(Springfield, Ill.) The most significant development in American public education over the past fifteen years has been the advent of charter schools. There are more than 4,000 charter schools operating nationwide. Some states are home to hundreds of charter schools. Illinois is lagging far behind.
There are only 35 charter schools in Illinois, enrolling less than one percent of all Illinois schoolchildren. These are pitifully low numbers, considering the demand for charter schools in the state. Waiting lists thousands of names long and recent polling suggest that charters could – and should – be allowed to serve a much larger number of students. That need can be addressed only if policy changes are made in Springfield.
A December 2007 poll, co-sponsored by the Illinois Policy Institute, shows that 23 percent of Illinoisans would prefer to send their children to charter schools if they had the choice. Only 19 percent would prefer to send their children to traditional public schools.3 Compare that to the fact that nearly 90 percent of Illinois school children are enrolled in traditional public schools – because they have no other choice.
In order to meet demand and accommodate 23 percent of Illinois' 2.3 million school children, the number of charter schools in the state would need to increase 30-fold, to more than 1,000 schools.4 In order to merely accommodate the students currently on waiting lists to enroll in one of Illinois' existing charter schools, the number of charter schools in the state will need to double.
However, far from taking action to see that Illinoisans have access to the schooling options they clearly desire, lawmakers have continued to limit (and have occasionally sought to undermine) the growth of charter schools in Illinois. As a result, for most parents in the state, the option to choose a charter public school is simply not available.
Since Illinois' charter school law was passed in 1996, state lawmakers have maintained a series of artificial and unnecessary caps on the total number of charter schools permitted to open in communities throughout Illinois. Statewide, the cap on charter schools is placed at 60. Additional regional caps limit the number of charter schools that can open downstate, in the collar counties, and within Chicago. Downstate Illinois and suburban Chicago are each limited to 15 charter schools, while Chicago is limited to 30.
Chicago Public Schools, under the guidance of Mayor Richard M. Daley, has proven eager to open charter schools. Data shows that parents and students are benefiting tremendously from charters, which clearly outperform comparable public schools in the city. More than 10,000 families are presently on waiting lists to enroll their children in one of Chicago's charter schools, and CPS officials have expressed a desire to open more in order to meet this demand.5 State law is preventing them from doing so, and is thus preventing charter schools from opening in many of the city's (and the state's) neediest neighborhoods.
Throughout the rest of Illinois, authorizing procedures have kept many innovative educators from opening charter schools, and have likely dissuaded countless others from attempting to do so. In mid-sized and rural communities, the politics of public schooling all but guarantees that any charter application will be denied by local authorities. Local authorities have been granted near total control over whether a charter can be granted in downstate Illinois or suburban Chicago.
Enabling more charter schools to open in Illinois would benefit thousands upon thousands of families in desperate search of a quality public education. Lifting any and all caps would cost taxpayers little more than the ink required to re-write the current, flawed statute. Allowing multiple authorities to issue charters would stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Illinois amongst community members and educators eager to reform public education. Polling shows that charter schools are truly in demand. Lawmakers should lift the caps and allow additional authorizers so that parents and students can have access to top-notch, quality education throughout the state.
Charter Schools in Illinois: What Makes a Charter?
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit organizations.
They are granted the freedom to experiment and innovate in exchange for increased accountability. If a charter school in Illinois performs poorly, local school districts have the ability to close it down. Thus, charter schools are more accountable to local and state officials than typical Illinois public schools.
Charter schools are more accountable to parents as well. Families must opt into charter schools, and they have the ability to opt out. If too few parents agree to enroll their children in a given charter school, that school is forced to close.
Enterprising charter school operators in Illinois have been willing to take these risks in order to form new schools that are tailored to meet the needs of a given community. Here are a few examples:
- KIPP Ascend Charter School in Chicago is a middle school that accepts students from the most challenging of backgrounds. KIPP holds a nine-hour school day, with classes often meeting on the weekends and over the summer.
- Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake centers its curriculum on the Earth's environment, and was recently recognized as one of America's best charter schools.
- The Chicago Virtual Charter School offers a unique home-based curriculum delivered primarily via the internet, with science instruction delivered at a brick-and-mortar campus in Chicago's West Loop.
- Ball Charter School in Springfield is an elementary school that develops an individualized "learning continuum" for every student and does not issue grades. Student advancement is based on mastery at each subject level.
- The Chicago International Charter School enrolls 6,450 students at 11 campuses. It is one of the nation's largest public schools.
Besides being unique in their respective approaches to schooling, every charter school in Illinois is a school of choice: unlike typical public schools, a charter school is attended only by students whose families have voluntarily enrolled them in that particular school. At any time, for any reason, parents can withdraw their children from a charter school and send them elsewhere – to their assigned neighborhood school, or to a private school.
Furthermore, charter schools receive public funding based upon the number of students enrolled in that school (again, unlike typical public schools). Thus, charter schools must work to attract and retain students in order stay afloat financially. These competitive pressures, combined with increased measures for accountability, have made Illinois' charter schools into an impressive new crop of public schools.
Illinois Charter School Performance
Research has shown the benefits that charter schools have brought to public education in Illinois. A forthcoming study by Harvard researcher Francis Shen and Brown professor Kenneth Wong examined the performance of Illinois charter schools between 2001 and 2005. They found that charter schools, when they first open, perform much the same as regular public schools. However, by the end of their fifth year of operation, 78 percent of charter schools outperform typical public schools with comparable student populations. In Illinois, charter schools appear to continually improve over time.6
Chicago Public Schools, using different methodology, reported much the same experience when studying charter schools—student performance in Chicago charter schools rose sharply between 2002 and 2006.7 Moreover, during the 2005-2006 school year, city charter schools outperformed comparable, neighborhood public schools on 79 percent of "relative student performance measures."8 Altogether, Chicago's charter schools are producing fantastic results, and stories from the individual school level are just as heartening.
When students enter KIPP Ascend Charter School on Chicago's West Side, they test at the 34th percentile in mathematics, on average, and at the 22nd percentile in reading. As a middle school, KIPP Ascend has only four years to affect a turnaround in student performance. Yet, by the time KIPP students complete the eighth grade, they test on average at the 79th percentile in mathematics and at the 56th percentile in reading – respective improvements of 45 and 34 percentage points.9
A 2004 study by Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby found that CICS cut in half the achievement gains between their students – largely minority, economically disadvantaged students – and students from more affluent communities.10
In suburban Grayslake, Prairie Crossing Charter School was named one the nation's best charter schools by the Center for Education Reform. The D.C.-based organization lauded Prairie Crossing's academic achievements and was especially impressed with the charter school's "innovative curriculum that uses an ecological, integrated, experimental approach to learning [in order] to develop students who demonstrate environmental stewardship and global citizenship."11
In the state's capital city, Springfield Ball Charter School has outperformed district averages every year since it first opened in 1998.12
In Decatur, Robertson Charter School serves as an excellent example of how a community can open a charter school to meet the challenges of urban schooling, using its flexibility to adapt to student needs and to address unforeseen setbacks. Robertson serves a disproportionately high number of disadvantaged students: Ninety-two percent of students enrolled at Robertson are classified as low income, compared to a district-wide average of 65 percent.13
During its first five years of operation, Robertson performed at or below the district average on combined measures of performance for 'low-income students.' Both the district and the charter school were displeased with Robertson's 'average' performance, and quickly made administrative and curriculum changes – something that traditional public schools are unable to do.14
When Robertson signed a renewed charter agreement with the Decatur school board in 2006, both school and district officials agreed that if Robertson again failed to meet NCLB achievement targets, the school could be closed at any time. Furthermore, reasoned school officials, if Robertson failed to provide a superior education to other schools in the Decatur area, parents would no longer opt to enroll their children there. In the two years since that time, after making the flexible curriculum and administrative changes unique to charter schools, Robertson has made impressive yearly improvements in student learning and enrollment has climbed by more than 53 percent.15
Charter School Funding: Efficient and Effective
Robertson, Prairie Crossing and Ball charter schools are three examples of how downstate communities have used charter schooling to address the unique needs of their student populations. They are also examples of how charter schools can be an efficient alternative to public schools. The three schools were the subject of a recent fiscal analysis by the Civic Federation, which sought to assess the costs of charter schooling.
In Illinois, local school districts are responsible for funding charter public schools. Funds are dispersed on a per pupil basis, with special education and some support services often provided in kind by the host district. For the most part, far from burdening district-run public schools financially, charter schools in Illinois appear to have a neutral or, more likely, a beneficial financial impact.
In its 2007 analysis of the fiscal impact of Robertson, Prairie Crossing and Ball charter schools, the Civic Federation found that "the diversion of charter school funds did not compromise school districts' abilities to manage their financial obligations" and that "school choice was worth [any costs incurred by] those districts that value choice." Furthermore, the Civic Federation report suggested, charter schools in Decatur, Grayslake and Springfield may actually be getting a raw deal from the local districts when it comes to funding, while outperforming their better-funded neighbors – a trend common in charter school finance across the country.16
The Civic Federation report is the most recent in a series of studies that have examined the fiscal impact of charter schools on their host districts. Past studies have demonstrated a lack of parity (i.e. inequity) between the funding of district-run schools and charter schools in Illinois. Most prominent among those was a report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which found that during the 2002-2003 school year, "Illinois charter schools received 23 percent less funding than district schools" – a per pupil difference of $2,023.17 As mentioned, when looking at data from the following year and examining the finances of individual schools, the Civic Federation reached similar conclusions.
In 2004, funds sent to Ball Charter School in Springfield accounted for 1.4 percent of the district's total K-12 operating expenses, despite the fact that Ball enrolls 2.4 percent of all district students. Similarly, in Decatur, funds sent to Robertson Charter School accounted for 0.9 percent of the district's total K-12 operating expenses, despite the fact that Robertson enrolls 1.3 percent of all district students.18
In Grayslake, Civic Federation researchers were able to directly compare district spending on students in regular public schools to district spending on students enrolled in Prairie Crossing Charter School, which enrolls students from both Freemont District 79 and Woodland District 50. During the 2003-2004 school year, average per pupil spending in District 79 was $8,304; in District 50, it was $8,514. During the same year, Prairie Crossing spent $6,614 per pupil – equivalent to 79.6 percent of per pupil spending in Freemont schools or 77.6 percent of per pupil spending in Woodland.19
Research by the Fordham Institute shows that the funding of Chicago's charter schools is significantly below the average funding of the city's other public schools. During the 2003-2004 school year, "Chicago's charter schools…received approximately 23 percent less funding than the Chicago Public School district: $6,847 vs. $8,907 per pupil, a gap of $2,060." In Chicago, as elsewhere, not only do charter public schools outperform regular public schools, they do so at discounted rate to taxpayers.
Regardless of whether charter schools should receive a greater share of public funding in the future, it is clear that charter schools have proven to be a bargain thus far. For 77 cents on the dollar, charter schools in Illinois are largely outperforming comparable public schools. Their success is proof positive that principals can efficiently respond to the choices of parents and the needs of students when funds arrive at the school as cash with few strings attached. Choice, competition and deregulation are working together to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public schooling in Illinois.
Stuck at Square One: Charter School Caps and Bureaucratic Pushback
Despite the fact that charter schools in Illinois outperform comparable public schools, and despite the fact that charter schools are more efficient than typical public schools, lawmakers in Springfield have done little to spur charter school growth. In fact, some lawmakers have sought to halt the growth of charter schools altogether. This simply cannot persist if Illinois is to have a world-class system of public education.
Since Illinois' charter school law was created in 1996, lawmakers in Springfield have imposed a series of unnecessary regulations and arbitrary caps that prohibit many of Illinois' neediest communities from opening new charter schools.
State law caps the number of charter schools allowed to operate in Illinois at sixty. Smaller caps serve to further constrain charter school growth and all but guarantee that the statewide limit cannot be met. As a result, thousands upon thousands of families are on waiting lists to enroll their children in one of Illinois' charter schools. "One might be willing to accept this pent-up demand if charter school caps, or the debate over them, were addressing the greater concern of charter school quality. But this is not the case," writes Andrew Rotherham, co-director of the D.C.-based think tank Education Sector. "Statutory caps as they exist now are too blunt a policy instrument to sufficiently address quality."20
The caps on charter schools in Illinois clearly stand in the way of educational progress, especially in Chicago. "The most encouraging development in public education in Chicago in recent years has been the growth in the number of charter schools, located primarily in the poorest areas of the City," notes the Commercial Club of Chicago. "Thousands of economically disadvantaged, minority parents have recognized the superiority of the charters and have lined up to enroll their children, creating long waiting lists."21
Despite this fact, state law caps the number of charter schools in Chicago at 30. That cap – and every other regional cap on charter schools in Illinois – should be lifted.
Outside of Chicago, local school districts stand sovereign over the number of charter schools allowed to open within district lines. Unsurprisingly, this has kept the number of charter schools relatively low throughout the collar counties and downstate Illinois. Other states, recognizing the inherent conflicts of interest between small districts and charter schools, have created alternative authorizers. As recently as last year, the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune recommended that Illinois do the same: "Where [Illinois] school districts have resisted charter applications, the state should allow other local institutions, such as universities, to step in. Let them set up charter schools so parents have a choice."22
Allowing additional authorizers would prevent the current roadblocks that face potential charter schools. "States that grant universities the ability to [authorize] charter schools tend to enjoy a robust charter school movement where the resources of higher education are brought to bear on K-12 problems through high standards of accountability, technical assistance and additional oversight," according to the Center for Education Reform. "Charter Schools grow and flourish in environments that provide multiple ways for groups to obtain charters to open schools."23
Just as Illinois now allows a variety of organizations to operate charter schools, so too should it allow a variety of institutions to authorize charter schools. Doing so will speed the growth of charter schools and improve the quality of public education in Illinois.
Chicago: Long Waiting Lists, Arbitrary Caps
In Illinois, more than 10,000 families are on waiting lists to enroll their children in a charter school. Most of those families live in Chicago.
Charter schools in Chicago have higher test scores, higher attendance rates and higher graduation rates than comparable neighborhood schools. Chicago Public Schools recently reported that
"consistent increases in student achievement and decline in the achievement gap are clear evidence that charter schools are providing students with quality education supported by innovative classroom instruction."24 Simply put, Chicago's charter schools are helping to turn around a school system that was once considered by many to be the worst in the nation.
Sadly, after the new Amandla Charter School opens on Chicago's South Side in Fall of 2008, CPS will be prohibited from opening any additional charter schools. State law permits Chicago to operate only thirty charter schools, and Amandla has received Chicago's thirtieth and final charter. Signed in 1996 by Governor Jim Edgar, Illinois' original charter school law allowed Chicago to host only fifteen charter schools, a threshold that was quickly met. In 2003, in response to a public demand from CPS for more charters, that cap was doubled to its current limit of thirty. Five years later, the number of charter schools allotted to Chicago has once again proven insufficient.
Chicago parents and school district officials cannot get enough of these innovative, new, safe public schools—so much so that another incremental increase of fifteen or even thirty would likely prove insufficient to meet current demand. In order to merely accommodate the 10,000 children currently on waiting lists to enroll in one of Chicago's charter schools, CPS would likely require an additional 40 charters.25
Moreover, other indicators show that public demand for charter schools in Chicago may be much higher than even waiting lists suggest. Polling data show that one in four Chicagoans would prefer to enroll their children in charter schools if the option were available.26 In order to accommodate one in four Chicago schoolchildren, the number of charter schools in the city would have to grow to nearly 200.27
State law should be changed to allow them to do so. "The effects of generations of poverty and discrimination on academic achievement are formidable," wrote the Civic Committee in December 2006, but "Chicago's charter schools have proven that these effects need not be irreversible."28
Lawmakers in Springfield should immediately eliminate the cap blocking more of these innovative schools from opening in Chicago—as well as in the rest of the state.
Downstate and Suburban Communities: Bureaucratic Roadblocks
There are 22 unused charters outside of Chicago. This does not, however, reflect a lack of desire amongst families to enroll their children in a charter public school. It does reflect Illinois state regulations which effectively prevent charter schools from opening in small and mid-sized school districts.
Polling numbers from the aforementioned public opinion survey suggest that 20 to 25 percent of downstate and suburban residents would prefer, above all other schooling options, to enroll their children in charter schools. When asked "If it was your decision and you could select any type of school, what type of school would you select in order to obtain the best education for your child?", 22 percent of central Illinois respondents said that they would choose charter schools, as did 24 percent of respondents from both southern Illinois and (non-Chicago) northern Illinois.29 In addition, the data indicate that the majority of residents would prefer charters to regular public schools. This, despite the fact that relatively few residents in rural and downstate Illinois currently live near a charter school.
The power to authorize charter schools in Illinois rests largely with school districts. In suburban, rural and downstate communities, local bureaucratic resistance has made it especially difficult to open a charter public school.
Charter schools, by their very nature, compete for students who would otherwise be enrolled in district-run schools. Local special interest groups are often reluctant to compete with innovative, new public schools. Those same special interest groups are well-represented on local school boards. Thus, reports the Center for Education Reform, "school boards are often unable or unwilling to have fair and impartial processes to vet charter schools."30
Predictably, in Illinois, most applications to open a charter school are denied by local school officials. Although an appeals process exists, history has shown that it is all but guaranteed that a proposed school will never open after a local school district denies its charter application.
In Illinois if a charter proposal is denied by a local school district, applicants may appeal to the Illinois State Board of Education for approval. However, ISBE has been reticent to use its power to grant charters on appeal. Since the state board was given the authority to overrule local school boards, 23 applicants have appealed a district's decision to deny them a charter. On only two occasions has ISBE has overruled a decision by a local district.31
While quality control is important when deciding who can and cannot open a charter public school in Illinois – certainly, not every charter application should be approved - ISBE's denial of 91 percent of charter applications demonstrates an extremely high level of deference to local board decisions.
Ironically, the appeals process was created to dilute the power that school districts once held over charter school expansion in Illinois. Before 1998, no appeal process existed at all. However, due to ISBE's reluctance to overturn local rulings, the power to authorize charter schools remains primarily with local school officials, who can hardly be described as impartial in the chartering process.
As a result, few charter schools have managed to open outside of Chicago (where the school system is accountable to the mayor as opposed to an independent school board). Almost certainly, more charter schools would open in downstate Illinois if universities and mayors were allowed to become charter school authorizers, or if the state was to create independent chartering authorities. Nationwide, states with a larger variety of charter school authorizers have a greater number of charter schools: 80 percent of the nation's charter schools are located in states with multiple authorizers.32
Illinois' reliance upon local school boards runs contrary to national trends in charter school authorizing. According to a 2005 report published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 55 percent of the nation's charter schools were granted their charters by authorizers other than local school districts.33 If Illinois' original charter school law had allowed multiple authorizers to grant charters, and if those authorizers had issued charters a rate comparable to non-district authorizers in other parts of the country, the number of charter schools in Illinois would be roughly double what it is today. In all likelihood, most of that growth would have taken place outside of Chicago; downstate and suburban Illinois would have exhausted the number of schools allotted to them by Illinois, as Chicago has done.
A report from Education Sector reads, "state charter laws that allow only local school boards to authorize charters can result in very few charter schools in that state."34 Illinois finds itself in that category – which is something that must change. Once changes are made to the law, Illinois will see the successes of its small charter school experiment expand. According to the Center for Education Reform, "states that have multiple authorizers are not only more likely to foster growth, but quality growth."35
Today, most charter applications in downstate Illinois and suburban Chicago are denied by local school boards. This hostile attitude towards charter schools has certainly resulted in numerous potentially successful schools being denied entry to the educational marketplace. But, perhaps worse, it has dampened the entrepreneurial spirit of educators and community members, discouraging them from initiating the chartering process in the first place.
Under the state's current system of charter authorizing, few entrepreneurial educators are willing to step forward and attempt to open a charter school in downstate Illinois or suburban Chicago. The odds of approval are simply stacked against them, and merely creating a plan for a successful charter school is an expensive endeavor. Prospective charter school founders, as Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom aptly illustrate, "need to design a school [and develop a plan to] secure start-up capital, find a facility, negotiate a lease, buy books, computers, and supplies, locate vendors who will provide cafeteria and other services, solve transportation problems, meet a payroll before school even officially opens, gain trust in the community…and recruit students."36
In downstate Illinois and suburban Chicago, it's all but guaranteed that those efforts will be for naught. Social entrepreneurs are more likely to stick with the status quo of public education which, simply put, is failing tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Illinois schoolchildren every year.
Changing the status quo will require legislative action in Springfield. Fortunately, the most effective proposition is one that will come at no cost to taxpayers. Lawmakers should enable more charter schools to open in downstate Illinois and in the collar counties by creating multiple charter authorizers. Upon doing so, they should eliminate the regional caps on charter schools before those caps can stall further the expansion of choice and innovation in Illinois public education.
Illinois' charter schools outperform comparable public schools in the state. On average, they are far more efficient than regular public schools. For these reasons alone, lawmakers should see that more charter schools are allowed to open in Illinois, changing the laws that currently stifle charters across the state.
School performance, polling data, waiting lists, and experiences in other states suggest that the demand for charter schools in Illinois requires a much larger supply than law currently allows.
Thus, it should be a top priority for lawmakers to:
- Eliminate the cap on the number of charter schools permitted to open in Chicago.
- Allow multiple authorizers to issue charters and to monitor those charter schools after they open.
- Eliminate any remaining regional caps on charter schools.
- Eliminate the statewide cap as well.
Charter schools are proof positive that choice, competition, and deregulation work to create better schools. Lawmakers have piled mandate on top of mandate for decades, spending good money after bad, in an attempt to improve public schooling in Illinois. It's time to move in another direction—a direction that has proven successful. It's time for Illinois to have more charter schools.
1 Center For Education Reform
2 Illinois Network of Charter Schools
3 DiPerna, Paul. "Illinois' Opinion on K-12 Education and School Choice." Published by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation. December 2007.
4 The average enrollment at an Illinois charter school is approximately 500 students. If 23 percent of Illinois schoolchildren attended charter schools, charter school enrollment in the state would be approximately 530,000. In order to serve that number of students, at 500 students per charter school, Illinois would require 1,060 charter schools -28.6 times the number of charter schools that are currently operating in state.
5 Illinois State Board of Education. "Illinois Charter School Annual Report: 2008."
6 Wong, Kenneth K. and Francis X. Shen. 2007. Working Paper: "Assessing Charter School Performance in Illinois: A Pilot Study Using Error-Band Analysis." Published by the National Center for School Choice.
7 Office of New Schools, Chicago Public Schools. "Charter Schools: 2005/2006 Annual Performance Report."
9 "KIPP Annual Report Card." Published by the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) in April 2007.
10 Walberg, Herbert J., 2007. "School Choice: The Findings." Published by the Cato Institute.
11 Center for Education Reform. "National Charter Schools of the Year: 2007"
12 "The Financial Impact of Charter Schools on Illinois School Districts: a Primer and Three Case Studies." Published by the Civic Federation, July 2007.
13 Illinois Interactive Report Card
14 Civic Federation.
15 Illinois Interactive Report Card
16 See: note 11.
17 Speakman, Sheree and Bryan Hassel. 2005. "Charter School Funding: Inequity's Next Frontier." Published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
20 Rotherham, Andrew. 2007. "Smart Charter School Caps." Published by Education Sector.
21 "Facing Facts: A Report of the Civic Committees Task Force on Illinois State Finance." Published by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, December 2006.
22 "Five More Great Ideas for the Classroom." Editorial. Chicago Tribune, February 7, 2007.
23 "Multiple Authorizers in Charter School Reform: A Primer." The Center for Education Reform.
24 Office of New Schools. See: note 7.
25 Charter schools, on average, enroll 500 students. In order to accommodate the 10,000+ students on waiting lists, thenumber of charter schools in Chicago would need to grow by 40 schools.
26 DiPerna. See: note 3.
27 With an average enrollment size of 500 students, the number of charter schools in Chicago would need to grow to nearly 200 schools in order to serve 100,000 students (roughly one quarter of the population of school-aged children in the city).
28"Facing Facts." See: note 20
29 DiPerna, Paul.
30 "Multiple Authorizers" see: note 22.
31 "Financial Impact." See: note 11.
32 "Multiple Authorizers." See: note 22.
33 Vanourek, Gregg. State of the Charter Movement 2005: Trends ,Issues, & Indicators 2005. Published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
34 Mead, Sara and Andrew Rotherham. 2007. "A Sum Greater Than the Parts: What States Can Teach Each Other About Charter Schooling." Published by Education Sector.
35 Allen, Jeanne and Shaka Mitchell, eds. 2006. "Raising the Bar on Charter School Laws: 2006." Published by the Center for Education Reform.
36 Thernstrom, Abigail and Stephan. 2003. "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning." New York. Simon & Schuster.