2012 "Must-read book about K–12 education in the U.S.", Christian Science Monitor
“A spectacular book—needs to be published yesterday.”
—Deborah Meier, New York University
“Fabricant and Fine offer a compelling analysis of the promise, politics, and problems of charter schools. Their careful consideration of limited successful experiments highlights the limited sustainability of charters as a stand-alone alternative to public schools. The authors go well beyond a defense of the status quo in offering a progressive agenda to more fully realize education's democratic ideals.”
—Gary Rhoades, Professor of Higher Education, University of Arizona
“This is a very important and timely book. Fabricant and Fine present an invaluably clear, historically textured, and carefully argued account of the charter school idea and its transformation from progressive, teacher-driven experiment to corporate, neoliberal edge of the wedge against public education and the public sector writ large.”
—Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
“Michelle and Michael use research, the current flawed state of educational opportunities for underserved students, and their own knowledge and experiences to help us see that the emperor has no clothes when one truthfully examines the entire heavily funded charter school movement and the emerging privatization of public education. If you think it does not or will not affect you, please read this revealing book.”
—Barbara Fields, Executive Board Member of Black Educator Alliance of Massachusetts
This book will reset the discourse on charter schooling by systematically exploring the gap between the promise and the performance of charter schools. The authors do not defend the public school system, which for decades has failed primarily poor children of color. Instead, they use empirical evidence to determine whether charter schooling offers an authentic alternative for these children. In concise chapters, they address a series of important questions related to the recent ascent of charter schools and the radical restructuring of public education. This essential introduction includes a detailed history of the charter movement, an analysis of the politics and economics driving the movement, documentation of actual student outcomes, and alternative images of transforming public education to serve all children.
- An overview of the key issues surrounding the charter school movement.
- A reframing of the recent discourse on public school reform
- A comprehensive comparison examining the promises of charter schooling against the empirical evidence.
- An examination of how charter schools impact communities of color and larger public school systems in poor urban areas.
- An exploration of the relationships among the rapid ascendance of charter reform, economic decline, and fiscal austerity.
Michael Fabricant is a professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work and executive officer of the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare. Michelle Fine is a Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Urban Education at the Graduate Center, CUNY.