About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8456-8463
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.2289

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

CHARTER SCHOOLS- AMERICA'S WILD WEST OF EDUCATION: THE EXPANSION AND IMPACT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS ACROSS THE AMERICAN FRONTIER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

R. Haenke, S. Desai Redd

Volunteers of America (UNITED STATES)
The "Wild West" is a good metaphor for the breakthroughs charter schools have pioneered. In this analogy, "Civilization", is the established public school system which resists innovation as evidenced by visiting a local public school district classroom today to find about 25-30 students around the same age sitting in an 800 square-foot classroom and one teacher standing or sitting at a desk in the front delivering the instruction until a bell rings. This factory-model classroom may have produced civilized students to succeed in the industrialized economy, but evidence suggests it is not preparing students for success in the Information Age. 

Considering the revolutionary impact technology has had on other sectors, why haven't the established school systems harnessed the power of technological advances and made huge leaps in progress in preparing students?

The "Wild West" of chartering schools allows for the space to reconfigure instructional expertise, physical space, instructional materials, time, and technology outside of the established system to produce better outcomes for students.

Over 25 years ago, the state of Minnesota opened the first charter school in the nation. In 2016-17, there are more than 6,900 charter schools, enrolling an estimated 3.1 million students. Over the past 10 years, enrollment in charter schools has nearly tripled and more than 300 new charter public schools opened in the fall of 2016. The growth in charter school enrollment demonstrates continued parental demand for high-quality educational options.

There are several unique characteristics of charter schools that represent classical American values of freedom, choice, and responsibility. Charter schools provide an opportunity for educators, parents, and community members to design and operate publicly funded schools that meet unique needs of students outside of the traditional, geographically designed public school system. Depending on each state's law, charter schools can have a wide range of autonomy and freedom to develop innovative and responsive educational structures and programs. Parents have more choices for "free and public education." The growth of the movement demonstrates the public appeal of charter schools. In exchange for this creative freedom, charter schools typically have more accountability for student academic results.

Despite the public appeal of charter schools, they are not immune from controversy. Different states have much different approaches to charter school growth and oversight. Depending on each state's law, the number of charters can be limited and the oversight of charters can vary wildly. Therefore, charter schools are truly representative of the "Wild West" of education. Some want unlimited growth and choices. Some want slow, deliberate, and limited growth. Some want more oversight and accountability. Some want less. Some fear charters will dismantle the traditional public school system. Some embrace the freedom and choice as an American birthright.

In this session, the presenters will share examples of breakthroughs in public education that the entrepreneurial spirit of charter school pioneers have produced as well as some of the showdowns and failures along the way that shape perceptions of the heroes and villains of the wild west of American education - charter schools.
@InProceedings{HAENKE2017CHA,
author = {Haenke, R. and Desai Redd, S.},
title = {CHARTER SCHOOLS- AMERICA'S WILD WEST OF EDUCATION: THE EXPANSION AND IMPACT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS ACROSS THE AMERICAN FRONTIER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.2289},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.2289},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {8456-8463}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Haenke AU - S. Desai Redd
TI - CHARTER SCHOOLS- AMERICA'S WILD WEST OF EDUCATION: THE EXPANSION AND IMPACT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS ACROSS THE AMERICAN FRONTIER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.2289
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 8456
EP - 8463
ER -
R. Haenke, S. Desai Redd (2017) CHARTER SCHOOLS- AMERICA'S WILD WEST OF EDUCATION: THE EXPANSION AND IMPACT OF CHARTER SCHOOLS ACROSS THE AMERICAN FRONTIER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 8456-8463.
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