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Better Research Needed on the Impact of Charter Schools

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Science  13 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6065, pp. 171-172
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205418

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Charter schools have been promoted as a solution to what many view as the public school malaise in the United States. Charter schools, although publicly funded, can operate fairly independently of large district bureaucracies and teacher unions, for instance, by setting their own curriculum and teaching methods and by avoiding the system that grants the most senior teachers first choice of job openings, regardless of their classroom effectiveness. Proponents hope that the semi-independent governance structure of charters will encourage these schools to generate fresh ideas. President Obama has followed Presidents Bush and Clinton in identifying charter schools as a key element of school reform.

  • * R. C. Atkinson is President Emeritus of the University of California and former Director of the National Science Foundation.

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