The race for Washington, DC public schools to "catch-up" : are charter schools a viable means?
Michaels, Katie Emelia.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. The District of Columbia, which currently holds the second strongest of the nation's 41 charter laws, has over 56 public charter schools serving the needs of elementary, middle, and high school students. Dissatisfaction on a number of levels with the quality of a DC public education brought about this changing public school environment. In the past decade, there has been an increasing demand for charters by families, teachers, and students.; As a point of reference to gauge the success of charter schools, schools from states with the strongest charter laws are evaluated. Much is to be inferred from an analysis of the high achieving schools in these regions. For the purpose of this thesis, the District of Columbia is the focus.; This study offers a summary of the common values that constitute successful schools, incorporating policy recommendations for improved Washington, DC public schools. Test scores are just one of many factors that define a successful school. Teacher quality, curriculum, teaching methodology, school leadership, professional environment, and discipline systems are just a few of the many other attributes that impact a school's ability to educate its students. Three case studies of high performing Washington, DC charter middle schools reveal the most prominent trends amongst the model charters. These are determined to be goal based academic instruction, a longer school day, and character education programs.; Successful charter schools provide a valuable education to students, and are expanding to the point where they may eventually outnumber public schools. There is a great need to facilitate collaboration among charter schools and between charter schools and traditional public schools to initiate these attributes and values. Across the city, improved school models based on these recommendations may ensure higher graduation rates and college attendance for DC public school students, leading to more successful futures. The growth of successful charter schools should compel public schools to improve in order to sustain the quality of our nation's public education system.
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