Innovative Environments or Same Old–Same Old?

By Raymond Dagenais

The Charter School Movement has entered into its third decade of existence. It is reported to be serving more than 2 million students in 41 states and the District of Columbia.  These schools were conceived to be incubators of innovation.  Current research finds that charters’ performance varies widely by operator, by geography, and by school philosophy.

As stated in the EdWeek article, “Studies Find Charters Vary in Quality, Creativity,” “There certainly are innovative charter schools,” said Kevin G. Welner, the director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, “but there are others that are not. What takes place in the classroom at a charter school can look the same as any other classroom—and usually does.”

Ongoing research is focused on determining those factors that earmark successful charter schools.

What should be the role of Charter Schools in the American educational landscape?

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