Friday, March 15, 2013

The Unfortunate Path(ology) of U.S. Charter School Policy

From Portfolios to Parasites

Bruce D. Baker
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time researching charters in my first few years after that, but eventually I did start to explore charter schooling and teacher labor markets – specifically the recruitment/retention of teachers based on different academic backgrounds – specifically college selectivity. My perspective was that some creative, energetic leadership (which might now be referred to as Cage-busting leadership) that might be associated with a mission-driven start-up school, coupled with an ounce or two of deregulation, and applied in the right context, might provide opportunities to recruit an academically talented pool of teachers. Our research largely supported these assertions.
  • Baker, B. D., & Dickerson, J. L. (2006). Charter Schools, Teacher Labor Market Deregulation, and Teacher Quality Evidence From the Schools and Staffing Survey. Educational Policy20(5), 752-778.
In recent years, however, my perception is that this whole movement has gotten way out of control – it has morphed dramatically – especially the punditry and resultant public policy surrounding charter schooling. Sadly, I’m reaching a point where I now believe that the end result is causing more harm than good.  In my view, many charter schools, and certainly the political movement of charter schooling, are no-longer operating in the public interest. In fact, they have all the incentive in the world to do just the opposite, and there is little or no sign of this turning around any time soon.
We’ve shifted dramatically, and rather quickly from what some might refer to as a portfolio model, to what I would now characterize as a parasitic one.
To access the complete research article, click here.

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