tolerance policies for both mischievous juvenile behavior and free, unregulated inquiry).

In a democracy, one is already free to start one's own independent school. There are many routes to funding such schools without picking the pockets of the much larger public school system or coming under the aegis of public school boards and their often petty bureacratic control of ideological content and democratic free inquiry. A true alternative school must come up with truly democratic and alternative means of funding. Just as there "is no such thing as a free lunch," (or perhaps their days are numbered ) there is no easy road to creating democratic alternatives for young people, particularly those who are at risk in one way or another. It takes work, commitment, and also a fundamental respect for the students and teachers who actually make the school exist and work.

From what I have read (including some horror stories of schools simply shut down by those in real authority), I cannot believe the Charter model is the right way to go. If you wish to create an independent alternative, our democracy already gives one the right to do so. To raise money by raiding the pockets of public schoolchildren and teachers is simply untenable. In a real independent alternative school, there are often teachers who sometimes are willing to work for less (for a time), but they do so entirely by force of their own idealism. At the end of the day, everyone wishes and deserves to be accorded their fair share.

RM, Ph.D.

3-0 out of 5 stars Idealistic vision but not likely...
Chester Finn's new book is said to be the best book on charter schools yet written.And in many respects, it is.He and his two co-authors have packed in statistics and numbers, and they have reported interesting interviews and sidebars from persons who have started or implemented charter schools.They remain upbeat about the ultimate outcome of charter schools, and believe that by the year 2010 we will have witnessed a proliferation of school choice in America.

I love their optimism, and I wish I could be so optimistic, too.Finn and his colleagues believe the unions will eventually accommodate to the charter schools and quit trying to kill them with thousands of small cuts.They believe that charter schools, which exemplify American inventiveness and determination, will survive the non-existent capital funding, which prevents them from building and owning their own facilities.(You do not have to have a MBA to figure out that charter school rents are paid from lower teachers' salaries.)They even believe that charter schools will eventually force, by market competition, the public schools to change.

I cannot see exactly why the unions will quit their attacks, why public authorities will open the capital facilities question, or how charter schools will avoid massive re-regulation (as in special education or bilingual education).

For these reasons, then, I think Finn and his colleagues are persuasive idealists, but I am not persuaded.Even 3,000 charter schools across the country will not change the face of public education in America.Only when parents receive vouchers will there really be a free-market change.Charter schools are just the way-station.Not bad ones, but not the revolutionary change that Finn imagines. ... Read more

9. Stand for the Best: What I Learned after Leaving My Job as CEO of H&R Block to Become a Teacher and Founder of an Inner-City Charter School
by Thomas M. Bloch
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2008-07-28)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$4.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470188960
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Thirteen years ago, Tom Bloch was CEO of H&R Block, the groundbreaking tax organization. The son of the company’s founder, he was a happily married 41-year-old executive, but something was missing from his life. After a nineteen-year career at the company, Bloch resigned his position to become a math teacher in an impoverished inner-city section of Kansas City. Stand for the Best reveals Bloch’s struggles to make a difference for his marginalized students and how he eventually co-founded a successful charter school, University Academy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars important message
This is a story that should reach all ears.For young adults, thinking about careers, this puts a different spin on what "success" means.Tom is up front about how his financial security gave him options to make choices that might be more difficult for others.At the same time, he convinces the readers that the payback for this kind of commitment is greater than a paycheck.The education of all of today's children has to be one of the most significant issues we face.With an educationed population, economys tend to be strong.Lets give some kids a chance and see what they can do.My guess is ANYTHING!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This book is both compelling and insightful.The narrative is engaging -- how many young CEO's quit million dollar a year jobs with giant family businesses (H&R Block) to teach in the inner city?!There is a lot more to this book than boy goes to work for his Dad and leaves to teach.Tom explores the hardest and deepest decisions we all have to make, and on his road to self discovery, presents quite a road map for us to follow.In doing so, he also gives the reader a view into the world of inner-city education and charter schools.Bravo - a great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Humorous, honest & hugely upbeat
What happens when you have everything, and it doesn't make you happy?Tom Bloch had a wonderful family, health,
wealth and was the CEO of his families tax preparation business.

But he decided that he could do more by being an inner city math teacher.So that is what
he became, and helped start a charter public school in Kansas City.

Whether you are an educator, parent, business person or someone thinking about your future, this is a GREAT book.
Bloch is tough on himself, recognizing that he had a strong support system.
He knows it was easier for him to walk away that it could be for others.

Bloch writes a strong defense of terrific teachers (some of whom he
describes, who he thinks should be paid a lot more money).He is explaining why the charter public school movement makes sense.

And he gently urges us to follow our heart, and to live the kind of life
that will most serve others, and make us happy.Wealth did NOT give Bloch what he wanted.

Walking away from a top corporate life, and walking into an inner city school to teach math, where he continues to
teach math, that's what added up for him.An upbeat and very encouraging book.

Joe In Minnesota

5-0 out of 5 stars Wow!
Bloch's story is very uplifting. How many people in his position would leave it all behind to try to make a difference in the world? He readily admits he could afford to do so, but he has truly walked the walk, rather than just talking about it. This book puts it all out there--his internal struggles, the path he took and what he learned along the way. He underscores the importance of the teaching profession and makes a plea for society to give it morerespect. This book will appeal to people considering a career change who aren't sure they have the courage to do it, teachers who question their significance, and just anyone who wants to be inspired.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good read -- both entertaining and thoughtful
This is a good read. Tom Bloch's personal story is riveting and he is brave enough to share some very private emotions.But this book is more than a collection of anecdotes from the classroom where backpacks leak pickle juice and children regularly lose family members to shootings. Bloch has taken a thoughtful look at the herculean challenges before America's urban teachers and the universal human challenge to find purpose and meaning in our lives.He is also brave enough to offer some suggestions for institutional improvements.Worthwhilereading for anyone worried about America's schools and its students. Knowing that the book profits will go back into teacher training makes it easy to pay the hardback price. ... Read more

10. CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents
by Karin Piper
Paperback: 262 Pages (2009-11-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$6.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932279059
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Written by a parent for parents! More than 30 chapters feature different aspects of charter schools from the perspective of a charter school mom. It also boasts a directory of award winning charter schools, plus a research guide to equip readers in pursuit of their happily education after.

The fastest growing school choice is public charter schools. It is not just moms who favor charters, the list includes dads, teachers, community members-even legislators.

Part 1 provides parents with the basic facts on charter school origins. It answers: "Why do parents choose charter schools?" The answers come directly from charter school parents.

Part 2 covers the basic structure of a charter school answering questions such as: Are charter school teachers qualified? Who attends a charter school? Who's the boss?

Part 3 answers questions about charter school functions which are often asked by incoming families. We discuss expected workload, what to wear, the difference between amenities and necessities, as well as learning services.

Part 4 is designed to help parents make a school decision, regardless of the answer. What are some of the facts you should consider? What concessions may need to be made? Is this realistic for you? Which type of charter school may be a fit? How do you enroll in a charter?

Part 5 gives a glimpse of the charter school life. How do you connect with other families? Where do you volunteer? How do you build a relationship with your child's teacher? How do you network with other charter schools?

Part 6 dives behind the scenes of charter school creation, how they are financed, and state laws.

Part 7 looks at the politics, the unions and other hot topics surrounding charter schools.

Part 8 overflows with a glossary of terms, resources and support available.

ABOUT THE AUTHORKarin Piper was born and raised in Sweden and landed in the United States through a student exchange program. She has written blogs and columns for several publications including Your Hub (Denver Post), Schools of Tomorrow (EdNews Colorado), the Examiner (Colorado Charter School Examiner) and Colorado Parenting Magazine. Along with being a mother and writer she is also a volunteer and advocate for schools and public libraries and has worked with the Douglas County Libraries, the Colorado League of Charter Schools, and a collection of area schools. She has been featured in various charter school advocacy network publications throughout the United States.

Her quest for information about Charter Schools led to her becoming an informed school choice parent and she is eager to share her tales of confusion, frustration, hilarity, and the unbeatable spirit of community partnership. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Charter Schools 101!
This book is extremely helpul in learning about charter schools!It's really Charter Schools 101!Not only does it provide basic information, it also provides worksheets for parents to do their own comparisons between schools, websites at the end of various chapters so parents can further research and investigate, and charter school links and resources all while being easy to read with humor sprinkled in here and there.A must read for parents or anyone else who wants to know about charter schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbookd for Parents
So far only half way thru the book but it's very good for those who are thinking of sending their children to a charter school but know nothing about them yet. Glad I bought it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Guide for Parents
As the parent of a young son who is close to entering elementary school, I found Karin Piper's book extremely helpful. We have been torn between public, private or a charter school, and this book helped clear-up a lot of the confusion we had about charter schools. It also prompted us to tour and interview a charter school in our area, and we are so glad we did! It will be the perfect place for our son when he starts school next year.

I've written one book about our young generation, "Millennials Incorporated", and one for them about how to be an effective young leader at work, "Millennials Into Leadership". So, aside from being a parent myself, I'm always interested to know about how education is progressing to support our next generation. And Karin's book provided great info about education in general, too (not just about Charter Schools).

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear guide for charter schools
Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (12/09)

"Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents" by Karin Piper is not only helpful and informative, but fun and interesting to read.As a new charter school administrator and former charter school teacher and board member, I was eager to learn more about the perspective of charter school parents.

The book is clearly written and offers insight into many areas of the charter school experience, from what a charter school is to how to open a school yourself.Although I already have experience with charter schools as a professional educator, I found this book to be full of helpful information.Ms. Piper also offers a delightful sense of humor throughout the book, which I think most parents will appreciate.

The resources in this book are vast, and not only is this book helpful to parents, but I found "Charter Schools" invaluable as a leader of a charter school.My goal in the near future is to open a charter school of my own, and this book offered many helpful resources for my journey.Thank you, Ms. Piper, for your hard work in gathering so much information in one easy-to-read book.

5-0 out of 5 stars CHOOSE this book
If you are at the point of considering school choices for your own children; if you want to know more about charter schools, then this is the book for you!Mrs. Piper has written a fabulously entertaining and thorough resource about charter schools, for parents.There are plenty of books on the market about charter schools, but none, that I have found, written in a friendly voice specifically for parents.

The author draws on her own knowledge as well as other parents, founders, and leaders of charter schools.The story is told from multiple perspectives, answering all the questions you might have.

This book is a long-overdue addition to the conversation on charter schools. ... Read more

11. The Seven Outs: Strategic Planning Made Easy for Charter Schools
by Brian L. Carpenter Ph.D.
Hardcover: 158 Pages (2008-09-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0978857321
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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JUST THE WORDS STRATEGIC PLANNING are enough to make some board members and school executives feel swamped. The process is usually long, boring, and largely without results unless you count a five-inch-thick vinyl notebook collecting dust on a shelf as an achievement. Don t mire your board and executive in writing a plan that is tedious, dull, and loaded with administrivia - three adjectives that could have been invented to describe the typical strategic plan. This book offers another way - The Seven Outs.

Inside, you will meet the board and executive director of Breezy Palms Charter School, a fictional school that is in trouble with its authorizer. You will gain an insiders perspective on the root causes of the schools problems, as well as an overview of The Seven Outs. The ending may surprise you.

In the second part of the book, the author unpacks The Seven Outs so that your school will have a step-by-step recipe for conducting strategic planning. Once completed, the board and executive will know what the students are to accomplish and how well they are to accomplish it, and the board will know how to evaluate the outcomes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The 7 Outs
The book is a quick and informative read on why boards exists, the strategic plan and a wonderful "how to" guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource - A Must-Read for School Leaders
This is a very well-written, insightful work that presents ideas which are being borne out through my own research into effective charter school practices.The charter schools I work with that are doing a good job with high-poverty student populations appear to be more or less following the steps Dr. Carpenter recommends.The strategies recommended in The Seven Outs are intuitive, effective and will definitely help improve school perfomance.

As someone who has been working in and around charters for the last ten years, I have not yet seen a more effective tool.

5-0 out of 5 stars Carpenter Hits Home Run with The Seven Outs
"The Seven Outs" by Dr. Brian Carpenter presents the reader with an intriguing story about leadership within Charter Schools. Following a similar writing style as Patrick Lencioni, Carpenter first invites the reader into a fable, which could be mistaken for real-life drama. As the Breezy Palms Charter School faces an unexpected hurdle, the school's recently-hired chief executive - Paul - steps up to the plate to lead this struggling school. He is able to guide the organization through a very simple, yet profound method for strategic planning: The Seven Outs. As the fable comes to a conclusion, Carpenter then provides further in-depth analysis of the Seven Outs - how to incorporate them, and why they are important. This book is a must-read for those in leadership within Charter Schools. However, Carpenter's work goes beyond usefulness for Charter Schools alone, as the principles he submits are transferrable to any organization that is serious about strategic planning. Mastering the Seven Outs will ensure that you will not be left out of the strategic planning process in your organization.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMust Read for Charter Leaders
With his latest book, Dr. Carpenter has encapsulated how to be an effective charter school leader.Those who accept the responsibilities of Board and executive leadership can truly take-away many strategic ideas and guidance from this short read.By positioning the reader, first as an observer of a hypothetical Board, then deconstructing the pitfalls of poor governance and clearly presenting effective governance principles, The Seven Outs, is an invaluable addition to a Board library. ... Read more

12. Upstart Startup: Creating and Sustaining a Public Charter School (Series on School Reform, 34)
by James Nehring
Paperback: 192 Pages (2002-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$15.40
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Asin: 0807741620
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Editorial Review

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Direct from the heart of public school reform, James Nehring offers a complete tour of one charter school-walking us through the school's vision of learning, the day-to-day challenges, the many achievements, and the lessons learned. From the unique perspective of school principal and then full-time teacher, Nehring takes us deep into the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, providing rare insight into the strategic issues involved in launching a new school. This engaging narrative is certain to add credibility and inspiration to all those who are interested in learning how charter schools operate and how public education might be renewed in the process. The message of this book is at once simple and profound: Charter schools work! ... Read more

13. A Public School of Your Own: Your Guide to Creating and Running a Charter School
by Catherine Blakemore
 Paperback: 227 Pages (1998-03)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$14.39
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Asin: 0966100913
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Editorial Review

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A practical step-by-step guide, A Public School of Your Own focuses on the establishment and operation of charter schools which meet the needs of parents, staff, and students while fulfilling legal requirements and achieving financial stability. Written for both those involved with education and those new to the field, it draws upon the experiences and insights of those already in the charter school movement. It includes a glossary, references, a resource section and an index. ... Read more

14. Free to Learn: Lessons from Model Charter Schools
by Lance T. Izumi, Xiaochin Claire Yan
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-08-31)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$14.95
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Asin: 0936488956
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Charter Schools are by nature different not just from traditional public school, but from one another. With their freedom and flexibility, some charter schools have opened doors and opportunities for poor and minority children who were previously trapped at failing campuses run by school district bureaucracies. These successful charter schools have perfected alternative models of organization management,teaching, and discipline that shatter the status-quo orthodoxy.In Free to Learn, charter principals and teachers - who often do things contrary to the public education establishment - offer hope and practical advice for the charter movement ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Book on Charter Schools
Breathtaking in its scope, dazzling in its depth, "Free to Learn" is a must-read for anyone who cares about our educational system.Whether you are a veteran in education policy or a newcomer to the field,Yan and Izumi's enthusiasm for the subject matter and cogent writing style will keep you glued to the pages.The comprehensive analysis makes it a powerful resource for educators and policymakers alike.This is simply the most articulate and best-informed book you can buy on the timely and compelling subject of charter schools.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Account of Charter School Success
Whether you're a parent, an education professional, or simply a concerned citizen, Free to Learn is a valuable resource on top-performing charter schools, and how they've raised the standards for scholastic achievement. Izumi and Yan offer a collection of compelling case studies that give hope to teachers and students still struggling under the yoke of classroom bureaucracy. The model charter schools profiled are well researched, and provide an insightful look at how breaking the public school orthodoxy with charter school reform can make a difference in the lives of children everywhere. Free to Learn was an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting study
Not being involved in education, I was pleasantly surprised to find Free to Learn very accessible and informative. Izumi and Yan write in a very engaging way, and I came out of the book knowing quite a bit about the ins and outs of charter schools. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in meeting the educational needs of our children.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and insightful analysis combined with engaging personal stories
I found Free to Learn insightful, as the authors navigate through several different charter school success stories, highlighting inefficiencies in public schools and the mechanisms that allow charter schools to more adequately handle these situations, without superfluously extolling virtue.Yan and Izumi deftly touch upon both commonalities and differences between these successful charters - emphasizing the fact that there is no "one size fits all" solution.Yet, comparisons with non-successful charters are included for a balanced viewpoint.Lastly, the personal stories of those students lives affected or the principals and teachers driving positive change give this policy book a very human feel. ... Read more

15. Charter School Board University
by Brian L. Carpenter, Ph.D.
Spiral-bound: Pages (2009-03-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$39.95
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Asin: 0978857313
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Charter School Board University is a fast-paced, no-nonsense leadership handbook that is a must read for all charter school board leaders. It provides the necessary insight to live, learn and lead in the complex world of school governance.
-Dr. Ellie Perry, Leadership for Educational Entrepreneurs, Arizona State University ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars 101 for Charter School Boards
This would be a great book for any charter school board . . . but even better for beginning charter school boards or new board members.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Resource for Charter School Boards!
Brian Carpenter's engaging voice throughout this resource manual makes it an easy read.The content is appropriate and informative for charter school board members and provides insightful and critical information in a readable, concise format - perfect for busy professionals.I have been so pleased with the book that I provide a copy to new charter petitioning groups who join my training program.It is really a wonderful resource.

Kelly Cadman
Director, Education and Training
The Georgia Charter Schools Association

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for Board Members
One of the most difficult things in being a board member is knowing what your role is and know what it isn't. This book will tell you. It will give you a clear description of the parameters of your role and what your goals should be. It will tell you what the school administration's role is and help you avoid the chaos that results when those roles collide.

Even more important, this book will show you how good governance works to provide the best academic performance for your students and the most practical and satisfying experience for you as a board member. It will look at boards that failed and make sure you don't repeat their mistakes.

While Charter School Board University is written specifically on governance of Charter Schools, the lessons are easily transferable to any governing board. How individuals can work together to make group decisions, how to nurture the board's development, and how to run efficient meetings, are part of what you will learn here. It includes exercises to see how your meetings are run now and how to improve them. It will guide you through the finances of governing and give you tools to make sure you ask the right questions to keep your board on an ethical and sound financial track.

This book is a guide for board members, new and seasoned, who seldom receive sufficient training before being handed the responsibility. In the interest of clear disclosure, I must say that I was hired to proofread this book, but that isn't why I am writing the review. I am writing this review because I have served on boards and know how difficult the process can be, no matter how good intentioned the members and administration may be. I believe this book is an excellent training manual for school board members. And despite the considerable research that went into the content, Brian Carpenter's style is informal and a pleasure to read. The format - like a school binder with chapter tabs - makes it easy to search for answers to specific questions. Charter School Board University should be required reading for all board members.

5-0 out of 5 stars perfect professional development
If you can't take your Board to hear Brian at a conference, this book is the next best thing.It is easy to use to create your own professional development for your charter school board.As a charter school board president, I have used this for my own board and require other boards to purchase it when I do their workshops.It is realistic and practical.The applications part is very helpful for further discussion.I plan my workshop around the book and add specfic local issues.I agree with all of the points that Dr. Perry made in her review and encourage you to get this book.Can't wait for the next book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Action-ready info for charter board leaders
Three cheers for Brian's introductory book for effective charter school board governance.It is so refreshing to find an author who not only is intimately familiar with the material presented, but also knows his audience so well that his writing keeps them engaged - not an easy feat for such diversity one finds on a charter school board.Brian's book is not laden with unpronounceable multi-syllable words that wear thin on the reader.Instead, it is laced with meaningful content, short chapters, light-hearted analogies, and down-to-earth practical suggestions for wisely setting policy in the charter arena.Pay particular attention to the "Application" questions at the end of each chapter.They gently move readers from the concrete to the abstract while delving deeply into what makes their own board tick and what steps they can take to improve.Also, be sure not to miss the chapter "Ways your board can get in trouble without even trying."It's a must read! ... Read more

16. Charter Schools : Everything You Need to Know to Make the Right Decision for Your Child
by Frederick A. Birkett Ed.M., Janet Tabin
Paperback: 237 Pages (2000-09-07)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761525165
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Are you seeking an educational alternative because you are dissatisfied with your child's public school? Charter schools—public schools that operate independently of the regulations governing traditional schools—are becoming increasingly popular with parents who are looking for a better education choice for their children. In fact, Congress recently appropriated $100 million to expand the number of charter schools to 3,000 by 2001.

This informative book gives you everything you need to know about charter schools—and tells you how they are redefining excellence in education. You'll be led through a step-by-step process that helps you determine whether the charter schools in your area are right for your child. You'll also discover:

How a charter school can respond to your child's unique talents
Differences between charter schools and public schools
Increased learning opportunities stemming from innovative practices and curriculum focus
And much more!

"This clear, easy-to-read handbook will help every parent find a good fit between their child's needs and a charter school. A great guide!" —Cathy Wooley-Brown, Ph.D., Coordinator, Florida charter schools

"A must-read for all parents who want to advocate excellence and
innovation in K—12 education." —John Nelsen, M.S. Ed., co-director of Oregon Charter School Service Center

"An excellent resource! Every parent should ask these questions of their child's school—charter or otherwise." —T. Richard Roberson, Jr., J.D., Mississippi Department of Education

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fred Birkett Delivers
Fred Birkett is not just writing about charter schools. He runs the first charter school in Harlem, New York. He is a committed instructional leader with hands-on knowledge about how to make charter schools work. Buy this book and take it from a pro.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that delivers its promise!
Charter Schools, by Frederick A. Birkett, is a well-written and informative guide for anyone considering an alternative solution to traditional public school education. Like the subtitle implies, the book includes "everything you need to know to make the right decision for your child." Debate over quality education (or lack thereof) in our nation's public school system is finally drawing the attention it deserves. Although my own two children are grown and have completed their schooling, I was interested in knowing what charter schools were all about. The concept, barely 10 years old, was not in existence when my sons were in school. But, what about the next generation?

To find out about this new trend in education, I searched for that one "perfect" book that could answer all my questions. Birkett's Charter Schools was the ideal choice. In a simple, straightforward manner, the author addresses everything from "what is a charter school?" to the wide range of flexibility permitted under the charter system, and the different approaches that make each facility unique. Birkett's step-by-step process of what to look for in a system that best fits your child's needs, includes: individualized instruction, class size comparison, and overall quality. In addition, he is careful not to overlook important details as transportation and before- and after-school programs. Finally, the author offers three appendixes of valuable resource material, including--basic facts and figures; state charter granting agencies, websites, publications; and, a complete list of "existing" and "newly approved" schools. I highly recommend this book to everyone interested in the subject! ... Read more

17. How to Create Alternative, Magnet, & Charter Schools That Work
by Robert D. Barr; William Parrett
Paperback: 231 Pages (1997-03-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$79.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1879639483
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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How to Create Alternative, Magnet, and Charter Schools That Work is a comprehensive review which translates three decades of research and cutting-edge developments in alternative, charter, and magnet schools into the insights and practical strategies needed for effective alternative education programming.The book addresses the differences between magnet and charter schools, reasons for their creation, frequently asked questions about alternative schools, and lists organizations that support alternative schools as well as samples of alternative schools and programs.It also presents the ten essential elements of a successful alternative school, 64 evaluation criteria for assessing a school, 15 strategies to implement in an alternative school, and 5 pitfalls to avoid. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for people trying to start an Alternative School.
I had the pleasure of attending a conference presented by the authors.It was fantastic, and we were given a copy of the book for attending. If you already have an alternative program or you are thinking about starting one,this book would be a great resource.These guys really know their stuff! ... Read more

18. Successful Charter Schools
by U. S. Department of Education
Paperback: 72 Pages (2004-12-31)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$22.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1410218597
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Twelve years after the first charter school was launched, the charter school movement is now entering its adolescence. Like many pre-teens, it’s had its share of growing pains, but I am confident that it is about to hit a growth spurt. That is because charter schools are enormously popular with their primary clients --parents and students-- and because they are starting to show promising results in terms of student achievement. The basic tenets of charter schools-give them room to be innovative, hold them accountable for results, and let parents decide if they meet the needs of their children --are perfectly aligned with the historic No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which also focuses on accountability for results in return for more flexibility, and with providing more options for parents than ever before.

One of the promises of charter schools is that they can serve as laboratories of innovation --they can be public education’s "R&D" arm. Because they have greater autonomy than traditional public schools, and since they tend to attract pioneering educators, they can try out new approaches to education that, if proven effective, can be transplanted back into the larger public education system. It is in this spirit that we highlight eight of the most successful charter schools in the United States.

These schools were chosen after an exhaustive national search. They were primarily selected because they have demonstrated success over time in boosting student achievement. Surely many more charter schools could have been identified, and these should not be considered "the best" charter schools in the nation. Nevertheless, they are among the best, and each has much to teach other charter schools --and traditional public schools-- about teaching and learning, management strategies, staff development, and many other topics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars $ 0.31 per page: expensive , but interesting
1. 75 pages
2. $22.50
3. 8 case studies: charter schools in AZ, Wash.DC, MN, GA, CA, MA, FL, and TX
4. Interesting reading for about 1.5 hours
5. I wish there was more to chew on here... ... Read more

19. The Charter School Experiment: Expectations, Evidence, and Implications
 Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-09-30)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$49.95
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Asin: 1934742678
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In The Charter School Experiment, a select group of leading scholars sets out to survey the past, present, and future of this dynamic area of education reform. Contributors with varying perspectives on the charter movement carefully evaluate how well charter schools are fulfilling the goals originally set out for them: introducing competition to the school sector, promoting more equitable access to quality schools, and encouraging innovation to improve educational outcomes. They explore the unintended effects of the charter school experiment over the past two decades, and conclude that charter schools are entering a new phase of their development, beginning to serve purposes significantly different from those originally set out for them. ... Read more

20. Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$23.50 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674008235
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Deepening disaffection with conventional public schools has inspired flight to private schools, home schooling, and new alternatives, such as charter schools. Barely a decade old, the charter school movement has attracted a colorful band of supporters, from presidential candidates, to ethnic activists, to the religious Right. At present there are about 1,700 charter schools, with total enrollment estimated to reach one million early in the century. Yet, until now, little has been known about the inner workings of these small, inventive schools that rely on public money but are largely independent of local school boards. Inside Charter Schools takes readers into six strikingly different schools, from an evangelical home-schooling charter in California to a back-to-basics charter in a black neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan. With a keen eye for human aspirations and dilemmas, the authors provide incisive analysis of the challenges and problems facing this young movement.Do charter schools really spur innovation, or do they simply exacerbate tribal forms of American pluralism? Inside Charter Schools provides shrewd and illuminating studies of the struggles and achievements of these new schools, and offers practical lessons for educators, scholars, policymakers, and parents. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Practical
I did get some good ideas from reading this book. Some parts do have unnecessary information however. Good read in general. ... Read more

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