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Pandora revisited

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Title:
Pandora revisited manifest and latent outcomes of Colorado charter school legislation
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Huston, Priscilla Ann
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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xiii, 428 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Charter schools -- Law and legislation -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Charter schools -- Evaluation -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Charter schools -- Evaluation ( fast )
Charter schools -- Law and legislation ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Thesis:
Educational leadership and innovation
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Priscilla Ann Huston.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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ocm44075798
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Full Text
PANDORA REVISITED:
MANIFEST AND LATENT OUTCOMES
OF COLORADO CHARTER SCHOOL LEGISLATION
by
Priscilla Ann Huston
B.A., University of Michigan at Flint, 1975
M.A.T., Oakland University, 1978
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
1999


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Priscilla Ann Huston
has been approved
by
Richard Ginsberg


Huston, Priscilla Ann (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Pandora Revisited:
Manifest and Latent Outcomes of Colorado Charter School Legislation
Thesis directed by Professor Rodney Muth.
ABSTRACTS
In Colorado, as is the case nationwide, education and choice have become
synonymous. Families have long been able to choose between public and private
schools. While families subscribing to private education have not been limited by
geographic constraints, public school attendance historically has been determined by.
the location of ones residence. This no longer remains the case. Due to legislation
enacted by the Colorado Legislature, public-school families are now able to select the
school they wish to attend within their home district or in a neighboring district,
provided space is available. In addition, juniors and seniors in high schools are able to
attend a local college or university and may obtain high school and college credit for
their course work. Following the lead of Minnesota and California, the Colorado
Legislature also adopted a charter school policy allowing educators or non-educators to
implement a school more to their liking.
In the establishment of Colorado choice policies, various manifest or intended
outcomes of the policies have been realized. It is also true that many latent or
unintended outcomes have resulted. As with many educational policies, directed
toward similar ends, elements of the laws on intra-district choice, interdistrict choice,
postsecondary options, and charter schools have become inexorably intertwined. For
this reason, some information on each of these choice policies has been included in the
body of this text. However, it is the manifest and latent outcomes of charter school
HI


legislation that are most thoroughly reviewed. The effects of the legislation with
reference to the public school system are also addressed.
A review of national, state, and local charter school data pave the way for an in-
depth case study of the outcomes and effects of charter legislation on one Colorado
school district. Data were obtained from various sources including city demographic
information, district publications, local newspaper articles, board meeting minutes,
interviews, observations, and personal communications with constituents.
This abstract accurately represents the content of die candidates thesis.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
Rodney Muth
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this manuscript to my father Joseph W. Huston.
For the doctor who should have been had he not so selflessly dedicated his life to the
needs of his family rather than his own ambitions.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This dissertation would not have been possible without the encouragement and support
of many people. The staff of the School of Education leant their patience to the
endeavor. This is particularly true of Rodney Muth, my advisor, who also set high
standards and never gave up on me. Appreciation is due to those interviewees who
spent time responding to my inquiries, both formal and informal. Finally, my utmost
gratitude for always believing en me and standing beside me goes to my husband, Jim
Striggow.


CONTENTS
Figures.......................................................xi
Tables.......................................................xii
CHAPTER
1. SCHOOL CHOICE: VISION OR VEXATION......................1
Problem Statement.......................................3
Rationale for the Study...........................3
Statement of Purpose..............................4
Theoretical Research Base.............................. 8
Functional Analysis...............................9
Structural Analysis..............................11
Analysis of Social Structure.....................14
School Choice....................................18
Problem Focus....................................20
A Modified Analytical Model............................21
The Functional Component.........................21
The Structural Component.........................23
The Social Structure Component...................23
Conclusion.............................................27
2. THE FACE OF EDUCATIONAL REFORM.........................30
Educations Golden Age.................................30
Compulsory Education.............................31
Higher Education.................................32
Desegregation....................................32
vii


Handicapped Children.............................33
Compensatory Education...........................33
An Era of Excellence...................................35
Freedom of Choice Plans..........................37
The Alternative Education Movement...............39
Magnet Schools...................................41
National Politics of Reform............................44
Risky Business...................................44
Well Prepared....................................47
America 2000...........................................47
To Market, To Market.............................48
States Pick Up the Gauntlet......................49
3. METHODOLOGICAL DESIGN..................................53
Grounded Theory........................................53
Definition of the Case...........................54
Preliminary Data Collection......................57
Development of the Interview Instrument..........62
The Interview Process............................67
Data Analysis....................................68'
Problem Significance...................................75
4. MANIFEST OUTCOMES: PANDORA EMBRACED....................77
Legislative Outcomes...................................79
More Choices.....................................81
At-Risk Students................................101
Increase in Involvement.........................113
Curriculum and Instruction......................117
Innovative Schools..............................121
viii


Legislators Preferred Outcomes..........................122
Interviews with Legislators........................123
Legislators Words to the Press....................127
5. LATENT OUTCOMES: A GIFT FROM PANDORA.....................130
Legislative Outcomes.....................................131
More Choices.......................................132
At-Risk Students...................................158
Increase in Involvement............................190
Curriculum and Instruction.........................204
Innovative Programs................................215
6. PANDORAS PRESENCE IS REALIZED...........................222
A City Ripe for Choice...................................222
Demographics.......................................223
Manifest Outcomes of School Choice.......................224
Choice Comes to Hail, Colorado.....................224
Colorado Charter School Legislation................232
To Charter or Not to Charter, That is the Question.233
Latent Outcomes: A Chronology of Mixed Blessings.........242
Choices in Vista School District...................242
Vistas Alternative Schools........................245
The Dream is Realized..............................248
One Charter Schools Journey.......................262
7. EFFECTS OF PANDORAS PRESENCE............................292
Effects of Legislative Initiatives.......................292
More Choices.......................................292
At-Risk Students...................................296
Increase in Involvement............................307
IX


Curriculum and Instruction......................309
Innovative Practices............................315
Effects Not Anticipated in the Legislation............321
Enrollment Practices............................321
Greater Security for Alternative Schools........340
Arguments for Local Control.....................348
Public School Advocates Surface.................354
Improved Educational Practices..................357
Charter Law Revisions...........................362
Summary...............................................367
8. CLOSED BOOK OR NEW CHAPTER.............................370
Restatement...........................................370
Purpose Statement...............................371
An Analytical Model.............................372
Case Study......................................373
Initial Findings......................................374
Manifest Outcomes...............................374
Latent Outcomes and Legislative Effects.........377
Outcomes in Vista School District...............391
Policy Issues.........................................396
Recommendations for Future Study......................399
Conclusions...........................................400
APPENDIX...........................................................401
A. Human Subjects Approval.........................401
B. Letter of Consent...............................411
C. Interview Questionnaire.........................412
D. Letter of Introduction..........................414
E. List of Individuals Interviewed.................417
REFERENCES.........................................................419
x


FIGURES
Figure
1.1 A Comparison of Analytical Models..........................12
1.2 Stinchcombes Analysis of Social Structures................15
1.3 Structural Analysis Model on School Choice.................22
3.1 Lasswells Social Process Model............................63
xi


TABLES
Table
4.1 District Demographics.....................................85
4.2 Core Knowledge Charter Schools............................87
4.3 Individualized Learning Schools...........................95
4.4 Racial and Ethnic Enrollment.............................103
4.5 Enrollment by Race and Ethnicity.........................104
4.6 At-Risk Student Populations..............................106
4.7 1995-1996 Special Populations............................112
4.8 Governing Board Membership...............................115
4.9 Parent Involvement in Hours..............................116
5.1 Charter School Funding...................................139
5.2 Charter School Facility Costs............................144
5.3 Where Charter Schools Come From..........................152
5.4 National Charter Enrollment by Race......................162
5.5 State Comparisons of Charter Percentages.................163
5.6 Minority Attendance in Colorado Charter Schools..........166
5.7 Caucasian Attendance in Colorado Charter Schools.........169
5.8 Special Education Comparisons............................175
5.9 Free or Reduced Lunch Comparisons........................178
5.10 Stargates Minority Population...........................189
5.11 Evaluation Tools Selected by Charter Schools.............212
6.1 Vista School Districts Board Codes......................227
7.1 Enrollment Figures.......................................303
xii


Table
7.2 Level Test Comparative Data..................................314
7.3 Level Test Pretest to Post-Test Differential.................316
7.4 Alternative and Charter School Enrollment Figures............325
7.5 Defectors and Loyalists in Vista School District............327
xiii


CHAPTER 1
SCHOOL CHOICE: VISION OR VEXATION
Since the beginning of time, man has filled his days with stories of peace and war,
justice and despotism, heroes and villains, and the relationship of man to his peers.
Stories have been used to transmit values, convey knowledge, and impart lessons that
communicate beliefs and ethics of the people. The story of Pandora is such a tale, told
and retold over time to show the frailty of man when it comes to recognizing the
consequences of ones actions.
After dispatching an ox, Prometheus prepared it and presented it in two portions
before the gods. In one serving he placed the tender meat and covered it with the hide
of the ox, in the other he placed the bones and gristle and covered it with fat. When
Zeus came to dine, he selected the more appealing serving covered with fat and quite by
accident left the good meat for the humans.
Angered by the deception of Prometheus, Zeus had him chained to a rock in the
Caucasus Mountains so that each day a ravenous eagle would tear open his belly and
devour his liver. Unfortunately, the torture of Prometheus was not enough to appease
Zeus anger. He ordained to impart revenge on every living man. To accomplish this
goal, he had Hephaestus make a clay woman, ordered the four Winds to breathe life
into her, and had the goddesses adorn her. She was the most beautiful woman ever
created and with her beauty, she would arouse the desires of man and make his mind
stray from whatever he was supposed to do (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 28).
Pandora was sent to earth and was given a box that contained pestilences that had
not previously been experienced by mankind. She ingratiated herself to men and
gained their trust. Man, in his simple ways, began to ignore his crops and animals to
1


woo her and show himself worthy of her affections. When mankind least suspected it,
Pandora opened the box and released upon the world a variety of contaminants that
rendered the world forever changed. Among the gifts unleashed were disease, famine,
jealousy, pain, and hatred. It is said that Pandora was able to close the box in time to
prevent the gift of hope from escaping. If hope had escaped, man would have nothing
to believe in during times of hardship. The actions of Pandora and their resulting
consequences are credited with the dawn of a new age (p. 29).
As a homily, the story of Prometheus and Pandora is one to which we should pay
heed. When Prometheus divided up the spoils, he created an inequitable situation much
like the one that exists in public education today. For some of our nations children,
education is a feast and these children have partaken and grown strong. For others,
little nourishment is afforded and they lie near starvation. This is a situation that few
find tolerable, yet for many years little was done to remedy the situation.
When he discovered the deception of Prometheus, Zeus rose into action. Perhaps in
a similar fashion, politicians and academics angered by the educational conditions
experienced by some have felt compelled to action. For Zeus, punishment was the
answer. While bringing an end to the system of public education is the agenda of a
minority of reformists, many seek new and innovative ways to create a more equitable
system. It is for the latter, that a new vision of education had to be created. A
Pandora, if you will, a new system replete with choice. For those who advocate
change, it is hoped that through embracing these choices students will become better
educated and parental satisfaction will increase.
As Pandora is embraced, it must be recognized that for all her splendor she brings
with her a box filled with undisclosed contents and unknown consequences. As states
move to adopt more choice and the box is opened, it may prove to be filled with
blessings and prosperity or misfortune and adversity. Or in all likelihood, it will
contain some of each.
2


Problem Statement
In a nation enamored of individual preference, choice now has come to the system
of public education. Driven by the belief that our schools are in trouble, a philosophy
of educational choice has been professed by some as the answer to the nations ills. In
response to the rallying cry for choice, the nation, many states, some local districts, and
even some individual schools have endorsed legislation designed to make choice
opportunities more accessible.
In Colorado, many districts have adopted policies whereby alternative district
schools may be created. In addition, state laws have been written to make
postsecondary schools open to high school juniors and seniors, to allow students to
attend any school within their district of residence, to blur district boundaries and allow
students to enroll in other districts schools, and to make it possible for teachers,
parents, and community members to charter their own schools.
As Colorado school choice policies and laws have been written, numerous manifest
or intended outcomes have been realized. As is frequently true with educational policy
implementation, latent or unintended consequences have also been realized. The
implications of manifest and latent outcomes of Colorado charter school legislation have
the potential for far-reaching effects on the educational system. While all of the choice
legislation has resulted in changes in many school districts, it is primarily the outcomes
and effects of charter legislation on one school district that are examined through this
study.
Rationale for the Study
Educational policy often comes into existence based on the persuasiveness of the
lobbyists or personal agendas of the policy makers. Despite the prevalence of analytical
models designed to assist policy makers in arriving at informed decisions, little
evidence exists that a policy-development process was used in the creation of the
Colorado Charter Schools Act. What has also become evident through interviews with
3


several Colorado legislators, is that at the time the law was being drafted, limited
consideration was given to the ramifications of the laws approval. Legislator Lane, a
pseudonym, remarked that she just supported the law, actual implementation was not
her problem, and the districts with charter schools would just have to work out the
bugs. She indicated that she had little concern for the facility issues or financial
constraints that many districts would face as a result of the legislation (Lane, personal
communication, April 21, 1994).
Attitudes such as this would suggest that once adopted, the charter school law
would not be analyzed to determine if its express intentions were being met. Equally
problematic was whether latent consequences of this law would be addressed in any
systematic fashion. To address this, analyses of the intentions and manifest outcomes
of the charter law and the progress of the state and one school district toward meeting
those intentions. Further, an assessment of latent consequences was undertaken that
have come into evidence in one Colorado school district. Finally, this study comments
on the effects of the legislation on the educational system in Colorado and outlines
considerations for future policy development by the legislators and others.
Statement of Purpose
Public policy making has been defined by Peters (1996, p. 4) as the sum of
government activities, whether acting directly or through agents, as those actions that
have an influence on the lives of citizens. He believes that policy can be divided into
categories based on the degree of the differences made in the lives of the people. Peters
feels that three distinct levels of policy influence exist. At the first level are policy
choices, the decisions made by politicians such as governors, civil servants, and others
with power to affect the lives of the citizenry. Peters describes the second level as as
policy choices put into action. At this level, the government is doing things like
spending money, designing regulations, or hiring individuals. At the third level are
policy impacts, the effects that policy choices and policy outputs have on society.
4


Legislative Background. Policy decisions are made at various levels including
national, state, and local levels. In addition, few policy choices are decided and
executed by a single organization or are restricted to a single level of government.
Peters believes that, Policies, in terms of their effects on the public, emerge from a
large number of programs, legislative intentions, and organizational interactions to
affect the daily lives of citizens (pp. 5-6). He also perceives that, This conception of
policy also points to the frequent failure of governments to coordinate programs, with
the consequence that programs cancel out one another or have costly duplication
efforts (pp. 5-6). He says the question raised by Lasswell years ago about policy
consequences is still a central policy question today.
A National Agenda. In recent years, national policies on education have been
introduced in an effort to bring about improved educational practices and school
reformation. Most notable has been the ambitious plan, America 2000: An Education
Strategy, introduced by President Bush and Lamar Alexander in 1991. Under this
plan, four major educational changes were made. First, the plan called for national
testing and diagnostic reporting to the American people. Second, resulting from the
plan, 535 break-the-mold schools would be created. The number was selected to allow
each congressman and senator to sponsor such a school. Federal funds would be
commingled with business dollars in an effort to create new a new revenue base.
Third, the plan hoped for an improvement of practices throughout the teaching
profession. This would be accomplished by offering merit pay and establishing new
certification requirements. The final element of the plan was a call for increased choice.
Bush hoped that, through the creation of a market-driven system of education, schools
would feel the pressure to perform and improvement in schools would result (pp. 325-
326).
State Interest. Like the federal government, many states also sought improvement in
education and have enacted various policy decisions that introduce more opportunities
for school choice to the citizens of the states. These policy decisions caught on like
5


wildfire in many states following America 2000. By 1993, school choice legislation
had been adopted or introduced in 34 states. School choice in one form or another was
advocated by 33 governors (Tucker & Lauber, 1994, p. 4). Legislative initiatives have
included affording postsecondary options, interdistrict and intra-district school
transfers, charter schools and vouchers.
Choice in Colorado. Over the past several years, a number of educational issues
have met with the intervention of the Colorado Legislature. Governor Romer has made
education one of his major considerations, and a number of legislators have been
equally zealous about educational reform. As Conley (1993, p. 8) reviews legislative
interventions he feels that through their actions legislators have demonstrated that they
are committed to reform public education within this state in significant ways. Reform
is defined as a change in those actions which focus on procedures, rules, and
requirements of the system and which frequently respond to pressure from an external
entity. In the case of educational reform, this force often is exerted by boards of
education or state policy makers .
In Colorado, as in other states, it is not only legislators who are involved with the
demand for educational reform. Parents, educators at colleges and universities,
members of the community, and business people are involved as well. Directly and
indirectly, parents and community members are invited to take a more active role in the
education of children. Through participation on special task forces for education and
on school site-based teams, citizens are allowed to make themselves heard. Use of
college facilities and instructors, adoption of curricular and instructional techniques that
are not in keeping with those of the district, increases in autonomy, and alternative uses
of financial resources expand opportunities for learning. Likewise, school-to-work
programs add components of business training to the school curriculum (Cookson,
1994, pp. 14-16). In Milwaukee,Wisconsin and Cleveland, Ohio vouchers have been
adopted. While statewide voucher legislation has not been adopted backers in
Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida (Toch & Cohen, 1998, p. 25). In Colorado efforts
6


to pass voucher legislation have been presented to the voters in two separate elections.
While legislation has not passed the issue continues to resurface.
Open-Enrollment Policies. Evidence that the Colorado legislators were interested in
promoting themselves as educational policy makers occurred when a law made intra-
district choice possible in 1990. This legislation afforded students the opportunity to
choose a school within their district or place of residence without regard to
neighborhood status. In 1994, a similar Colorado law was adopted to allow for
interdistrict choice. Through this legislation, students can select a school in a district
other than the one in which they reside. These open-enrollment laws make it possible
for students within a district or from other districts within the state to select the schools
that they wish to attend. Colorado's policies establish more competitive practices as
schools begin to offer different options to attract students. In addition, schools have to
accept applicants under most circumstances. Only if space is not available or if
acceptance of the student conflicts with desegregation practices can the student be
denied admission.
Postsecondarv Options. Legislation making it possible for students to expand their
opportunities for study was adopted in Colorado in 1991. Postsecondary Options
legislation has made it possible for juniors and seniors attending high school to attend a
college or university for some or all of their course work. In some cases, college or
university personnel are brought to the public schools to teach various courses rather
than have the students go to the college. When either occurs, it is possible for students
to take advanced courses or courses of special interest that otherwise might not be
offered in the school. The public school district in which the student resides pays
expenses, including tuition, school fees, and book charges, out of its state funding
allocation.
Charter School Law. A more recent form of choice initiative has been the adoption
of the Colorado Charter Schools Act of 1993. This legislation has been advanced as a
powerful means to achieve school reform. Charter school advocates believe that the
7


legislation establishes a different means to address learning and bring about innovative
practices. Charter schools remain public schools but have increased autonomy, control
state funds awarded on a per pupil basis, and may waive state and local policies
exclusive of those that address safety and discrimination.
Despite the array of choice opportunities that have become available in Colorado, the
question remains about the degree to which choice legislation has pushed the reform of
public education and the understanding of policy makers about the ramifications of their
decisions. To address these issues, one should look at the intended results of school
reform when assessing whether the laws have achieved the overall purposes outlined in
the legislation. However, it is also necessary for researchers to examine the results that
were not intendedthe unanticipated consequences a policy decisions. One means of
doing so is to investigate a district in which choice legislation has been implemented
and to examine the overall effects of the legislation. The purpose of this study was to
assess those effects, reflect on the policy practices employed, and to determine whether
the legislation has resulted in systemic reform.
Theoretical Research Base
As in many other sociological studies, my interest in this topic is based on a concern
about the manner in which the outcomes and effects of the actions of one entity within a
social system have ramifications for other entities and for the system as a whole. In
particular, it is the outcomes and effects of charter school legislation on the system of
public education in Colorado that are of interest.
The study of the interrelationship between elements in a system and the system itself
is not a new one. In the 1920s, the basic tenets of the principles of looking at social
behaviors through a systems study were outlined by anthropologists Bronislaw
Malinowski and A. R. Radcliffe-Brown. In studies of tribal communities in the Pacific
Islands, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown attempted to look for interrelationships
between elements of the societies and the manner in which elements contributed to the
8


satisfaction of the entire society. The research orientation suggested by Malinowski
and Radcliffe-Brown was soon adopted by other anthropologists and an early theory of
functionalism was born (Sztompka, 1974, p. 35).
Functional Analysis
Functional analysis is an attempt to identify what we know about society and
develop from our knowledge a theory to explain social actions. Originated by two
anthropologists, this theory was defined by Radcliffe-Brown as the effort to look at the
social life of a people as a functional entity, while Malinowski described culture in
functional terms as an integrated whole in which all parts of the system are means to
attain a goal (p. 47).
This anthropological theory was embraced by sociologists, as well. Perhaps the
most famous treatise on functionalism was written by Robert K. Merton in Social
Theory and Social Structure, published in 1957. Merton explained function as a "vital
or organic process considered in the respects in which they contribute to the
maintenance of the organism" (p. 21).
He further defined functionalism as "the practice of interpreting data by establishing
the consequences for the larger structures in which they are implicated" (pp. 46-47).
About functional analysis, Merton stated: "Functional analysis specifies the
consequences of a social phenomenon for its differentiated structural context; structural
analysis searches for the determinants of the phenomenon in its structural context"
(Clark, Modgil, & Modgil, 1990, p. 56).
The concept of looking at systems from a functionalist perspective was touted as an
innovative means by which to study society by Merton, Levy, Parsons, and Radcliffe-
Brown, while others found the theory to be wanting. One criticism often levied is that
functionalism, particularly the theory advocated by Merton, looks at individual elements
within systems, institutional patterns, or social processes, rather than beginning with an
analysis of the system itself (Gouldner, 1967, p. 144).
9


Another sociologist (Davis,1967), argues that functional analysis is fraught with
ambiguity and diversity. He questions how the theory can be useful when a definition
of functionalism is one that cannot be agreed upon by its main theorists including
Merton, Levy, and Radcliffe-Brown. Although he recognizes that each theorist
contributes unique postulates to the body of information, Davis sees the lack of a
common theory as major criticism of the theory of functionalism. Davis asserts that a
major part of the problem is that some who advocate functional analysis relate the parts
of a system to the whole system, while others relate parts of the system to one another
(pp. 379-381).
Another common criticism of functionalism is that it has a teleological bias.
Teleology is a doctrine in which phenomena are explained by final causes or
consequences. Teleology addresses the concept that means-ends relationships exist
between elements within a study. In addition, teleology is based on at least one of two
assumptions. The first is the empiricist principle, a belief that principles explain
everything. The second is the deterministic principle that asserts nothing can emerge
from nothing. The charge of teleological bias in Merton's work does not focus on the
means-end aspect of teleology, for this aspect plays an important part in all functionalist
theory. Rather, it is the apparent assumption that either metaphysics-finalismor both
are inherent in the model (Sztompka, 1974, pp. 138-140).
The most frequent charge against functionalism is that it presents systems as static
entities, when they are actually dynamic, continuously changing. Those who make this
charge believe that it is impossible for sociologists to conceptualize any change in a
social system when using this theory (pp. 153-154).
Functionalism is also criticized as having an ahistoric bias. This charge also
addresses the aspect of change. Rather than focusing on any change within the system,
an ahistoric bias looks specifically to changes in the structure of the system. A question
raised is to what degree the system must be modified for it to fall into the category of
structural change. Those who argue the question of functionalism debate whether a
10


total systemic modification is necessary to constitute change or whether modification of
elements of the infrastructure of a system would suffice as a demonstration of some
form of systemic change (pp. 162-164).
Structural Analysis
Amid the criticisms, a number of sociologists have been rethinking some of central
tenets of functionalism. Ever evolving in his effort to understand the workings of
society, Merton's contributions to the field of sociology did not end with his theory on
functionalism. Rather, he moved to describe a system of structuralism. Although
different from functionalism in some respects, in structuralism some aspects remain
consistent. Sztompka (1990) and Stinchcombe (1990) believe that Merton's functional
analysis is the basis on which his structural analysis model was built.
While theories of structural analysis can be found in the works of many of his
sociological contemporaries, it is from the works of Merton that the primary
explanation of structural analysis is taken. I have chosen this model in part because the
works of Merton on structural analysis have been regarded as a natural outgrowth of
his functional analysis theory (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). Where functional analysis
focuses on the consequences of social phenomena, structural analysis addresses those
factors which bring about the phenomena in a social context. Merton's conception of
structural analysis brings to the study of social structures an emphasis on social conflict
and social change (pp. 55-56). Blau (1975, pp. 117-118) further asserts that Merton's
functional theory is in reality a structural theory. Nine major elements of Merton's
Model for Structural Analysis have been selected for review and are explained in
Figure 1.1.
It is within this theory that observable social patterns occur at both the macro and
micro levels. Merton believes that the processes essential to the creation of social
structure occur at the micro level. It is at this level that choices between alternatives that
have been created by the social structure occur. Merton explains that social status
11


FIGURE 1.1
A Comparison of Analytical Models
Mertons (1957) Model for Structural Analysis Stinchcombes (1990) Schematic Outline
Structural analysis must deal with phenomena at the macro and micro levels. Core processes are central to socialstructure at the micro level. These are decisions between socially structured alternatives that have no basic utility. Rather, the utility of the decision is thought to be a part of the institutional order. At the macro level, the accumulation of power and authority bring about the condition of one group of people having an advantage over another group of people. Social structures bring about social conflict as elements of social strata, organizations, and communities have agreed upon and conflicting interests. Unified norm-sets are not present in society. Social ambivalence occurs when social-role expectations and norms are incompatible. Deviant behavior exists when aspirations are identified and the social structure doesnt allow movement toward them. Because aspirations arent being met, changes both within and out of the structure occur. New entities bom out of a social structure that are not of its making modify the structure in ways that are anticipated and unanticipated. It is analytically useful to look atwhat is anticipated (manifest) and what is unanticipated (latent). Core processes are the decisions between structured alternatives in the social structure. These processes do not have utility in and of themselves. The value of decisions is socially established and is a part of the social order. Decision behavior has consequences for the institution. Variations in the rates of decisions are brought about by the location of individuals in the social order. Key variables are different rates of decisions in different positions in a structure or in different structures. The core process chain moves in both directions from patterned decisions. The chain goes forward from the rate of decision because it is of consequence to the institution. It also goes backward because the structural position determines the organization of the alternatives. Structural decisions are linked to consequential decisions and to institutional patterns through loops: * Institutional consequences act back to shape the nature of alternatives. * The historical development of social character occurs out of a biographical patterning of decisions. * Feedback through character formation links a person to structural pressures and patterns of decisions.
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intersections happen at the micro level through the interactions of people. Social
conflict arises when people in different levels of the social structure bring different
values and interests into play. Merton recognizes that social conflicts at the macro level
are brought about through an uneven distribution of power between social classes,
organizations, and communities. These groups often operate with different goals and
interests in much the same way that individuals do. He feels that it is possible for a
sense of compromise between social strata to occur. While he recognizes that as a best
case scenario he also notes that social ambivalence can result when expectations or
norms are not compatible.
Merton's theory relies heavily on the analysis of social patterns and tracing the
functional and dysfunctional consequences of the patterns (p. 118). He recognizes that
deviant behavior arises when the social structure does not allow one to move toward his
aspirations. He further explains that an inability to move toward one's goals or
aspirations can result from structural constraints or from constraints external to the
structure. As individuals and groups address frustrations, changes to the system or
outside the system may follow.
In essence, Merton uses structural analysis to develop further his belief that social
relationships are the catalyst by which groups and individuals are implicated. Merton
recognizes that patterns within relationships are played out in a somewhat repetitive
fashion. He brings to structural analysis the concept of manifest and latent functions
which he carefully elaborates in his functionalism treatise. Merton also writes of the
influences placed on the social structure by individuals and groups within the structure.
These influences include beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). It
is important to note that in the structural model, as in the functional model, Merton
believes that it is consequences of decisions that provide the greatest source of
information.
In several respects, the theory of structural analysis conceived by Merton addresses
charges that his functionalist theory did not look to the system as a whole, rather that
13


the emphasis was solely on consequences. Structural analysis includes an emphasis on
change within the system or of the structure of the system.
It is my contention that structural analysis can be successfully used to understand the
ways in which a decision within a system produces outcomes and effects. In turn these
outcomes and effects result in a change in the system and perhaps even a change in the
structure of the system. A study of the effects of school-choice legislation on the public
school system is one that can be accomplished using a model of structural analysis that
begins with the preliminary framework laid out in Sociological Ambivalence and Other
Essays (Merton, 1976, p. 184). Merton's framework, while theoretically sound, lacks
concreteness and does not convey the elegance, economy, or precision of other models.
The concept of social structure developed by Stinchcombe (1990) complements and
adds a sense of organization that makes it possible to use the original work of Merton in
a systematic manner. (See Figure 1.1.)
Analysis of Social Structure
Stinchcombe (1990) looks to the works of Merton to generate a structural model.
He begins with the position that decision making is an integral part of the theory.
Through use of the schematic model depicted in Figure 1.2, he begins with the center
cell and shows decision making as the link between patterns of an institution and rates
of institutionally consequential behavior. The core process of decision making is based
on the knowledge that we have the ability to make decisions between socially structured
alternatives and that those alternatives are subject to structural influences. Stinchcombe
also believes that character development both influences opportunities for decisions and
results from decisions (p. 84). Stinchcombe explains the issue of decision making
between socially structured alternatives in this manner. Connections exist between
individuals and the decisions they face. These connections are created by the society in
which the individual lives. Through the structuring of connections, a variety of
consequences may occur simultaneously (p. 82).
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FIGURE 1.2
STINCHCOMBES ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE


In Stinchcombes model of social structure, society serves the purpose of defining
decision making situations. In some cases they are defined by laws and sanctions, in
other cases they are defined by rituals and social norms. This means that, when a
decision is to be made, the individual defines the situation to some extent. Yet, under
most circumstances the definition is not free of societal constraint (p. 82).
Stinchcombe believes that people located throughout the social structure make
decisions at different rates and that differentiated rates have consequences for the
institution. He includes motives, information, and sanctions as factors that bear on the
rates of behavior. As he discusses motivation, he indicates that different decisions are
made possible based on the location of the individual within the social structure.
Opportunities for advancement in a job, for instance, are limited for a person who has
not been afforded a college education despite a strong work ethic. In this case, social
structure would control the type of employment options available to this individual.
This is done through a system of rewards or punishments from those within the same
social structure. It is made possible through limiting the decisions at hand (p. 83).
Rewards and punishments act as forms of structurally induced motivation according
to Stinchcombe. In one scenario, he believes that individuals are motivated to become
affiliated with non-membership groups to bring about upward mobility. In another
scenario, he feels that individuals are motivated to align their norms with those of the
non-membership group. In both scenarios, Stinchcombe suggests that the goals of
individuals are subject to social influences and rates of social decision are thereby
affected (p. 83).
Stinchcombe outlines four sources of variation that Merton also includes when
talking about structurally induced motivation. He believes that the sources of variation
include: socialization into a culture, a system of rewards, affirmation of a social role,
and needs being met through structural manipulation. Thus, the rates of decision vary
based on the amount of motivation they produce in individuals (pp. 84-85).
Information flow affects the behavior of structured decisions, in Stinchcombes
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opinion. It is through access to information that sanctions arise. Knowledge of
rewards and punishments is important to consider when socially structured decisions
are made. Information changes the perceptions of individuals about what decisions are
available to them. This concept is based on the belief that when people are made aware
of the possible results of a decision, the collective outcome changes. Information also
allows individuals to create successful activities that result in the perpetuation of those
activities. Social patterning of information changes the rates of socially significant
decisions because sanctions attached to decisions are influenced, alternatives between
decisions are influenced, and the success rates of the alternatives chosen are influenced
(pp. 85-87).
The outputs of patterned decisions are behaviors that are socially organized.
Outputs are important because of their ability to affect the structure of the system.
According to Stinchcombe, outputs include both manifest and latent functions, manifest
and latent structural locations of the output, and deviant systems of these realities. By
manifest and latent functions, he is referring to the intended results of a decision and the
results that occurred but were not intended. Manifest and latent structural locations
refer to affects on the system itself. These output can be both intended and unintended
in nature. Symptoms of deviant behavior are brought about through discord within the
system. It is where discord is evident that a breakdown between manifest and latent
functions has occurred.
As in other dynamic models, Stinchcombe's model is not one that is a straight input
output model. Rather, the model is cyclical in nature in which outputs of the system
become strategic inputs for other structures within the system (pp. 87-88). The first
loop is the loop between rates of institutionally consequential behavior and institutional
patterns shaping alternatives. Essentially, this means that the results of the decisions
made act back to modify the system of origination and change institutional patterns.
The second loop is the change in character of the individual involved in making the
decision. This loop produces patterns in the kinds of and results of decisions being
17


made. This model is beneficial to use in the study of manifest and latent consequences
in school choice legislation.
School Choice
School choice is an intriguing topic, one that has been the topic of much historical
investigation. Books such as Time to Choose (Wells, 1993) and The One Best System
(Tyack, 1974) reveal that, while the demand for reform in education is not new, the
types of criticism being levied may be changing significantly. From the inception of
public education, critics have included those who wished to see a greater sense of
community in the schools, those who wanted to see the needs of the individual more
closely addressed, and those who have promoted programs to prepare students more
effectively for the world of work.
A more recent occurrence has been a shift from a criticism of the puipose of schools
to a demand for parental voice in the selection, governance, and daily operations of
schools. As the public has indicated an interest in having a greater voice in education,
the legislature has picked up the gauntlet. Increasing choice and expanding control of
schools have been the invocation to which a wide variety of school reform proponents
have assembled. Evidence of the increasing demands for a voice in the educational
system can be found in letters to the editor, rhetoric at school board meetings, defeat of
tax initiatives, and increase in the number of private and home schools.
While Young and Clinchy (1992, p. 2) report that perhaps the most dramatic
advocacy for choice in recent times was heard in 1986 when the National Governors'
Association developed Time for Results, the question of whether the following
projections have come to pass remains. These authors believe that nothing is more
basic to education and its ability to bring our children into the 21st century than choice.
Given a choice in public education, they believe that parents will play a stronger role in
our schools. Innovative programs will spring to life. Parents and the whole
community will become deeply involved in helping all children learn. Teachers will be
18


more challenged than ever. And, most importantly, students will see immediate results
(p. 83).
A national conference on choice and control in education was held in May 1989.
The discussion and follow-up papers resulted in a two-volume series, Choice and
Control in American Education (Clune & Witte, 1990). The preface by Coleman
emphatically states the necessity to provide more opportunities for choice and more
parental control. This passage summarizes the views of contributors such as Witte,
Weiss, Elmore, and some members of the public at large. Coleman also brings to light
two opposing values that often are sources for public disenchantment with the current
educational system.
The first is the autonomy and choice of parents to do all they can to raise their
children to adulthood. The second is the value we place on having a society that is not
fragmented by divisions imposed by segregated or exclusive upbringing. In
attempting to answer how our society might choose between these two values,
Coleman argues that while a single common school made sense in 1890, it does not
make sense in 1990. He believes that the more appropriate solution, both within the
public sector, and in a system of education including private schools, is to expand
parental choice and control at the school level. He feels that this will lead to increasing
diversity and innovation in education, and will enhance community, an element he
states that we have lost in our current public education system (p. ix).
Other chief critics of the nations contemporary educational system are Kolderie,
Lerman, and Moskos who state in Mandate for Change (1993) "More than ever before,
America's prosperity hinges on how well we educate and train our people. Yet, our
public schools are failing to meet new standards of performance being set by our global
competitors" (p. 129). The basic premise of this particular chapter is to advocate
school choice through the promotion of charter schools, school-based apprenticeships
for the young people, and a civilian G. I. bill to expand scholarships in return for
community service.
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These passages reflect the ideas of only a few contemporary critics of public
education. The efforts of such writers combined with the efforts of political lobbyists
have resulted in the contention that opportunities for choice will bring about the reform
of the public educational system as we know it. The pressure to expedite educational
reform through school choice has resulted in an increase in the adoption of many state
legislated efforts.
In Colorado as in other states, recent choice legislation has brought about a variety
of intended outcomes including intra-district choice, interdistrict choice, postsecondary
options, and the charter school legislation. Manifest outcomes from these laws'
intended results include expanded student choice, greater student mobility, increased
school competitiveness, larger numbers of schools endeavoring to meet parental
demands, and more variety in high school courses.
While these intended outcomes are valuable, the unintended outcomes of school
choice legislation may contribute as much, if not more, to the success of the school
reform movement. Through this study, I examined and analyzed the impact of both
intended and unintended reform outcomes charter schools throughout the nation with a
careful look at charter schools in Colorado. An in-depth analysis of the intended and
unintended effects of legislation in one Colorado public school district was made.
Problem Focus
The fact that school choice is with us can be substantiated in much of the current
literature on school reform. The few, brief citations in the preceding section provide
evidence of a focus on reform. An examination of the recent legislation promoting
choice further supports the claim that choice in public education has been an issue that
has received much attention. Elements addressed in the promotion of choice include
the reform of public education, the creation of more innovation, an increase in the
degree of student achievement, and creation of a better match between what parents
prefer and what schools provide.
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Understanding the rationale for choice legislation, identifying the intentions of the
legislation, and recognizing the outcomes and effects of increased school choice will
lead to a better understanding of educational policy making. In this case, these
elements are first reviewed at the national and state levels. This is followed by an in-
depth analysis of outcomes and effects in one Colorado school district and comparisons
with national and state data. Reflections on policy implications result.
A Modified Analytical Model
Through a review of the literature, I have come to believe that an analytical model
depicting the information that I wish to convey does not exist. For this reason, I have
created an analytical model for use in this study. The model incorporates elements of
functional analysis (Merton, 1957), structural analysis (Merton, 1976), a model of
social structure (Stinchcombe, 1990), a definition of outcomes (Merton, 1976;
Lasswell, 1971), and a definition of effects (Lasswell, 1971). The model itself is
cyclical in nature. It begins with societal influence affecting public schools. The model
then moves to two types of decision that could be made by the legislature. From each
of these decisions are both manifest and latent outcomes. These outcomes result in the
development of systemic effects. The cycle is completed when the effects return to
modify the public schools. (See Figure 1.3.)
The Functional Component
Merton is a well-known sociologist whose early works emerged in the 1940s. His
best known work is Social Theory and Social Structure (1957), in which he establishes
a paradigm for functional analysis. Functional analysis is a complex theory with many
component parts. However, it is not the theory in its entirety that is central to this
study. Rather, it is the major concept of manifest and latent functions serves as a key
element in my analytical model.
While not the first to address manifest and latent functions, Merton explicitly
21


FIGURE 1.3
Structural Analysis Model on School Choice
to
to


includes a strategic look at both elements in his work. In functionalism, Merton
emphasizes the analysis of the consequences of actions and adds that distinguishing
between consequences intended and those that aren't is a key to a different source of
knowledge. The purpose of this distinction is to allow for the analysis of otherwise
irrational social patterns (Demerath & Peterson, 1967, p. 56). Differentiating between
what is intended in legislation on school choice and what patterns have emerged as a
result of the legislation is central to this study.
The Structural Component
While initially classified and criticized as a proponent of sociological functionalism,
Merton did not remain a staunch functionalist throughout his career. This classification
was expanded between the mid 1970s and the 1990s when sociologists such as
Sztompka (1974), Coser (1975), and Stinchcombe (1990) recognized and endorsed
elements of structural analysis present in Mertons theories.
In addition, his Structural Analysis in Sociology (1976) includes ideas that further
dispelled his label as a functionalist (pp. 109-144). The model of structural analysis
continues to incorporate manifest and latent consequences as necessary elements.
Structuralist theories also address charges that understanding systems requires a
dynamic model, one that incorporates change. Merton moved from looking at
consequences of systemic action to understanding the connection between
consequences and the system as a whole through this theoretical evolution.
Unfortunately, some feel Merton's stipulations on structuralism are not outlined in
fashion that would be easily employed in this analysis. For sociologists such as Arthur
Stinchcombe, the model becomes more purposeful by expanding Merton's original
theories and adding his own unique elements.
The Social Structure Component
Stinchcombe (1990) has taken the work of Merton on structural analysis and more
23


thoroughly explained the concept of social structure in his schematic outline. (See
Figure 1.2.) Both Stinchcombe and Merton believe that decisions between socially
structured alternatives are necessary to impact a change on a system. (See Figure 1.1.)
In both the structural analysis model of Merton and the social structure model of
Stinchcombe, the process of decision making originates from pressure placed on a
structure. In my study, this pattern is consistent.
This study begins with an historical overview of the dissatisfaction with public
education and an explanation of the role of the Colorado Legislature in addressing this
dissatisfaction in the early 1990s. It is important to recognize that the current system
of public education consists of a reciprocal relationship between public schools and
institutional patterns shaping them. While Stinchcombe draws no distinction between
the institution being studied and the institutions influencing it, I have chosen to illustrate
this relationship with the system of public schools as the conduit through which
decisions about school choice are made.
In the model developed by Stinchcombe, he identifies the core process of decision
making. It is from the decisions between structured alternatives that individuals have
the ability to make decisions. These decisions are affected by motives, information,
and sanctions brought to bear on the decisions. Often times, decisions are affected by
the behavior of individuals. Stinchcombe also recognizes that decisions are affected
through the influence of motivation, information, and sanctions of the system. Both
the individual and systemic objectives have been incorporated into my model.
While it is possible for some school districts to maintain a sense of status quo under
the pressure of choice legislation, it has become increasingly difficult to do so. Lack of
responsiveness to community demands often results in increased criticism being voiced
at school board meetings and in letters to the editor. When these tactics did not work,
some parents chose to place their children in private schools or home school them.
When this occurs, a decrease in the number of students results in a decrease in state
funding, the ultimate sanction for some school districts.
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To illustrate more carefully the power of decision making in the model on school
choice, I included two levels of legislative decision making. In both Decision 1 and 2,
individual and structural elements were identified. In Decision 1, the decision is made
to protect the status quo and disavow any new opportunities for choice. In this
scenario, no choice opportunities are available. For individual children, the results
include the continuation of a uniform educational plan for all and limited opportunities
for parents to express their wishes. From a structural perspective, the public school
system is able to retain its neighborhood orientation and a traditional form of
governance. Only one basic type of educational program may be the only one
available. Making no choice available is possible to the district through avoidance,
excuse making, or sanctions.
In Decision 2, a legislated opportunity for choice is created. A variety of choices
may be made possible to parents. In a district where choice is possible, individual
children are able to attend the school their parents have selected. Parents attain a greater
voice in these districts. When choice becomes available, the school district may be able
to diversify its offerings, thereby enticing more students to stay in or return to the
system. Differentiated governance plans including site-based management may be
offered. Choice availability is possible through motivation, information, and sanctions.
Stinchcombe moves directly from the decision to the rates of institutionally
consequential behavior. While outcomes are incorporated as aspects of consequential
behavior, it is specifically the manifest and latent outcomes described by Merton in his
treatise on functionalism that I wish to emphasize in my work. For this reason, rather
than developing the model after this fashion, I have differentiated institutionally
consequential behaviors into two separate categories. These categories are outcomes
and effects. These terms were selected based on definitions developed by Lasswell
(1971, pp. 46-48)in his Social Process and Decision Process models.
A Definition of Outcomes. Lasswells definition of outcomes is a many-faceted one
that is based on integrated elements of the Social and Decision Process Models. In his
25


discussion of decision making, Lasswell states that the role of a policy scientist must be
to operate within a framework that emphasizes outcomes. He describes outcomes in
terms of the values at stake and the enforceability of commitments under the duress of
challengers' sanctions. For Lasswell, decision outcomes occur when participants, each
with distinctive subjective perspectives, come to a situation to make a decision. In this
setting, the values of each participant are managed through the use of strategies to affect
the outcomes. Lasswell believes outcomes develop at different stages of the decision
process. At the outset of a decision, intelligence outcomes include gathering,
evaluating, and distributing information. Promotional outcomes include actions
brought about during the process of mobilizing attention to common interests.
Prescription outcomes make it possible for norms to be distinguished from one another.
Invocational outcomes call for provisional support to the prescriptions that have been
made. Application outcomes call for final support to the prescriptions in situations in
which they can be implemented. Termination outcomes remove any prescriptions that
are not believed to contribute to the aims of the participants. Appraisal outcomes
summarize the elements of the prescription to be accepted and assign formal
responsibility (pp. 27-48).
Lasswell's model was originally designed to be implemented at the initiation of a
decision making process. Within the arena of school choice policy, many decisions
have already been implemented in the district that I elected to study. For this reason, it
was not be possible to scrutinize outcomes before a policy had been approved in the
manner that Lasswell outlined. I do believe, however, that this model was helpful as a
reminder that decisions are made at many different points in the implementation of a
policy from information gathering to evaluation. As I collected data, I used this model
to categorize outcomes and to avoid use of final outcomes as the main source of
information.
Also helpful in developing the definition of outcomes is the work of Merton (1957)
on manifest and latent functions. Merton states that "manifest functions are those
26


objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adaptation of the system
which are intended and recognized by participants in the system; latent functions,
correlatively, being those which are neither intended nor recognized" (p. 51).
Using both Lasswell's and Merton's ideas, I have chosen to define an outcome as
the behaviors or consequences that occur when people with varying perspectives
engage in the decision process. Included are those behaviors or consequences that are
both intended and unintended.
A Definition of Effects. According to Lasswell, effects are described as the changes
that occur after the social process unfolds (p. 48). As I differentiate between outcomes
and effects, I see effects as the over-arching changes to the macro level that result from
the assimilation and evaluation of the outcomes at the micro level. The effects of the
decisions made by a district in addressing school choice were analyzed, and lessons for
future policy decisions were identified.
Social Character. Stinchcombe builds into his model a casual loop of change in
social characteristics. While values are certainly pertinent to this study, I elected to
exclude the component of development of social character as a separate element from
my model. As was related in the outcomes section, outcomes are replete with values.
As outcomes are described, so too were the values underlying them. In addition,
through the use of the Social Process Model developed by Lasswell, I incorporated
social values in my interview questions and included them as an integral part of each
element of the case study.
Conclusion
As in the models developed by Merton and Stinchcombe, the system of analysis is
one in which several feedback loops have been included. As decisions are made and
implemented, the public school system is immediately affected. These effects are then
relayed to the community, families, businesses, and government. Over time, both
manifest and latent outcomes create effects and complete the feedback loop to the public
27


system and community at large. Understanding how policy brings about changes that
are intended and changes that are not intended has implications for educational policy
makers in the future.
The purpose of this study was neither to pass judgment on school-choice policy nor
to take a stand on the question of school reform. The purpose of the study was to look
closely at the role of school-choice legislation, particularly charter school legislation,
within the Colorado public school arena and to determine whether reforms that have
occurred as a direct result of the legislation have brought about systemic educational
effects. While national, state, and local implications were reviewed, the majority of
findings in this study were based on my work in one Colorado school district.
In this study, a simple case has been investigated that may illustrate several
implications for policy makers at the state and district levels. First, the degree to which
state choice legislation has brought about reform was explored. This information
should be insightful to legislators as they determine whether choice legislation has
achieved its intended puiposes. Second, the study describes latent outcomes that have
appeared following charter school legislation. Had the unexpected consequences of
legislation been anticipated prior to the adoption of the law, the legislature might have
reduced implementation boondoggles faced by districts. Again, this information should
prove helpful to legislators as they consider new policy development, particularly in the
area of school choice.
Districts will benefit from this study in several ways. Data on the implementation
of state policy from the sites included in the study is available. Information on reform
measures being implemented in several districts was documented. Perceptions of the
districts internal and external communities with regard to improved educational
practices was summarized.
For public school administrators, this study has value as well. Administrators who
have not found it necessary to address school choice systematically will be able to read
a case study of the efforts of one district that has. School reform measures that have
28


not been legislated will be reviewed with enough detail that other administrators could
emulate or further investigate the efforts if desired. Of greatest significance is that the
information carries with it the caution that express purposes and unanticipated
consequences go hand in hand. Perhaps that will help policy makers at the state and
district levels review policies with an eye to both the manifest and latent outcomes prior
to the adoption of educational legislation.
29


CHAPTER 2
THE FACE OF
CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL REFORM
In the time of Zeus, Prometheus, and Pandora, men lived carefree lives similar to
those of the gods. They had few needs, for food and drink were plentiful, hardship or
strife were nonexistent, and in death they became guardian angels to other men. The
men of this Golden Age lived in harmony with the gods. Men and the gods engaged in
shared activities and pleasures. Together they played, talked, slept, and even at times
shared meals with one another. It was a peaceful time of contentment until Prometheus
played his trick on Zeus. To show his displeasure, Zeus had Pandora, the first
woman, created. Initially perceived as a blessing, it wasnt until time had passed that
men began to see the changes occurring around them and knew that Pandora had some
role in these changes (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 26).
Educations Golden Age
For many Americans, education too had a Golden Age. This popular educational
period took place around the time that many adults were in school themselves. To
some degree, it has been romanticized based on the memories of schooling that they
had experienced during their formative years. In the 25 years that followed World War
II, America experienced a booming economy and a huge expansion in public education.
The enrollment in Americas high schools increased by 50% or more and colleges and
universities were bursting at the seams as enrollments more than doubled. It was
during this period that the educational system of the United States was greatly envied
throughout the world (Berliner & Biddle, 1995, p. 129).
The Golden Age may be attributed in part to the cycle of educational belief that was
30


most prevalent during this time. With the establishment of the common school in the
mid-nineteenth century, it was clear that public education was created for three
purposes which included securing the common good of man, promoting the needs of
individuals in growth and fulfillment, and ensuring a stronger economy and a more
competitive work force. Over time, American education has evolved in a somewhat
cyclical fashion with an emphasis on one given purpose often taking precedence over
the other two.
Efforts during the Golden Age of Education focused largely on the common good.
Reflective of the beliefs of Dewey, this period of education for the common good was
viewed as a means to advance social progress and to overcome divisions between the
educated and uneducated, between the wealthy and the poor, and between races. It
appeared that the American populace would escape class-system practices (Wells,
1993, pp. 7-10). Five new policies cultivated the establishment of educational equality
through adopting compulsory education laws, expanding the system of higher
education, implementing desegregation plans, including handicapped children in the
public schools, and developing compensatory education programs such as Title I and
Head Start (Finn, 1991, pp. 5-7).
Compulsory Education
Where primary education was deemed to be sufficient prior to World War II, after
the war secondary schooling was considered to be an essential part of ones education.
It was at this time that states began to require that everyone go to school for more years
than had seemed adequate in the 1930s and 1940s. While laws vary from state to state,
most states now mandate that children begin school by age six and remain in school
until age sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen. In thirty-seven states kindergarten must be
offered to children that are five years of age and in eleven states children are actually
required to attend kindergarten. While high school completion is not required in any
31


state, public educational opportunities through high school are made available, at no
cost to all young people who wish to attend (p. 6).
Higher Education
With more students attending the nations secondary schools after World War II, the
United States was faced with increased demands from those who wanted to continue
their educations at the nations colleges and universities. It was in response to these
demands that the country built the worlds largest and most accessible system of higher
education. While a higher education is not provided free of charge, subsidized tuition
and financial aid are available for impoverished students (p. 6). Following World War
II, the adoption of the G.I. Bill provided financial support for any veteran who wanted
to attend a college or university. This legislation opened the doors for enormous
numbers of veterans to continue their education. Many of the poor and minority
populations that had not been afforded the opportunity to attend a college or university
before the war were now able to do so (Berliner & Biddle, 1995, p. 36). In the
1990s, postsecondary options legislation made college or university attendance possible
for even more students.
Desegregation
In 1954, the nation still engaged in a system of education that isolated minorities in
schools of their own. It was during this year that the Supreme Court in Brown versus
the Board of Education ruled that separate but equal was an unconstitutional doctrine
and could not be tolerated in Americas public schools. This decision was a major
catalyst for the campaign of simple justice thus targeting the racial segregation of
students. Supreme Court Justices took the position that it was unlikely that any child
denied the opportunity for an education, equal to that of other children, would be able
32


to succeed in life. This precedent-setting decision established opportunities not only for
blacks, but for other minority groups as well (Tyack, 1995, p. 26).
Since the ruling that schools could no longer separate students based on color or
ethnicity, efforts to eradicate segregation in the educational system have been prevalent.
Additional court cases have been tried and the decision to desegregate schools has been
upheld. This has resulted in vast numbers of policies and practices designed to
eradicate discriminatory practices from the nations schools (Finn, 1991, p. 6). This
ruling was a major force in the creation of some of our nations first opportunities for
school choice through freedom-of-choice plans adopted by many southern states.
Handicapped Children
The 1954 Brown judgment gave rise to the formation of groups seeking greater
educational opportunities for other students outside the mainstream of public education
at the time. Advocates for students with physical and mental handicaps argued that a
free and appropriate education was a right that belonged to the disabled. They desired
that handicapped students be educated in the least restrictive environment and often
sought placement for them in regular classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers.
The vision of the advocates was that no longer should a child be labeled, ignored, or
warehoused (Tyack & Cuban, 1995, p. 27). Some of the nations magnet schools are
designed to attract students with specific handicapping conditions. Magnet schools for
blind and deaf students have been popular. In recent years, magnet schools for gifted
and talented students have fallen under the umbrella of exceptional students.
Compensatory Education
In the 1960s, the human capital theory emerged. This theory advanced the belief
that people are poor because they lack capital. In the case of education, this capital
included the skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary for individuals to compete in
33


a technological market place. In 1964, the Council of Economic Advisors prepared a
report that implied that if children who were economically disadvantaged were given the
right skills and knowledge, they wouldnt grow up continuing the cycle of poverty. It
was at this time that compensatory educational programs such as Head Start, Title I,
and Job Corps were born in an effort to fight the War on Poverty (Wells, 1993, p. 20).
In some cases, the pace of change after the Brown ruling was far too rapid for those
who had most benefited from the previous educational order. Opposition to affirmative
action, bussing, mainstreaming, and bilingual classes resulted in conflicts between
opposing groups. Media played up school violence, overcrowding, and drug use.
Teachers were no longer perceived as civil servants as controversies over collective
bargaining, strikes, and racial problems surfaced. Parents became more vocal
demanding that all children be given a fair chance at education, but that their children be
given economic and social advantages.
At the very time when equal opportunities for learning were affording more access
to the underprivileged, the value of education was under fire from social scientists. At
issue were whether poverty could be escaped through education, whether equality of
resources would manifest themselves in equal results, whether schooling made a
difference, and whether the job market was over saturated by citizens too well qualified
for the job. These concerns quickly became fodder for public doubt (Tyack & Cuban,
1995, pp. 28-29).
To some degree, during the 1960s, opinions about public schools continued to
spiral downward because many of the nations citizens lost their trust in government
and other public institutions. For the most part, Americas citizens did not lost their
faith in the value of education. However, those more closely associated with schools
appeared to have more confidence in the ability of schools to meet the needs of the
children than did those with no children in schools nor any other school connection. It
soon became clear that:
34


Public perceptions and expectations of school, have so changed in recent
decades that an institution once secure in the public confidence has regressed
in public esteem to a point where the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s seem another
world, to some even a golden age, despite the obvious inequities of those
decades, (p. 30)
An Era of Excellence
Unfortunately, endeavors to make education more inclusive and to promote the
common good were determined to be, in and of themselves, insufficient means to create
an educational system that would quell the nations distrust in education. Two events
of the late 1960s began to refocus attention on the need for other avenues to achieve
national educational reform. First, U. S. Education Commissioner Francis Keppel
won the approval of the education community to initiate a national assessment program.
His idea was to begin to collect data about the quality and quantity of what children
were being asked to learn. Second, James Coleman and associates published a study,
Equality of Educational Opportunity, that dealt with equity issues of the day. The
upshot of Colemans report was that he found that children's achievement did not vary
based on the amount of resources present in the schools (Finn, 1991, p. 8).
Many efforts were made to modernize or reform education during the 1960s and
1970s. A strong resurgence on the emphasis of the needs of the individual as a learner
emerged. New educational practices that were espoused included affective education,
open education, the use of technology as a learning tool, new math, and the inclusion
of pass-fail courses.
The liberal form of thinking evidenced in the curricular examples cited was perhaps
best embodied by Ralph Waldo Emerson who felt that common schools were too
common and instead promoted looking at student-centered education. He believed that
children should not be told what to learn and do but that each child should be
guaranteed the right to grow as an individual. These beliefs are clearly stated in the
following passage from Emerson on Education:
35


I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of education lies in
respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall
do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secrets.
By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing, he may be hindered
from his end and kept out of his own. (Jones, 1966, pp. 216-217)
Despite efforts to embed an emphasis on the individual into the educational
opportunities that evolved following World War II critics soon emerged to try to put an
end to these practices. The behest to hold students accountable was the sovereign cry
of educators promoting excellence. One main charge was that even though the schools
were promoting individual progress, schools and educational personnel appeared to be
held no more accountable for the progress of their students than had educators during
the previous three decades. Those associated with the conservative agenda in evidence
during the excellence movement valued back-to-basics curriculum, more emphasis on
standardized tests, and high standards. Chester Finn, an assistant secretary of
education under Reagan, argued that liberal policy makers placed too much confidence
in the national governments ability to deploy resources in ways that reduced
consequences of educational differences (Wells, 1993, p. 47). It was at this time that
fundamentalist alternative schools began springing up across the nation.
For a number of years, the reform debate shifted from common good to child-
centered beliefs and back again. Then in 1962, a new purpose for public education
began to emerge, based on the ideas outlined in Capitalism and Freedom. The author,
Milton Friedman, acknowledges the importance of teaching students the values of
society and ensuring individual accountability for knowledge. His concern is that our
current system of schooling is an affront to the ideals of our country because a stable
society is not possible if minimum degrees of literacy and knowledge aren't present and
when a common set of values are not held by the citizens. He does not believe the
system sufficiently emphasizes the contributions each individual must make to secure a
democratic and stable economic society. Because Friedman advocates a new form of
government in which the economic system drives both personal and social good, he
36


states that parents rather than government should be setting the public school agenda
(Friedman, 1962, p. 86). Friedmans beliefs later took form in the school choice
movement, when states began to examine the use of vouchers as a means for promoting
additional educational advancement.
Beginning in the 1950s, choice opportunities began appearing in several different
forms. Freedom of choice plans became one of the first efforts of individuals to make
options available. This cast of schools of choice materialized as students were able to
select a school outside the neighborhood in which they lived in an effort to desegregate
schools. The second form of school choice popular during the 1970s and 1980s was
the alternative school movement. Developed by educators and parents at a grass-roots
level, these schools took many forms. The third type of school choice was the magnet
school movement. Also an effort to desegregate schools, these schools were new
schools designed to attract students of many races. Each of these choice models served
as the foundation for the development of current schools of choice legislation now
evidenced in most states.
Freedom of Choice Plans
In 1955, the year following the first Brown decision, a second decision was
rendered. In this ruling, desegregation in southern public schools was to by carried out
with all deliberate speed. For the most part, districts in the southern United States
were initially resistive to change despite the charge that desegregation practices be
implemented quickly. Southern legislators made public statements of noncompliance
and the south refused to comply with the Supreme Court decisions. By 1957, at least
136 new legal or state constitutional amendments had been introduced in the south in an
effort to delay or prevent school integration. Louisiana, amended it constitution to
require that schools maintain segregation. Mississippi gave the state legislature the
power to close schools if desegregation could not be avoided. In addition, the state of
37


South Carolina cut off funding to any desegregated public school (Henig, 1994, p.
103).
When the efforts of southern states to maintain segregation failed, some districts
implemented freedom of choice plans. These plans were minimal efforts that made it
possible for black students to choose schools that primarily enrolled white students or
white students to attend majority black schools. It was believed that if people didnt
choose to change to mixed-race schools that it would prove southern people preferred
segregated school environments. The system was set up to assign students to
desegregated schools, then offer to any student who was a minority in the new school
setting the opportunity to transfer back to the old school in which their race was the
majority. Henig states that, In practice, this ensured that the formal desegregation
process would be little more than a ritual dance, with little or no impact on the racial
composition of the schools as the students actually experienced them (p. 103).
The freedom-to-choose experience was largely a failure. White students seldom
requested a transfer and black students who did transfer were exposed to harassment or
board denial of their requests. In 1968, the issue of segregation was again brought
before the Supreme Court. The case, Green versus County School Board of New Kent
County, involved a school district in Virginia. Only two schools existed in this small
community. The school on the west side of the city enrolled 740 black students. The
school on the east side of town enrolled the districts 550 white students. The 1964
approval of the Virginia Pupil Placement Act made it impossible for districts to assign
students to a given school. Students were assigned to the school they had attended the
previous year unless the family submitted an application to the state board of education
requesting a transfer and the request was approved.
It was also in 1964 that the Civil Rights Act was passed making it possible for
federal funds to be withheld from segregated institutions. The 1965 New Kent
freedom of choice plan made it possible for students in first through eighth grades to
38


attend either of the districts schools. Students in the other grades could apply for a
transfer or be reassigned to their previous school. Several months before the New
Kent plan went into effect, a group of black plaintiffs sued the state and the school
district charging discriminatory practices. In 1966, the federal district court ruled in
favor of the state. Upon appeal to the Supreme Court, the lower courts decision was
overturned. The decision was interpreted to mean that school districts must do more
than provide the means by which students could desegregate themselves (Wells, 1993,
pp. 63-68).
These early southern schools of choice were motivated by beliefs quite different than
the ones that inspired another opportunity for students to choose schools in other parts
of the nation. Alternative schools were based on the principles of advancement of the
common good, promotion of the needs of individuals, or stabilization of our economic
society sprang up across the nation in the early 1970s. These opportunities took the
form of small, creative alternative schools whose character and structure varied by huge
degrees.
The Alternative Education Movement
The inception of the alternative schools movement in public education became most
prevalent in the United States in the 1970s. At alternative schools an effort was made
to increase educational responsiveness to the needs of individuals while at the same
time to endeavor to incorporate democratic values and promote the common good.
While alternative schools of this era were somewhat varied in nature, several major
educational patterns emerged. It was found that the alternative schools usually
established an invitation for choice, offered distinct educational programs, promoted
schools that were smaller in size, prepared more comprehensive educational objectives.
sought greater school autonomy, and encouraged active participation for students and
parents (Wells, 1993, p. 42-44).
39


Invitation for Choice. By its very definition, the term alternative education indicates
a departure from the norm. It is a means selected by those who think differently about
education and are searching for something not found in the mainstream of public
education (Hegener & Hegener, 1992, p. 16). Most alternative schools offered choices
not found in traditional schools at that time. These schools often attracted staff
members, parents, and students who were interested in approaching education through
more innovative means. Essential to these schools was the ability to offer a curriculum
or instructional program that parents and students would want to choose. For this
reason, considerable variety was found in many alternative schools of the 1970s and
1980s.
Distinct Educational Programs. Unlike the traditional offerings of most schools,
alternative schools usually selected a unique feature upon which to base the school. At
times, a particular curriculum, different teaching methods, a unique school climate or
some combination of these features was offered. Most alternative schools fit into one
of several categories including open schools that were organized around learning
centers; theme schools that offered specialized instruction such as the arts, science, or
mathematics; schools without walls where learning took place in different locations;
continuation schools designed to bring students back into the educational system; or
schools within schools where small programs were housed in a larger school facilities
(Wells, 1993, pp. 42-44).
Smaller Schools. Advocates of alternative schools were advocates for small school
size. These smaller schools were believed to be more conducive to a focus on
individual students and their learning than were larger schools. A 1974 NASP survey
revealed that the vast majority of alternative schools had fewer than 200 students. Very
few of the early alternative schools had more than 500 students in residence (p. 43).
Comprehensive Educational Objectives. Perhaps a fore runner to academic
standards, alternative schools often had well established educational objectives that far
40


surpassed traditional district objectives or graduation requirements. In addition to
academic requirements, alternative schools often worked on self-concept, appreciation
of cultural diversity, promoting individual skills, developing individual talents, and
preparing students for adult roles and responsibilities including those in the field of
work (pp. 43-44).
Autonomy. While complete autonomy from the school district was not possible,
alternative schools endeavored to reduce the amount of bureaucracy to which they were
held. Parental input was found to be the most influential element to the design and
modification of the program or instructional methodology when new alternative schools
were created. This was found to allow for more instructional innovation and an
increase in the ability of staff members to be responsive to the requests of their
constituents (p. 44).
Active Participation. Alternative schools set out to increase the level of participation
of students and parents. Where parents had been less visible in traditional schools,
alternative schools included parents as an integral part of the learning environment.
Parents found that they were better informed about the educational program of their
child and that the school was better prepared to meet their needs (p. 44).
As Americans have struggled to answer how best to address the needs of our
children, becoming involved in public school improvement has become a vehicle to
establish our values, identity, and freedom. Called into question has been the concern
with how to keep a balance between the freedoms of individuals and families and the
rights of the community (Cookson, 1994, p. 2). This balance between the needs of
individuals and the needs of communities has become particularly evident during
political debate of the past two decades.
Magnet Schools
In response to efforts to desegregate Americas schools, school officials were faced
41


with the challenge of creating inventive means to bring racially-different students
together while not alienating parents. To this end, efforts to develop schools for
students and their families to choose versus the forced transfer of students had appeal.
The most popular effort at bringing about school desegregation has been through the
use of magnet schools. These schools often offer distinct educational programs that are
designed to attract students of differing ethnic backgrounds. According to Wells, The
idea is to create schools that offer an enhanced and engaging educational program (s)
that parents of all races prefer to their neighborhood schools.
Magnet schools began as a popular idea in northern schools in the 1970s. These
schools began springing up soon after southern schools were forced to give up
freedom of choice schools and during the time of the advancement of alternative
education. Similar to the alternative schools described in the previous section, magnet
schools offered programs and practices not found in neighborhood schools (p. 75).
The definition of a magnet school has been taken from the work of Blank. He finds
that four characteristics are prevalent in magnet schools. First, they are organized
around a specific curricular theme or instructional model. Second, magnet schools
have desegregation as a primary focus. Third, magnet schools are schools of choice
for students and parents. Fourth, magnet school students are able to attend the school
even if they live outside the schools regular attendance area. For school districts,
magnet schools have been able to bring about school improvement and greater equity.
The popularity of magnet schools increased in many districts during the 1970s and
1980s. According to a federal study on magnet schools, by the 1981-1982 school
year, 1,100 magnet schools were in existence in 138 different school districts. The
mean number of students in magnet schools was 3,100 although the range varied from
125 to 25,000 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Magnet schools were
often found to be located in larger urban districts (Clune &Witte, 1990, pp. 78-79).
Between 1983 and 1990 the growth in the number of students attending magnet
42


schools had increased exponentially. Thirteen of fifteen districts included in Blanks
study had significant increases. He found that during the 1982-1983 school year the
mean average enrollment was 6,055 students; by the 1988-1989 school year, that mean
enrollment had increased to 10,328. Increases of over 100% were experienced in
seven cities (pp. 89-90).
Unlike alternative schools, magnet schools were generally not founded by grass-
roots efforts of parents or teachers. Rather, they usually resulted from court-ordered
desegregation plans or school board efforts to avoid desegregation lawsuits. As such
they have several characteristics that distinguish them from neighborhood schools and
keep their demand high. First, magnet schools are typically found in districts that have
a desegregation plan. Because families are allowed to choose the school, they are often
more popular than non-magnet schools to which students are assigned. Colorful
brochures, television and radio advertisements, and newspaper articles prepared to
showcase the schools often attract students, as well.
Second, magnet schools receive special categorical funding from state departments
and school districts because of efforts to promote choice versus busing. Extra state and
local dollars in combination with special funding available through the Magnet School
Assistance Program, make it possible for magnet schools to offer smaller class sizes
and materials and equipment not available at other schools. Magnet schools often
qualified for as much as $200 more per student than did non-magnet schools (Wells,
1993, p. 88).
The third characteristic is that magnet schools are often able to enroll the most
academically-talented students in the district. Referred to a creaming, magnet schools
are often able to recruit top students and leave harder-to-educate students at
neighborhood schools. This is due to the ability of magnet schools to establish
enrollment criteria such as grades, test scores, or require the completion of complex
applications before selecting a student. In schools with lottery procedures, a
43


combination of selection and lottery selection are often combined. It has been charged
by some that those who are better educated, have connections, and time are more likely
to apply to magnet schools. While not all magnet schools engage in such practices, the
important issues of access and equity are of concern (pp. 81-86).
The early efforts at making choice available were minuscule in comparison with the
rhetoric that began to take place at the national level beginning in the 1980s. It appears
that proponents of school choice came from all walks of life including politicians,
religious leaders, business groups, and union leaders. While some educators and
childrens advocates remained skeptical, choice supporters believed that if parents were
able to select the schools their children would attend, schools would be forced to
become more competitive in a free market system. By the 1980s, several events took
place that brought school choice to the level of national proportion (Kahne, 1996, pp.
92-93).
National Politics of Reform
With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the belief in the need for educational
improvement achieved national status. Reagans conservative perspective gave rise to
initiatives on tuition tax credits, school prayer, and private school vouchers. Reagan
supported the abolishment of the Department of Education, charging that it was an
example of the Democratic Partys eagerness to spend money and enlarge the federal
government. Despite this beliefs about public schools and his efforts to improve the
system, Reagans efforts at changing public education had little impact during the first
two years of his administration (Wells, 1993, pp. 17-18).
Risky Business
The now famous 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, by the National Commission on
Excellence in Education portrayed the American educational system in a new light and
44


raised the state of education to crisis level. This report stated that, The educational
foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that
threatens our very future as a Nation and a people... It also said that, We must
dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all (1983,
P- 1).
This document painted a clear picture that, despite Reagans focus on education,
something was wrong. Based on the opening line indicating our nation was in trouble,
many Americans, for the first time in their lives, began to question the future of our
country and our status to retain the position as a world power. The report clearly
placed blame for our precarious position on difficulties in our current system of public
education.
Soon, A Nation At Risk became the impetus for a movement among conservatives
to gain an even stronger foothold in education. Chester E. Finn, assistant secretary of
education in the Reagan administration, furthered his strong advocacy of educational
conservatism during this period. The conservative education agenda emphasized high
standards, high test scores, a return to basic core subjects, and a sink-or-swim attitude
toward individual achievement (Wells, 1993, p. 47). This agenda was in direct
opposition to the early national emphasis which encouraged all students to participate in
the educational system to their fullest capabilities. Finn charged that allowing liberal
policy makers to define school success in terms of the resources available and the
opportunities of which students could partake was a focus on the wrong factors. He
instead promoted an emphasis on actual student achievement (p. 47).
The battle cry raised by the authors of A Nation At Risk was taken up by other
groups such as the Education Commission of the States (1983), the Business Higher
Education Forum (1983), the Twentieth Century Fund (1983), the Carneige
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1983), the College Board (1983), and
the National Governors Association (1986). A number of respected educational
45


scholars voiced similar concerns (Adler, 1982; Goodlad, 1984; Sizer, 1984), and
embarked on the greatest educational reform in history (Cookson, 1994, pp. 18-19).
Terrel H. Bell, former secretary of the Department of Education in 1984, initiated an
effort to rank the states based on academic performance. Bells approach was to
identify successful and unsuccessful schools, primarily through the use of standardized
college admissions tests such as the SAT and ACT and then to present his findings to
the public. This process has continued since that time and many states have
subsequently raised their high school graduation standards and high school
requirements (Wells, 1993, p. 48).
Standards for students were most commonly evaluated through student progress on
examinations of minimum competency. Generally speaking, competency examinations
set the bar to which all successful students were to rise. Often the attainment of a
minimum score was the determining factor in whether students were allowed to
graduate. In another iteration, schools began expanding the number of academic
courses that were to be taken. Several states set up gateways of achievement that had
to be accomplished before moving to the next grade. A final incentive tactic used was
the restriction on athletic participation if grades were too low (Finn, 1991, pp. 42-43).
With an increase in standards for students came an increase in standards for
teachers. This resulted in a greater effort being placed on teacher competencies. In
1980, only ten states had a system of written testing for teachers prior to hiring. By the
end of the 1980s, forty-four states had adopted competency tests for new teachers.
While many states have adopted the same test, the National Teachers Examination, it is
believed by Finn that the ability of states to determine their own cutoff points has
diluted the effectiveness of the initiative (p. 43).
Beginning in the late 1980s, the concept of learner outcomes was the topic of
discussion in many states. A learner outcome was a statement of what a student needed
to know and be able to do to demonstrate understanding of the subject matter.
46


Educators were challenged to define what it was they wanted students to know and
ways of measuring the progress of students in demonstrating an understanding of the
outcomes. For some educators, this created a shift in thinking as passing was no
longer relegated to the completion of Cameige units. Several states including
Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Minnesota adopted legislation requiring student mastery of
outcomes prior to graduation (Conley, 1991, pp. 113-114).
Well Prepared
In 1986, the Carneige Forum on Education and the Economy published A Nation
Prepared: Teachers for the Twenty-first Century. This report sought the an increase in
the professionalization of teaching and empowerment of parents and students. Authors
of the report believed that through these means school restructuring and innovation
would occur. It was following this report that site-based management became a reform
agenda. The work of districts such as Dade County, Florida and Rochester, New York
became examples of exemplary practice. Since then, many districts across the nation
have adopted and implemented some form of school-based management.
In schools with site-based management, parents are given a stronger voice in
decision-making practices (Cookson, 1994, p. 19). Parents are often members of
decision-making bodies which act in an advisory capacity. As team members they have
decision-making authority on school-related issues such as policy development,
curriculum review, materials selection, hiring, or teacher evaluation. Through the
implementation of this practice, parents have come to play an integral role in many
schools. Clearly, the educational policies of the Ronald Reagan era were instrumental
in bringing educational reform and parental empowerment to national prominence.
America 2000
What Reagan began, George Bush continued during his years in the White House.
47


In 1991, Bush and Lamar Alexander, the Secretary of Education, released America
2000: An Educational Strategy. This document asserted the role of federal
responsibility for public educational excellence in four areas: 1. For todays students,
2. For tomorrows students, 3. For those of us already out of school and in the work
force, 4. For schools to succeed (U. S. Department of Education, 1991, p. 12).
Through implementation of the concepts in this document, Bush and Alexander hoped
school districts would create break-the-mold schools by using share resources from
businesses, community organizations, educational promoters, and think tanks. The
proposal carried with it a two-million dollar education certificate of support and a thirty-
million dollar fund for creating new schools to moved the country forward (p. 36).
Two aspects of the report were perceived to be highly controversial. First, it
proposed that Title I federal monies follow a student to any public or non-public school
the child wished to attend, thereby reducing federal funding. Second, it encouraged
states and local school districts to develop voucher plans that would permit students to
attend both sectarian and non-sectarian private schools at public expense (Young &
Clinchy, 1992, pp. 130-131).
To Market. To Market
Published in 1990, Politics. Markets, and American Schools, furthered the push
toward greater choice. Using ideas first introduced by Friedman in the 1960s, the
authors state that public schools in America are monopolies and that, if faced with
competition, natural operations of markets will require poor performing schools to
change or force them to cease to exist. Chubb and Moe believe that, by allowing
market forces to prevail, government regulation of schools would no longer be
necessary. To the authors, this is exactly the remedy needed if public schools are to be
fixed.
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According to the authors, choice of schools, by itself, is the panacea for the reform
of our public education system. They state:
Choice is a self-contained reform with its own rationale and justification. It has the
capacity all by itself to bring about the kind of transformation that, for years,
reformers have been seeking to engineer in a myriad of other ways. Indeed, if
choice is to work to greatest advantage, it must be adopted without these other
reforms, since the latter are predicated on democratic control and are implemented
by bureaucratic means. The whole point of a thoroughgoing system of choice is to
free the schools from these disabling constraints by sweeping away old institutions
and replacing them with new ones. Taken seriously, choice is not a system-
preserving reform. It is a revolutionary reform that introduces a new system of
public education, (p. 217)
In a position that is even somewhat more controversial, Chubb and Moe began to
promote Friedman's ideas on the use of vouchers in establishing educational
improvement. It is largely Friedman's work that is cited by legislators and lobbyists
when voucher bills are drafted. At times, the threat of vouchers is used to make other
school-reform legislation more palatable.
States Pick Up the Gauntlet
During the 1990s, reformers have recommended new solutions to the issues of
public education. Often adopted by state legislatures, educational choice policy
addresses the demand for "choice" by making new options available. The scope of this
effort is of national proportion. In a special report on school choice prepared by the
Carnegie Foundation, it is stated that, Choice has, without question, emerged as the
single most rousing idea in the current school reform effort. As many states began to
embrace choice philosophy, Minnesota paved the way with its 1987 choice legislation.
Minnesota was soon followed by Michigan and Ohio. By 1992, at least a dozen states
have entered into discussions about school choice legislation and are debating the pros
and cons of such action (Carnegie Foundation, 1992, p. 1). As was true of other
states, Colorado legislators were soon enamored of the possibilities of choice.
Choice in Colorado. Over the past several years, a number of educational issues
49


have met with the intervention of the Colorado Legislature. Through a review of these
interventions, it is obvious that legislators are committed to reform public education in
significant ways. Reform is defined as a change in those actions which focus on
procedures, rules, and requirements of the system and which frequently respond to
pressure from an external entity. In the case of educational reform, this force often is
exerted by boards of education or state policy makers (Conley, 1993, p. 8).
It is not only legislators who are involved with the demand for educational reform.
Parents, educators at colleges and universities, members of the community, and
business people are involved as well. Directly and indirectly, parents and community
members have been invited to take a more active role in education. Through
participation on special task forces for education and on school site-based teams,
citizens are better able to voice their opinions. Use of college facilities and instructors,
adoption of curricula and instructional techniques that are not in keeping with those of
the district, increases in autonomy, and alternative uses of financial resources expand
opportunities for learning. Likewise, school-to-work programs add components of
business training to the school curriculum (Cookson, 1994, pp. 14-16).
Districtwide Choice. One of the first items of evidence that the Colorado Legislature
was interested in promoting themselves as educational policy makers occurred when a
law made intra-district choice possible in 1990. This legislation afforded students the
opportunity to choose a school within their district or area of residence without regard
to neighborhood status. Typically, specialty schools are created by educators and
parents are encouraged to choose the school that best fits their educational beliefs.
Administrators are able to accept or deny requests for attendance based on the
availability of space, and to ensure racial balance (Carnegie Foundation, 1992, p. 1).
Statewide Choice. In 1994, a similar Colorado law was adopted to allow for
interdistrict or statewide choice. Through this legislation, students can select a school
in a district other than the one in which the student resides, but application approval is
50


often contingent on availability of space, desegregation requirements, and the ability of
the student to provide his own transportation. This open-enrollment law makes it
possible for students from other districts within the state to select the schools that they
wish to attend. At issue is that when a district loses students, it also loses funding. It
is believed that if districts begin to lose funding to other districts, the sending district
will improve its educational practices to bring students back into the fold (p. 2). Both
the districtwide and statewide choice laws in Colorado establish more competitive
practices as schools endeavor to attract students.
Private-school choice. Private-school choice or school-voucher plans are often the
most highly disputed form of school choice. These plans make it possible for parents
to send their children to private schools using public funds. This plan is currently in
use in Milwaukee. It was proposed to Colorados voters in 1992, but was defeated by
a two-to-one margin. If it had passed, the Colorado proposal would have given
vouchers worth up to $2,500 to parents who send their children to private schools or
home school them (p. 2). In November 1998, Colorado voters will again be asked to
determine whether public funding of private schools is in the best interest of its
students.
Postsecondarv Options. Postsecondary options legislation was adopted in Colorado
in 1991. This legislation has made it possible for high school students to attend a
college or university for some or all of their course work. In some cases, college or
university personnel are brought to the public schools to teach various courses. These
opportunities make it possible for students to take advanced courses or courses of
special interest that otherwise might not be offered. The public school district in which
the student resides pays expenses, including tuition, school fees, and book charges, out
of its state funding allocation.
Charter Schools Act. A more recent form of choice initiative has been the adoption
of the Colorado Charter Schools Act of 1993. This legislation has been advanced as a
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powerful means to achieve school reform. Charter school advocates believe that the
legislation establishes a different means to address learning and bring about innovative
practices. Charter schools remain public schools but have increased autonomy, control
state funds awarded on a per pupil basis, and may waive state and local policies,
exclusive of those that address safety and discriminatory practices.
Changes in school-choice practices can be observed in most Colorado school
districts. All districts have been faced with changing enrollment practices due to
districtwide and statewide choice laws. Many districts have also experienced a shift in
practices since juniors and seniors have been able take courses at the college and
university level. Approximately one fourth of Colorado districts have had to address
issues related to charter school legislation. In addition, some Colorado districts have
implemented choice options not mandated by law. It is apparent that all Colorado
districts face a variety of effects based on the combination of legislated and non-
legislated choice efforts.
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CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGICAL DESIGN
While most men embraced Pandora, some among them realized that what she
offered was not necessarily what she delivered. These skeptics questioned what they
saw and asked is what more is there, can this be further explained, and to what end
have these occurrences transpired? Mankind has always sought the answers to
complex sociological questions and has devised ways to determine what has taken
place. To do so is to ascribe method to a set of occurrences and to apply order to
disorder. As Schulman states, Method is the attribute which distinguishes research
activity from mere observation and speculation (Jaeger, 1988, p. 3). As the saga of
Pandora unfolds, method is critical to understanding.
Grounded Theory
One method that has proven effective in data collection and analysis is grounded
theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). "The goal of grounded theory is to generate a theory
that accounts for a pattern of behavior which is relevant and problematic for those
involved" (Strauss, 1987, p. 34). Grounded theory has been described as an approach
to qualitative data that helps the researcher move toward a theory without a prior
commitment to a specific type of data, form of research, or theoretical interest. To this
end, it is not a specific method or procedure. Rather, it is a methodological style
adopted by a researcher that includes a number of distinctive features including
theoretical sampling and continuous comparisons of coding to ensure conceptual
development and density (p. 5). Grounded theory emphasizes the need to capture
variation that is prevalent in any research project through developing concepts and
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linkages. A theory that does not adhere to rules, instead, it is recognized that neat
codification of methodology is often not possible. This occurs whenever diverse social
settings and contingencies effect the collection of data and how they are to be analyzed
(p. 7). This study of alternative and charter schools clearly met those conditions.
For this reason, the study was carried out utilizing grounded theory methodology.
Its purpose was to examine the actions taken by the district personnel and those
affiliated with school choice as they relate to the Colorado Charter School Law and
other legislated and non-legislated school choice policies. Four elements of the study
were selected for inclusion. The first section provides an overview of the process used
to select a school district as the unit of study for this case. The second section
describes some of the preliminary data sources that were incorporated. An overview of
the interview process was delineated in the third section of the study. The final section
describes the means for analysis of the data collected.
Definition of the Case
A school district in Colorado, to be known as Vista School District (a pseudonym),
was chosen as the source of data for this study. Individuals from the district cited in
the study have also been given pseudonyms in an effort to protect their anonymity. The
rationale for selection of this district is that over the course of several years a series of
legislative and local policy events caused the district to evolve into a system replete with
multi-faceted choice opportunities.
The first event was the passage of three state laws that resulted in increased
opportunities for choice. The adoption of two of the laws brought about changes in
enrollment practices and made it possible for students within the district and outside
district boundaries to choose the school they wished to attend. The third law made
opened the local community college and university for a number of high school
students through postsecondary options. While these educational concessions can be
54


found in many districts, the number of students electing to change schools or attend
classes at the college level in Vista School District was at 7% during 1997-1998.
The second event was the decision of administrators and school board members to
make alternative schools and programs available to students. Discussion of this
concept began in Fall 1992 when several variables came into play. These variables
included efforts by several groups to create new educational experiences for children.
One group of parents desired to adopt Core Knowledge curriculum, a group of teachers
tried to begin a school-within-a-school at a local elementary without success, and a
second group of teachers had investigated two-way language schools and were anxious
to develop a school based on these principles. Concurrently, a group that had opened a
hands-on science program for students became interested in obtaining space in a district
facility and an administrator who had a vision of centralizing early childhood programs.
It was at this time that a second variable emerged. New construction had been
underway in the district and as a result it became common knowledge that three
facilities were being vacated and that the district had no immediate plans for use of the
buildings. The third variable thrown into the mix was the discussion of choice
occurring at the national level. New trends for states to approve charter schools had
surfaced in Minnesota and California. Other states, including Colorado were
discussing this possibility and administrators in Vista School District were aware that
the legislation would likely pass in Colorado (Polk, Interview Data, 1997).
Based on these variables, a district created alternative schools policy was established
in 1992. The policy made it possible for teachers or parents to apply to try a curriculum
or instructional practice not found in the neighborhood schools. After application and
community review processes were completed, the board of education determined that a
Language Immersion School, a Core Knowledge School, an Experiential School, an
Early childhood program, and a hands-on science program would be approved. Initial
approval later resulted in the creation of three new alternative school-within-a-school
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programs. These programs include a high school International Baccalaureate program,
a junior high International Baccalaureate program, and a junior high Core Knowledge
program.
The third event that made this district intriguing was that of the two charter school
applications in 1995, one was dropped by the applicants and the second completely
worked through the system of application and appeal outlined in the charter law. The
Fall 1995 Core Knowledge Charter School application was made by a faction of
parents that had originally worked with the alternative Core Knowledge School. After
community hearings and board of education discussion, the application was denied by
the local board in December 1995, an appeal was heard by the state board of education
in February 1996, and the decision was remanded back to the district at that time. In a
second round of negotiations, the charter was conditionally approved by the district, a
second appeal was filed, and the state board of education upheld the districts decision.
Although it had local board approval, the applicants found that the conditions placed on
the charter were so restrictive in nature that they decided to abandon the idea for the
charter school.
The fourth event that took place in Vista School District was the approval of the
charter school that had unsuccessfully applied the previous year. The school, Freedom
Charter School, modified its application and the general tenor of the negotiations
process appeared to be somewhat more congenial. The charter was ultimately approved
and Freedom Charter School opened as the first charter school in Vista School District
in Fall 1997.
While the original intent of this study was to look at the outcomes and effects of
charter schools on one school district, the close connection between the alternative Core
Knowledge School and Freedom Charter exists. This connection has caused a blurring
of the lines of demarcation between the schools and has resulted in a need to include
both alternative and charter-school data in this study.
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The fifth event that made this district a prime candidate for study was a facility issue
that began to evolve at about the same time the charter application was being reviewed.
With the granting of permanent status to the alternative schools, several of the people
affiliated with the alternative Core Knowledge School believed that the district was
obligated to provide them a permanent location. At that time, the alternative school was
housed in a wing of a vacated high school and staff and parents of the school wanted to
move to an elementary setting. With no vacant elementary buildings in Vista School
District, district officials first suggested that 450 students at Patterson Elementary (a
pseudonym) be transferred to other buildings. This would entail sending the students
to seven different Vista School District sites.
A task force ultimately recommended that the Patterson site not be turned over to the
Core Knowledge School. A full year of negotiations ensued. It was determined that,
for the 1997-1998 school year, the Core Knowledge School would remain at its then
high school site. In the interim, it was suggested by one school administrator that a
new facility be built to house the Core Knowledge School. This plan was approved
and the building of a new elementary school was begun. The staff and students of the
alternative Core Knowledge School moved into the new facility in December 1998.
The combination of these events and variables was essential to this study because it
demonstrated that individuals within the district were aware of increasing parental
demands for choice, have acted to ensure that those demands were addressed, and have
considered various alternatives to accommodate the needs expressed by members of the
community. The intended and unintended outcomes of these choice scenarios and the
effects on the district are evident through examination of a variety of data related to the
study.
Preliminary Data Collection
Prior to beginning the study, human subjects permission was granted by the
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University of Colorado at Denver (See Appendix A). In addition, district permission
was obtained both formally and informally. The alternative schools and programs in
Vista School District are currently the responsibility of the Executive Director of
Schools, Steven Polk (a pseudonym). Mr. Polk is an advocate of schools of choice
and assisted the alternative schools and programs in a variety of ways. I spoke with
Mr. Polk in Spring 1996 and found that he would be willing to be interviewed should
the study be conducted in Vista School District. Jack Greene (a pseudonym), the
Director of Research and Evaluation whose responsibilities include approving and
denying research applications. Mr. Greene was most helpful in providing me with
information on district protocol. Following his advice, a letter of introduction
describing the project was submitted to the superintendent of schools. I was able to
speak to him about my interests in charter schools and in the district during an
interview. At the bidding of the superintendent, central office administrator Stephen
Polk graciously gave his permission for the study to be done in Vista School District
(See Appendix B).
Initial Use of Artifacts. This second part of the methodology section was the sample
selection process. The primary data gathering tool for use in the study was the
interview process. Before interview candidates could be selected, it was necessary to
determine who the most important participants in school choice matters had been.
Because this study focused primarily on past events, developing a collection of
historical information was critical to complete before making a decision about whom to
interview. Data reviewed included board policies and other written information on
school choice that the district provided to parents and community members. Articles
from the Local Newspaper published in Hail, Colorado were quite valuable in the
identification of key participants. Conducting an examination of excerpts from both
video tapes and written minutes of school board meetings and public hearings that
include discussions of choice policy added valuable information on key individuals.
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These data were also used to triangulate information shared by interviewees during data
analysis (Yin, 1994, pp. 91-94).
Candidate Selection. Following review of these data, initial informants were
selected for interviews, using three main strategies. First, data gathered from artifacts
were used to generate a list of individuals who were heavily involved in the dialogue on
school choice and charter schools. Many of these names came from letters to the editor
and articles in the Local Newspaper. This source netted names of district administrative
personnel, school board members, parents and staff associated with the application or
implementation of an alternative or charter school, advocates for alternative or charter
schools with no connection to the operation of the schools, opponents of alternative and
charter schools, and members of a community coalition formed to support public
schools.
Second, school district departments that have been heavily affected by school choice
policies were targeted, and key representatives of those departments were interviewed.
The initial list was developed based on my experiences as the Alternative Schools
Project Manager for Vista School District during the 1994-1995 school year. A matrix
of departments in Vista School District was created to provide an initial profile of
potential interviewees. Three members of the local board of education with different
perspectives on choice issues were included in the matrix. All three agreed to be
interviewed.
Individuals selected to represent district administration were those who would have
interacted with alternative or charter school applicants in some capacity. They included
the superintendent, two assistant superintendents, an accountability representative, two
representatives from the finance department, the head of the facilities department, a
representative from risk management, the assessment coordinator, the head of
information systems, a personnel officer, a public relations staff member, and a
representative from the special education department.
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In addition, four principals and the president of the local educational association
were selected for interviews. One principal was selected because she served as the
administrator for the Language Immersion School during the 1997-1998 school year.
One principal was selected because she was assigned to a site that was in danger of
being dismantled due to alternative school facility needs. One principal was selected
because he served on the alternative school review team. The last principal was
selected because her site lost many students to an alternative school.
Several representatives of alternative schools and charter schools, including staff
and parents, were invited to participate in an interview. Two representatives from the
Language Immersion School and two from the Experiential School were sent
introductory letters. No one from the Language Immersion School responded. One
representative from the Experiential School returned the form and was interviewed.
The headmaster of the alternative Core Knowledge School was interviewed. Three
parents associated with the alternative Core Knowledge School but who were not
connected with the charter school were invited to participate in the study. Two did not
return the consent form and therefore were not interviewed. One parent with children at
the alternative Core Knowledge School was interviewed. Two parents who had come
out in support of Core Knowledge, but did not have children enrolled in the Core
Knowledge School were invited to take part in an interview. One agreed to do so.
Six of the people who decided to leave the alternative Core Knowledge School in
support of the charter school were sent letters of introduction. Four of these
individuals agreed to be interviewed, two did not respond. It is interesting to note that
a substantial number of alternative and charter school representatives declined my
invitation. It was explained to me by one of the charter school applicants that few
people were willing to participate in the interview due to my connections with the
school district. As he explained it, little trust existed between charter applicants and
district representatives. Because I was viewed as a district representative, he was sure
60


that alternative and charter school proponents felt that they would be treated unfairly if
they participated in the study (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997).
At the initial contact stage, a total of 39 letters were sent out to those identified as
logical interview candidates. While not all of those invited to participate did so, the
response was largely favorable and a variety of interests were represented. The
demographics of this group included two individuals who worked with the
communitys research and development center. Both had been involved in research on
schools of choice and were knowledgeable about the topic. Twenty-one individuals
served as representatives of the school district. Of the twenty one, three were school
board members, thirteen were central office administrators, four were principals, and
one was the president of the education association.
From the original list, ten individuals associated with one of the alternative schools
were sent letters and invited to take part in an interview. Of the ten, only four agreed to
be interviewed. Six charter applicants were asked to participate in the study as it was
originally conceived. Four agreed to be interviewed. After the first round, 31
interviews were completed. All district personnel participated, eight of the alternative
or charter school affiliates did not respond to the request for an interview. The lack of
respondents representing the alternative and charter school position was of concern.
For that reason, second letters were sent to the eight alternative and charter school
advocates who had not responded to the first letter. Despite this effort, none of these
participants answered the second letter.
The third strategy for selecting interview candidates was network selection
(Merriam, 1988, p. 50). This method involved interviewing an individual and asking
that individual to provide the names of others who should be interviewed. The
responses to this question resulted in the inclusion of 14 interviewees beyond those
identified in the original interview matrix. One new board member was added to the
list. A principal who had worked as a facilitator in the alternative school site dispute
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was included. Four parents who joined the coalition in support of public education
were included on the second list. Two teachers at the alternative Core Knowledge
School were also suggested and it was mentioned that I add the name one of the
teachers who had started the high school International Baccalaureate program. The
name of a principal of a parochial school along with names of four parents associated
with the charter school were referenced.
As a result, fourteen new letters were sent in September 1997 produced four
additional interviews. The second round of respondents interviewed included the
principal and three members of a coalition in support of public schools. Unfortunately,
no additional alternative or charter school personnel or advocates responded to my
requests. The principal of the parochial school did not contact me or send back the
response form. As a result, these data reflect the opinions of fewer staunch advocates
for alternative or charter schools than district supporters. Despite the smaller number of
responses from school-choice advocates, every effort to represent their perspectives
was made.
Development of the Interview Instrument
It is through the interview instrument that Lasswell's (1971) Social Processes
Model (See Figure 3.1) was first woven into this study. This model was selected
because the categories identified by Lasswell make it possible to move from an
institutional look at school policy to a process that includes a sense of contextuality.
Merton and Stinchcombe have created models that look at decisions in which
institutional patterns shape decisions and result in consequential behaviors. The
perspective of Lasswell is somewhat different. He has created a model that starts with
an emphasis on the individual components in the decision-making process. In his
model, participants including groups, organizations, institutions, and categories of
individuals, engage in interactions and utilize institutions to affect resources (p. 18).
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FIGURE 3.1
LASSWELLS SOCIAL PROCESS MODEL
Participants or actors are those who take part in a given action or
series of actions as individuals or members of groups.
Perspectives or perceptions of the choices available to them
are considered by the participants. At times, more than one choice
is possible. More than one impulse may be present at one time. It is
possible that not all perceptions are valid.
Situations are the zones in which individuals or groups interact.
Situations may include where and how, may be organized or dis-
organized, and may be value rich or exclusive.
Base values include positive and negative assets, perspectives,
and capabilities. Participants tend to act in a manner that will maximize
values and increase gratification. Resources may be affected as a result.
Strategies are used to manage base values in ways to effect value
outcomes. Strategies include symbols, signs, nonsign operations,
and nonsign resources.
Outcomes are culminating events. They are often influenced by
base values and decisions.
Effects are the consequences of a decision.
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Using the categories suggested by Lasswell, an interview instrument was designed.
The questions are reflective of Lasswells categories and in most cases more than one
question in each category was written (See Appendix C). In some cases, the responses
to a single question were found to fit more than one of Lasswells categories.
The first type of question on the interview instrument focused on the participants in
the school choice discussion. Two questions related to participants were incorporated
into the study. (Tell me about the role youve played in alternative school programs in
your district. Who do you feel have been the key players in making choices available?)
Those individuals selected to participate in the interviews were limited to local district
personnel, alternative school applicants, charter school advocates, and members of a
coalition in support of public schools. However, as the study developed it became
evident that participants from the legislature and state board of education also could
serve as informants. Such a broad range of participants was sought in an effort to
make sure that the outcomes and effects described by the participants were inclusive of
the opinions of a variety of people.
Understanding what perspectives people hold about the choices available to them is
the second level of Lasswells Social Process model. Perspectives are the thoughts or
opinions held by the participants in the study. According to Lasswell (p. 44),
perspectives are inferences derived from two types of data. One type is obtained
through the summarization of information. The other is obtained through participation
in acts of collaboration. While it is clear that experiences with alternative and charter
schools are the common thread that runs through the interviews, it is also clear that each
individual interviewed brought to the interview a unique perspective on the subject.
Interview questions designed to determine the interviewees perceptions of the law and
how other public school personnel were reacting to the charter school elicited
perspectives quite effectively. (What factors precipitated the communitys recognition
of the need for schools of choice? Given that the Charter School Act was passed after
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alternatives schools were approved in your district, what are your views on the law?
How are personnel at other schools in the district reacting to the charter school law?)
Most respondents appeared to answer the questions with candor.
Information on the situation in which the decisions about choice were made helps
create a better understanding of the relationships among individuals and groups within
the study. Another way of explaining a situation is to look at it from the perspective of
the context of where and how the interactions occurs. Lasswell also refers to situations
as arenas in which the degree of involvement may be high or low, where the adjustment
of interests guides the arrangement of the situation, and where participants vie for
optimal advantages (p. 45). As with the other key areas, questions about alternative
and charter school situations were incorporated into the study. Within the community,
for a variety of reasons, people began negotiating for choice opportunities. (To the best
of your memory, when did the district begin to look at making choices available? What
were the initial schools of choice from which people could select?)
Developing a level of knowledge about the base values of those involved in making
the decisions about choice and the impact of these values on resources was important to
this study. In his process model, Lasswell sees participants as working to maximize
their values and increase their gratification. For this reason, questions on values have
been incorporated into the interview instrument. The reasons individuals or groups
sought choice and elements of the legislation found to be helpful and harmful were
identified through responses to questions. As Lasswell describes base values, he
believes that both positive and negative values are involved in social processes. He
established eight value categories to which he ascribes all value decisions. Value
categories include power, enlightenment, wealth, well-being, skill, affection, respect,
and rectitude (p. 18). Evidence of most value categories were reflected in interviewee
responses to these questions. (Who initiated efforts to make schools of choice available
and what were their reasons for doing so? How did members of the district respond to
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the Charter School Act? What parts of the legislation concern the district and what parts
has the district found most useful?)
Strategies are the means or techniques employed to manage base values and bring
about value outcomes (p. 26). Among the strategies included in this category are
communicative and collaborative strategies. Communicative strategies may include the
way messages are conveyed and the degree of accuracy of the messages. Collaborative
strategies may include sharing of resources or levels of compromise. Questions to
determine how strategies are incorporated by those within different groups making
decisions or being affected by decisions were incorporated into the interview. (How
are things progressing between members of the school board and charter school
representatives? What evidence of community support and/or opposition toward the
charter school have you seen?)
Decision outcomes can be described in several ways, but generally are most
succinctly defined as the benefits or deficits of the social process. Lasswell
incorporates different levels of outcomes development and recognizes that outcomes are
possible at any stage of the policy act. Included in the model are seven power
outcomes, including intelligence, promotion, prescription, invocation, application,
termination, and appraisal. While Lasswell may have intended that a reference to each
outcome be included in the investigation of outcomes, I chose to integrate the power
outcomes into two questions in a manner that provided a broad spectrum of outcomes
information (pp. 32-35). The two questions were designed to identify outcomes.
(What has been the impact of making school choice available? In what ways has the
approval of the districts charter affected other programs?)
Effects are the long-term results of a policy decision and are usually evident over
time. Because effects can encompass many variables, categories of effects were not
designated by Lasswell (p. 48). Effects may spread out from the organization from
which they emanated and may have the greatest direct impact the policy institution. In
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my structural analysis model (See page 24) the effects of policy implementation have
great implications for public schools. Effects also influence religious organizations,
businesses, the government, families, and the community in general. The effects of the
decision to move toward more choice through legislative efforts is central to the results
of this study. A speculative question was posed about the effects of choice. (Where do
you believe charter schools will be in five years?)
In addition, I asked interviewees to share information that they believed to be
important that had not been addressed through the questions. I also included a question
designed to solicit the names of other potential interviewees, and I asked if I might
contact the interviewee if other questions arose. At times, additional information was
asked in a tangential fashion. These responses were included throughout the study,
where appropriate. In several cases, follow-up calls were made to request additional
information about an answer. These responses are listed as personnel communication
items.
The Interview Process
While it was originally intended that the interview process be conducted in two
phases with the first phase to include informal discussions with central office
administrators, for the most part this did not happen. In only three cases were informal
conversations held prior to the formal interview. One conversation took place with
Jack Greene before the study was approved. At this time, we discussed an overview of
the study and appropriate protocol to follow. The other two conversations were similar
in nature to the Greene conversation. Both took place prior to my obtaining permission
for the study. During these conversations, the basic intent of the study was shared.
Both administrators were asked if the district could sanction such as study since I was a
district employee. Both agreed that the study was acceptable.
After obtaining district approval, formal interviews were conducted. A total of 35
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interviews were completed and interviewees included board members, members of
central office staff, building administrators, those in key roles in several alternative or
charter schools, and citizens opposed to the efforts of the district to include more choice
models. Appointments for interviews were scheduled between May and October 1997.
The interviews were conducted between one individual and myself. We met in a
location selected by the person who was interviewed. Some interviews took place at
the central administration building, others were held at my office, a few were conducted
at the business offices of the interviewees, several took place in private homes, and one
was conducted in the lobby of a hotel. Interview participants were given a copy of the
interview questions a few minutes before the interview began. They had been informed
in the letter of introduction that the interview would be tape recorded, but that their
name would not be used during the session or included on any written transcript of the
sessions. Two transcriptionists were used. Neither was given access to the names of
the individuals on tape. Most interviews took approximately 45 minutes. In three
cases, interviews were longer than 90 minutes. For some individuals, the need to
elaborate on their role with an alternative or charter school took additional time.
Data Analysis
Analysis of data in this case study was complicated due to the amount of data that
was collected. Well over 100 newspaper articles, brochures from various Vista District
schools, alternative and charter school applications, district publications about choice
opportunities, school board meeting minutes, and transcripts from 35 interviews were
among the data that informed this study.
Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze the data. This form of analysis
is known as grounded theory because it emphasizes the development of actual theory
using data that are obtained from contents of the interviews and other artifacts (Strauss,
1987, p. 22). The methodology outlined in this work includes an analysis that is so
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detailed that sentence by sentence or phrase by phrase analysis was often conducted.
While a theory was not developed as a part of the study, the methodology suggested by
Strauss was used including open and axial coding, memo writing, theoretical sampling;
and data integration.
Coding. Grounded theory has a number of key components that may be ordered in
different ways. At the earliest stages of this research project, little effort was made to
try to fit data into neat packages. Much of the information specific to the school district
and community were gathered from newspaper articles. When first reading the articles,
I wrote different categories on the margins of the photocopied pages. I gave myself the
freedom to read and spontaneously write categorical information and made little effort
to try to find like categories between articles.
At times, I highlighted statements or quotations that seemed particularly informative.
Several instances occurred when I added descriptive terms such as brash, paranoid, or
self-righteous, based on the feelings that came to mind when I read an article. This
preliminary procedure leant itself to the generation of impressions, a method that is
viewed as lacking in density, absence of a relationships among the codes or ineffectual
development of codes (pp. 55-56).
Open-coding. Instead, Strauss encourages a researcher to read repeatedly the
information and analyze data at a minute level. This was the second step that I followed
in the analysis of the data I had collected. Once I had read and reread the articles as
number of times, I began the process of identifying core categories to which different
phrases, sentences, or general impressions could be assigned.
To demonstrate the way this process worked, I described the identification of one
core category and some of the thought processes that ensued. School choice has been
the topic of heated debate in the district in which this research was conducted. Because
the feelings and attitudes of key individuals were so apparent in the newspaper articles,
the first core category that I selected was that of attitudes related to school choice.
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The obvious sub-categories at which I began looking were the attitudes of
supporters of choice and opponents of choice. This categorization had to be eliminated
soon after it was begun because few people were found to disagree with the concept of
school choice. Rather, it was the manifestation of different forms of school choice and
the ramifications of a given choice that were found to be most troublesome. At that
point, I adopted a new course for categorization.
The category of attitudes was then pursued through the perspectives of district and
non-district personnel. To some degree, this held up over time, but was a less effective
grouping when it came to alternative school staff who were employed by the district,
but were highly critical of some of the policies employed by the district. These sub-
categories were soon abandoned in favor of the development of a different core code.
My third coding effort resulted in the creation of the sub-categories of individual
promotion and collective advancement. Although some problems with these categories,
for the most part I was able to ascertain the motivation of those cited in newspaper
articles and later in other artifacts and interview responses. Those ascribed the category
of individual promotion were those people seeking an education that they believed was
in their childs best interest with little consideration for other children. Those assigned
the category of collective advancement had the interest of society in mind in addition to
that of their own child. The sub-categories of individual promotion and collective
advancement were subdivided further into coercive and collaborative strands based on
whether the individual believed he was able to work with the district or whether he felt
it necessary to fight for what he wanted.
This funneling process was expanded to incorporate all vital examples of attitudinal
data. Throughout the coding process, efforts were made to examine data with reference
to the conditions presented, the interactions taking place, the strategies being used, and
the consequences that resulted. This coding paradigm is one of several that are
suggested for use by Strauss (pp. 27-28).
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Axial Coding. Once several core codes were identified, axial coding could take
place. This form of coding occurs when one category has been analyzed and other
categories can be viewed in relationship with the selected category. In my study, one
example of axial coding was successfully utilized when a correlation between attitudes,
legal actions, and school board behaviors was drawn. Without going into explicit
detail, use of axial coding showed that the relationships between the actions of the local
school board in filing a lawsuit against the state board of education and charter
applicants, the denial of the charter applicants appeal by the state board, and ensuing
comments attributed to charter applicants were more closely intertwined. In one
situation, the Clinton-like denial of one board member of using guarded language and
not fulling admitting that what he had said when under pressure was easier to
understand. Axial coding was helpful in ensuring that appropriate categories had been
selected during the open-coding process. Although Strauss describes other forms of
coding, it was open coding and axial coding that were most heavily utilized during this
study.
Memo Writing. Memo writing is the behavior that brings the researcher to the
discovery, development, and formulation of grounded theory. After coding, I wrote
down the ideas that were stimulated during the coding process (p. 109). At first, the
memos that I wrote were similar to the ones described by Strauss. Frequently the
phrases, dont forget or think about were written in an effort to specify those
impressions that seemed most pertinent to what had been done during the coding
session.
While Strauss encourages researchers to use note paper or type the memos, one
procedure that I found to be quite helpful when reviewing artifacts was to use index
cards on which the title or name of the artifact was listed, the date on which the memo
was written, and any specific point that I wanted to remember. I was then able to look
for patterns and integrate information from one source to another. A second procedure
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that contributed to conceptual development of this study was to create a document,
assign a memo heading and paste quotes from interviews to the document. In addition,
I was able to add my own impressions.
An example of this process occurred during a review of two categories of facility
issues. During the period in which discussions about the location of an alternative
school were being made, several possible solutions were suggested. Most met with
some form of community resistance. The first category resulted when the alternative
Core Knowledge School requested that they be allowed to remain in a section an old
high school in which they had been housed. District administrators argued that the sale
of the high school was necessary to increase the facility improvement balance. Much
public uprising was evident when community members debated the pros and cons of
such a move.
Later, the suggestion that the district displace students from an existing
neighborhood school was met with resistance by parents of those students. This
resulted in a stronger alliance of those associated with the school and the creation of a
coalition of parents and community members who supported public schools.
A suggestion that a modular campus be constructed for use by all of the alternative
schools was another proposal that met with concern. The alternative schools would
share some buildings such as a gym and cafeteria. The cost of such a facility was high
and thought to be cost prohibitive by the districts business department. This idea was
then abandoned in favor of a permanent facility.
The decision that a new facility be erected for use as a Core Knowledge School was
exciting to those advocating for a new site. Two sites were discussed. A site in the
northern part of town was abandoned and instead the school was built in the most
rapidly developing part of the community. Students living in the neighborhood will
now be bused to other locations within the city. This situation has been under recent
attack by those living in the Core Knowledge Schools attendance area.
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A second facility category was created and included statements about the charters
schools facility demands including the request that the early childhood center and
hands-on science program be moved from their existing location so that the charter
could use the facility. Members of the charter group argued that neither of these
programs were schools for K-12 students. Charter advocates also suggested that one
junior high building house the a strand of the Core Knowledge junior high school
program. Under this proposal, students would be moved to other junior high sites over
time.
Charter applicants made a plea to the district for additional facility financing. A
request that was denied by the district. Days before final facility and budget plans were
due to the board of education, charter applicants made a request to the board for a loan
of $900,000. This request was also denied by the local board of education and the
charter applicants had to resort to obtaining a loan from a financial institution that
specializes in making loans to charter schools.
By the end of negotiations both the alternative Core Knowledge School and the
charter school were able to obtain wonderful facilities. For a short time I questioned
whether the charter applicants and alternative Core Knowledge School affiliates might
have conspired to assure that more students would be able to avail themselves of Core
Knowledge and that suitable facilities could be procured. This hypothesis was later
abandoned because there was clear disdain of charter interviewees toward those who
remained with the alternative program. In addition, no evidence could be found to
support the theory.
Theoretical Sampling. Throughout the study explanatory sampling was used
extensively. According to Strauss, this component of grounded theory is explained as
the process whereby the analyst decides on analytic grounds what data to collect next
and where to find them. Theoretical sampling is the framework through which the
researcher is reminded to continue to ask what individuals or groups are involved, what
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events have occurred, what activities have taken place, and what additional information
is needed to increase understanding. The process evolves over time and is controlled
by changes in emerging explanation (p. 38).
At most every turn I found myself in need of additional documentation to support
hypotheses as they evolved. For example, as the question about the affects of school
choice on neighborhood schools surfaced, it was imperative to obtain current
information about neighborhood schools, their enrollment conditions, demographic
information, test scores, and measures taken by the schools to increase enrollment.
This was done through a variety of means, including contacting a representative of the
districts information department to gather 1998 statistics on numbers of students
exiting and entering each elementary as a school of choice request, accessing district
demographic and test score information on their homepage, and contacting elementary
principals via e-mail.
Integration of Data. Strauss defines integration as the ever-increasing organization
(or articulation) of the components of the theory (p. 21). He refers to integration as
the most difficult skill to be learned by a researcher, and I found this to be the case.
Strauss describes the features of integration as the orchestration of the important
categories and the emphasis on focus through a series of memos. He describes the
process as the sorting of memos from which new memos are written. To manage this
process, he feels that developing a series of integrative diagrams is most helpful (p.
170). The flow charts and diagrams presented by Strauss are reminiscent of the
organizational tools espoused through the total quality management movement of the
1980s (Deming, 1986).
Strauss offers several rules of thumb by which to approach data integration. He
suggests that researchers begin by choosing the next set of issues that they need to
address, making an operational first diagram, using the diagram to evaluate where you
are in a study, and raising questions continuously. This is followed by creating a
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second diagram that incorporates modifications suggested in the first effort, and
repeating the steps outlined in the first description. This procedure should be followed
until the information has all been integrated successfully (pp. 182-183).
It was at this point that my adherence to grounded theory methodology became less
compliant. While parallel timelines of alternative and charter school events were
developed and a few relationship illustrations were drawn early in the data analysis
portion of the study, these practices fell off as I became more heavily involved in
writing the dissertation. I abandoned the use of diagram generating at this time. I did
adhere to the components of grounded theory with respect to thorough data collection,
meticulous analysis, and accurate record keeping. All data included for use in this
study were carefully kept and examined. The actual artifacts collected, interview
transcripts, notes compiled when information was coded, memos written, enrollment
charts, tables, and figures provided many insights into the interconnections between
neighborhood schools, alternative schools, and the charter school. Engaging in
additional integration activities may have been useful in providing alternate
organizational formats.
Problem Significance
Functional analysis can be best understood as "the practice of interpreting data by
establishing their consequences for larger structures in which they are implicated"
(Merton, 1957, p. 47). Structural analysis searches for the determinants of the
phenomenon in its structural context" (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). Elements of both
functional analysis and of structural analysis have strong implications for understanding
the role of school choice legislation in the public schools. In proposing legislation, the
drafters of the school-choice bills had definite purposes in mind. Laws were designed
to create opportunities for more parental involvement, to expand educational horizons
for students, to bring about more innovative curricular and instructional practices, and
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to further school reform efforts. When the results of these legislative efforts are
realized as they are intended, they are known as manifest or anticipated outcomes.
Latent functions are the unanticipated consequences that often follow manifest
functions. In school districts throughout the state of Colorado, latent functions of
choice legislation started to appear soon after the legislation was passed. A number of
latent functions include, but are not limited to, efforts by some districts to skirt
legislated choice policies or interpret the law in ways designed to minimize its effects.
In many ways implementing choice has caused divisiveness between some choice
advocates and district personnel. Choice legislation has brought about reductions in the
options available to parents because it has made it impossible for some private schools
to continue to compete. In addition, an increase competition has occurred as public
schools have made efforts to entice students from other public schools. It is possible
that with some consideration of the possible ramifications of this legislation prior to its
passage a law could have been written that would have created greater likelihood of
fostering educational reform. In addition, the establishment of a law with less need for
constant revision might have resulted.
Through the use of method, I have begun to understand what Pandora looks like
and what she stands for. I have been able to identify her relationship to those around
her. It is my hope that through reading about this case others will view the manifest
outcomes of Pandoras appearance and will begin to see the influence she holds for
many men and will understand that the relationship holds future implications.
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CHAPTER4
MANIFEST OUTCOMES: PANDORA EMBRACED
Skin as fair as white marble, sapphire eyes, and lips of ruby red, Pandora was a
vision of splendor when she came to live among mortals. Few could resist her beauty
and grace. While created in the likeness of the goddesses, Pandora was a unique
creature. Physical beauty and ability to love from Aphrodite, wisdom and knowledge
of the ways of man from Athena, and cunning from Hermes were combined into this
one being. Many men embraced her and envisioned an improved future (Roberts,
Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 28).
Perhaps bringing man to embrace the Pandora of their creation was the intention
when our state policy makers created the charter school legislation. They may have
envisioned a the creation of a new and wondrous entity that would be far superior to
anything that had come before it. Admittedly, for some the charter school movement is
hard to resist and it appears that the policy makers have made a decision to allow for
charter schools was a positive one.
When making the decision to write a charter school law, like a policy decision of
any type, it is important to recognize that certain outcomes or results are bound to
occur. Lasswells definition of outcomes is a many-faceted one that is based on
elements of his social and decision process models. He describes outcomes in terms of
the values at stake and the enforceability of commitments under the duress of the
challengers sanctions (Lasswell, 1971, p. 27).
For Lasswell, decision outcomes occur when participants, each with distinctive
subjective perspectives, come to a situation to make a decision. In this setting, the
values of each participant are managed through the use of strategies to affect the
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outcomes. Lasswell believes that outcomes develop at different stages of the decision
process. While his model was designed to be used as an integral part of the process
during the development phase, elements of the model can be applied equally well to the
results of decisions that have already been made. In this study, Lasswells model is
used in this retrospective, analytical fashion. Concluding comments in Chapter Eight
will speak to implications for future policy development.
To differentiate further the elements of outcomes, the concept of manifest and latent
outcomes will be incorporated. Merton defined manifest outcomes as those objective
consequences for a specified unit (person, subgroup, social or cultural system) which
contribute to its adjustment or adaptation and were so intended; the second referring to
unintended and unrecognized consequences of the same order (Merton, 1957, p. 63).
Morton felt that the distinction between the two was an essential one to use in aiding
systematic observation and analysis of social problems and phenomena. While not the
first to address the concept of manifest and latent consequences, Merton recognized the
importance of differentiating between manifest and latent consequences and understood
that it is often the latent outcomes that are often more important than the outcomes that
were anticipated.
This chapter examines manifest outcomes, those results that were intended by policy
makers actions. Two categories of information will be analyzed. First, the Colorado
Charter School Act lists specific principles, purposes, and intentions of the law. A
summary of data that pertain to the implementation of charter schools will be made in
the section on legislative outcomes. In evaluating interviews with legislators, it became
apparent that some legislators had intentions not expressly written in the law. These
intentions are reviewed and evaluated in the second section on legislators preferred
outcomes.
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Legislative Outcomes
On June 3, 1993, the Governor of Colorado, Roy Romer, signed the Colorado
Charter Schools Act. The law was written to embody several key elements to help
those implementing the law to understand what should result from its adoption. The
first two pages of the law identify its basic principles, purposes, and intentions. From
these two pages, the manifest consequences of the charter school legislation were
derived.
The expressed principles of the act were threefold. The first principle said that the
state needed to provide all children with schools in which high expectations were the
norm and that conditions in schools be such that these high expectations could be met.
The second principle identified the need for educational reform and stipulated that
educational reform is best enacted by those who know the students best. In the words
of the law, educators and parents have a right and a responsibility to participate in the
education institutions which serve them (Colorado Charter Schools Act, 1993, p. 1).
The third principle acknowledged that pupils learn in different ways and schools should
have the opportunity to meet those needs in ways that they deemed appropriate. The
Charter Schools Act enjoined citizens to design and implement innovative programs
through the vehicle of chartering their own schools.
The legislature further declared eight purposes of the law. Puiposes one through
four emphasized changes in instructional practices to be employed by educators, and
five through eight focused on professional opportunities for teachers and parents,
community involvement, and accountability.
1. Norms of Performance. The first puipose was to put in place rigorous norms of
performance designed to improve learning.
2. Academically Low Achieving. Students deemed academically low achieving were
targeted in the second purpose of the law. This purpose promoted increasing the
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learning opportunities for all pupils, but placed an emphasis on expanding
opportunities for those at risk.
3. Innovative Teaching Methods. The third purpose encouraged creation of more
innovative teaching methods.
4. Student Assessment. A fourth purpose was to create more innovative means for
assessing pupil performance.
5. Professional Opportunities for Teachers. The needs of teachers were addressed in
the fifth purpose. This aspect of the law suggested that teachers be afforded more
professional opportunities within their sites. Opportunities would include holding the
major responsibility for the learning program.
6. Expanded Choices. A major purpose identified for the establishment of charter
schools was to provide expanded choices within the existing public system.
7. Community Involvement. The law also endeavored to increase the level of
involvement of parents and other members of the community in this seventh purpose.
8. Increased Accountability. In the final purpose listed, an increased level of
accountability was stressed. Accountability for improved performance would be
measured through use of a system of content standards developed by state and local
school boards. In addition, charter schools, as was true of other public schools, would
be held to high achievement levels in meeting the standards.
It is apparent that members of the legislature believed that charter schools would
bring about great reform in the current system of education based on these statements
of purpose. Elements established to bring about change were the following three stated
intentions of the law. The first was to allow parents, educators, and interested
community members to take risks in the development of new and innovative school
programs. The second was to introduce charter schools as the established proving
grounds for the exploration of new and different learning opportunities and serve as
sites for educational research and development. A final intention was that a renewed
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commitment to the mission, goals, and diversity of public education be promoted in
charter schools.
From the principles, purposes, and intentions identified in the law, several
outcomes as they relate to charter schools could be anticipated. The following list
summarizes those outcomes: (a) a variety of different types of schools would become
available, offering more choices to families; (b) at-risk students would be able to attend
schools developed to suit their needs better; (c) an increase in involvement of
educators, parents, and community members in creating, implementing, and
volunteering in charter schools would occur; (d) charter curriculum and instruction
would develop that surpasses the norms in existing public schools; and (e) the
establishment of new and innovative programs would lead to more risk taking.
More Choices
In the summer of 1993, two charter schools were approved, thereby establishing an
outcome that added to the variety of the types of Colorado schools available. The first
school to receive approval was the Connect School in Pueblo County School District
70. The Connect School opened as a school for students in grades six through eight.
This school without walls uses community resources to enrich the educational
opportunities for its students CCASB Agenda. 1993, p. 12).
The approval of the Connect School application was closely followed by the
approval of the application for the Academy Charter School in Douglas County School
District. The Academy Charter School is a kindergarten through eighth-grade school
with its curriculum based on the writings of Hirsch. In addition to the use of Hirschs
Core Knowledge curriculum, the school has a highly involved group of parents
participating in school governance ('Charter School Bulletin. 1996, p. 2).
During the four years following the adoption of the legislation, 50 charter schools
opened their doors for instruction. To some degree, the traditional lines between
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elementary, middle school or junior high school, and high school have been blurred.
Of the 50 schools, 18 were elementary schools, 14 combined elementary and middle
school, eight were middle schools, one combined middle school and high school, two
were high schools, and seven were for students in kindergarten through high school.
Two schools incorporated prekindergarten into their programs, expanding service to
younger children than are typically found in public schools.
Most charter schools are smaller than other schools. Nationally, charter schools
enroll an average of 200 students. More than 15% of the nations charter schools have
fewer than 50 students. In Colorado, charter schools enrollments range from 23
students at Marble Charter School to 783 students in the Academy of Charter Schools
(Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 9).
Despite the number of charter schools in Colorado, only a small percentage of the
states public school students participate in a charter program. A total of 11,212
students were enrolled in Colorado charter schools during the 1997-1998 school year
('Colorado Department of Education District Profiles. 1998). A conversation with Mr.
Jackson of the Colorado Department of Education indicated that the number of students
enrolled statewide was 687,167 (personal communication, March 12, 1998). Thus,
approximately 1.6% of the total public school population were enrolled in charter
schools at that time.
The Charter School Law was adopted to allow educators and parents throughout the
state to create new schools in which their childrens needs would be better met. Most
often, an application for a charter school is submitted because parents or educators
believe that the curriculum or instruction in the existing district does not match their
philosophy or meet the needs of their children. Although all charter schools
have multiple emphases, for the purpose of this study, a central emphasis for each
school has been identified.
Charter schools in Colorado are somewhat varied in nature and include those that
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focus on: Montessori methodology, High Scope curriculum, math and science
instruction, technology-driven instruction, individualized instruction, Core Knowledge
curriculum, and community-based learning. To date, however, two types of charter
schools are most prevalent in the state of Colorado.
Core Knowledge Charter Schools. One type of school is based on content-rich
curriculum, most frequently adopting the Core Knowledge sequence developed by E.
D. Hirsch. Hirsch first suggested the concept of a core curriculum based on content
stipulated in his book, Cultural Literacy. Hirsch believes that the information in his
book provides the essence of a national curriculum. He prefers, however, that local
school districts develop curricula that allow flexibility and local choice (Hirsch, 1988,
pp. 139-145).
Hirschs philosophies have been taken to heart by many educators and parents. For
example, in 1990 Dr. Constance Oaks converted her elementary school in Ft. Myers,
Florida into the first Core Knowledge-based school using the principals found in
Cultural Literacy. The schools success was recognized by Jeffrey Litt who introduced
these ideas to the Mohegan School in the South Bronx. The successes of students in
both schools brought national recognition to the assertion that a curriculum based on
the ideas in Cultural Literacy could make a difference in educational results (Hirsch,
1996, p. 13).
The Core Knowledge Foundation has been at the center of the advancement of
Hirschs philosophy. First begun in 1986 as the Cultural Literacy Foundation, the
Foundation provides information to individuals and schools regarding the
implementation of a Core Knowledge curriculum. Hirsch noted that, just prior to
publication of The Schools We Need: Why We Dont Have Them, over 200 public
schools in 37 states had adopted core-knowledge principles (Hirsch, 1996, p. 13).
Colorado charter school advocates have been quick to support the idea of a core
curriculum. This is evidenced by an analysis of Colorado charter schools. At present,
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the Core Knowledge Organizations data bank lists 28 Core Knowledge schools in
Colorado (Core Knowledge Organization, 1998). Not all of these schools are charter
schools, however. To determine which Core Knowledge schools are charter schools,
it was necessary to cross reference schools listed in Charter Schools Approved and
Operating (Colorado Department of Education Charter Project Organization. 1998)
with the Core Knowledge Organizations list.
Of the 50 charter schools that opened their doors between Fall 1993 and Fall 1997
in Colorado, 22 were Core Knowledge schools based on the writings of E. D. Hirsch.
These schools are found in 16 school districts across the state. In addition, Eagle
County Charter Academy, while not subscribing to the Core Knowledge Sequence
outlined by Hirsch, did open with a back-to-basics curriculum for their school that can
best be identified as a locally-developed core curriculum (personal communication,
March 10, 1998).
It is apparent that approximately 44% of Colorados existing charter schools have
adopted a Core Knowledge curriculum. While one might make the assumption that
Core Knowledge schools would appeal more to those in metropolitan areas, the
concept of Core Knowledge has been embraced in school districts of many different
sizes and different locations across the state (see Table 4.1).
Charter applicants from seven districts in the Denver metropolitan area have become
Core Knowledge enthusiasts. While applicants in most districts in the metropolitan area
have only one Core Knowledge charter school at this time, separate groups have been
successful in opening more than one Core Knowledge Charter school in two large
districts. Applicants in Jefferson County and Douglas County have been granted
permission to open three Core Knowledge schools in their respective communities.
Jefferson Countv School District. This is the largest metropolitan district that has
approved Core Knowledge charter schools. It covers 786 square miles, has a student
enrollment of about 88,000 students, and maintains 97 elementary schools, 20 middle
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TABLE 4.1
CORE KNOWLEDGE CHARTER SCHOOLS
School Location Students
DENVER METROPOLITAN AREA
Jefferson Academy Jefferson County 287
Jefferson Academy Jr. High Jefferson County 56
Lincoln Academy Jefferson county 117
Academy Charter School Douglas County 320
Core Knowledge Charter School Douglas County 244
Platte River Academy Douglas County 280
Cherry Creek Academy Cherry Creek 400
Academy of Charter Schools Adams 12 District 700
Crowne Point Academy Westminster 150
Littleton Charter Academy Littleton 450
Twin Peaks Charter School St. Vrain 377
URBAN/SUBURBAN SCHOOLS
Liberty Common Charter Fort Collins 392
Core Knowledge Charter Academy Greeley 274
Union Colony Charter School Greeley 160
Classical Academy Academy District 20 403
Cheyenne Mountain Charter Colorado Springs District 12 291
Lewis-Palmer Charter School Monument 200
Swallows Charter Academy Pueblo District 70 60
OUTLYING CITIES AND TOWNS
Mountain View Core Knowledge Canon City 125
Alpine Charter School Dillon 46
Battle Rock Charter School Montezuma/Cortez 26
RURAL
Elbert County Charter School Elizabeth 145
85


schools, 20 high schools, and 9 specialized schools for students with special needs
(see Table 4.2). The student population is primarily Caucasian, with 85.2% of the
students in that category. Hispanic students make up 9.8% of the population. Native
American, black, and Asian students comprise the remaining 5% of the population
(Colorado Department of Education District Profiles. 1998, p. 1).
As of Fall 1997, eight charter schools had been established in this district. Three of
those charter schools offer a Core Knowledge curriculum. The first to open, Jefferson
Academy, is home to 287 students. To meet the needs of students wanting to move
from elementary into a junior high setting, Jefferson Academy Junior High was
established as an expansion program in 1996. The junior high program currently has
56 students enrolled and is in the same building as the elementary school (personal
communication, March 10, 1998). Large numbers on waiting lists at the Jefferson
Academy gave rise to a third Core Knowledge charter school in this district. This
school opened in Fall 1997. Lincoln Academy serves approximately 117 students in
kindergarten through fifth grades.
Douglas Countv School District. This district is also is located in the Denver
metropolitan area, to the south of Denver, and encompasses 873.5 square miles (p. 1).
Douglas County is a growing school district with a current enrollment of 27,275
students. The district has 36 schools: 26 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 5
high schools (see Table 4.2). The student population in Douglas County District is
predominantly Caucasian (92.2%). Hispanic students comprise only 4% of the
population and Asian students comprise 2.2% of the population. Native American and
black students make up the remaining 1.6% of the population (pp. 10-11).
Douglas County was one of the first school districts to approve a charter school.
Academy Charter School opened in the Fall 1993 and has had a Core Knowledge
curriculum since it opened. The enrollment is currently 315 students (Clayton
Foundation, 1997, pp. 35-37). On March 12, 1998, Linda, an Academy Charter
86


l AULrli, 4.Z
DISTRICT DEMOGRAPHICS
A 1 B c 1 D _..E. :: F 1... 9
1 DISTRICTS ! SQUARE MILES STUDENT ! ELEMENTARY J.H. / MIDDLE HIGH CHARTER
? . POPULATION :SCHOOLS SCHOOLS SCHOOLS SCHOOLS
3
4 Jefferson County 789 88000j 97 20 20 8
5 Denver 111.3 67858! 81 19 II 4
6 Douglas County 873.5 272751 26 5 5 6
7 Cherry Creek 119.5 38622: 31 7 4 1
8 Adams 12 [ .. 26723 j 24 6 4 3
9 Westminster 14.05 11453! 16 4 I
1 0 4 1
1 1 Saint Vrain 428.74 17873: 17 6 1
1 2 Poudre 755 22823! 29 8 4 1
1 3 Weld County 6 728 14199! 13 7 2 2
1 4 Air Academy 20 129.5 15283i 13 3 3 1
1 5 El Paso 11 49.63 3617: 6 I 1 5
1 6 Monument 131.5 3948! 4 2 1 I
1 7 Pueblo 70 847.5 6087! 8 7 2 2
1 8 Canon City 680 4172! 7 1! 1 1
1 9 518 2435! 6 2! 1 1
2 0 Montezuma-Cortez 729 3436! 9 1 1 1
2 1 Elbert County 160.5 2465! 2 1 1 1
2 2 Boulder Valley 494 26192! 34 ...IQ. 7 2
2 3 Durango 7 4 1 2
2 4 Moffat County 662 214! 1 1 1 1
2 5
2 6
2 7
2 8


Full Text

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PANDORA REVISITED: MANIFEST AND LATENT OUTCOMES OF COLORADO CHARTER SCHOOL LEGISLATION by Priscilla Ann Huston B.A., University of Michigan at Flint, 1975 M.A.T., Oakland University, 1978 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 1999

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Priscilla Ann Huston has been approved by 1 Richard Gin'bA

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Huston, Priscilla Ann (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Pandora Revisited: Manifest and Latent Outcomes of Colorado Charter School Legislation Thesis directed by Professor Rodney Muth. ABSTRACfS In Colorado, as is the case nationwide, education and choice have become synonymous. Families have long been able to choose between public and private schools. While families subscribing to private education have not been limited by geographic constraints, public school attendance historically has been determined by. the location of one's residence. This no longer remains the case. Due to legislation enacted by the Colorado Legislature, public-school families are now able to select the school they wish to attend within their home district or in a neighboring district, provided space is available. In addition, juniors and seniors in high schools are able to attend a local college or university and may obtain high school and college credit for their course work. Following the lead of Minnesota and California, the Colorado Legislature also adopted a charter school policy allowing educators or non-educators to implement a school more to their liking. In the establishment of Colorado choice policies, various manifest or intended outcomes of the policies have been realized. It is also true that many latent or unintended outcomes have resulted. As with many educational policies, directed toward similar ends, elements of the laws on intra-district choice, interdistrict choice, postsecondary options, and charter schools have become inexorably intertwined. For this reason, some information on each of these choice policies has been included in the body of this text. However, it is the manifest and latent outcomes of charter school iii

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legislation that are most thoroughly reviewed. The effects of the legislation with reference to the public school system are also addressed. A review of national, state, and local charter school data pave the way for an in depth-case study of the outcomes and effects of.charter legislation on one Colorado school district. Data were obtained from various sources including city demographic information, district publications, local newspaper articles, board meeting minutes, interviews, observations, and personal communications with constituents. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. iv

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DEDICATION I dedicate this manuscript to my father Joseph W. Huston. For the doctor who should have been had he not so selflessly dedicated his life to the needs of his family rather than his own ambitions.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This dissertation would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of many people. The staff of the School of Education leant their patience to the endeavor. This is particularly true of Rodney Muth, my advisor, who also set high standards and never gave up on me. Appreciation is due to those interviewees who spent time responding to my inquiries, both formal and informal. Finally, my utmost gratitude for always believing en me and standing beside me goes to my husband, Jim Striggow.

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CONTENTS Figures ................................................................................... xi Tables ................................................................................... xii CHAPfER 1. SCHOOL CHOICE: VISION OR VEXATION ............................ I Problem Statement ............................................................. 3 Rationale for the Study ............................................... 3 Statement of Purpose ................................................ .4 Theoretical Research Base .................................................... 8 Functional Analysis ................................................... 9 Structural Analysis .................................................. 11 Analysis of Social Structure ........................................ 14 School Choice ........................................................ 18 Problem Focus ....................................................... 20 A Modified Analytical Model.. .............................................. 21 The Functional Component.. ....................................... 21 The Structural Component. ......................................... 23 The Social Structure Component.. ................................ 23 Conclusion .................................................................... 27 2. THE FACE OF EDUCATIONAL REFORM ............................. 30 Education's Golden Age ..................................................... 30 Compulsory Education .............................................. 31 Higher Education .................................................... 32 Desegregation ........................................................ 32 vii

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Handicapped Children .............................................. 33 Compensatory Education .......................................... .33 An Era of Excellence ......................................................... 35 Freedom of Choice Plans .......................................... .37 The Alternative Education Movement.. .......................... .39 Magnet Schools ...................................................... 41 National Politics of Reform ................................................ .44 Risky Business ...................................................... 44 Well Prepared ........................................................ 47 America 2000 ................................................................. 47 To Market, To Market.. ............................................ .48 States Pick Up the Gauntlet. ...................................... .49 3. METHODOLOGICAL DESIGN ........................................... 53 Grounded Theory ............................................................. 53 Definition of the Case ............................................... 54 Preliminary Data Collection ........................................ 57 Development of the Interview Instrument.. ...................... 62 The Interview Process .............................................. 67 Data Analysis ......................................................... 68 Problem Significance ......................................................... 75 4. MANIFEST OUTCOMES: PANDORA EMBRACED ................. 77 Legislative Outcomes ......................................................... 79 More Choices ........................................................ 81 At-Risk Students ................................................... l01 Increase in Involvement.. ......................................... 113 Curriculum and Instruction ....................................... 117 Innovative Schools ................................................. 121 Vlll

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Legislators' Preferred Outcorries .......................................... 122 Interviews with Legislators ....................................... 123 Legislators' Words to the Press .................................. 127 5. LA TENT OUTCOMES: A GIFf FROM PANDORA ................. 130 Legislative Outc<;>mes ....................................................... 131 More Choices ....................................................... 132 At-Risk Students ................................................... 158 Increase in Involvement.. ......................................... 190 Curriculum and Instruction ....................................... 204 Innovative Programs ............................................... 215 6. PANDORA'S PRESENCE IS REALIZED .............................. 222 A City Ripe for Choice ..................................................... 222 Demographics ...................................................... 223 Manifest Outcomes of School Choice .................................... 224 Choice Comes to Hail, Colorado ................................. 224 Colorado Charter School Legislation ............................ 232 To Charter or Not to Charter, That is the Question ............ 233 Latent Outcomes: A Chronology of Mixed Blessings .................. 242 Choices in Vista School District.. ................................ 242 Vista's Alternative Schools ....................................... 245 The Dream is Realized ............................................. 248 One Charter School's Journey .................................... 262 7. EFFECTS OF PANDORA'S PRESENCE .............................. 292 Effects of Legislative Initiatives ........................................... 292 More Choices ....................................................... 292 At-Risk Students ................................................... 296 Increase in Involvement.. ........................................ .307 ix

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Curriculum and Instruction ...................................... .309 Innovative Practices ............................................... .315 Effects Not Anticipated in the Legislation ............................... .321 Enrollment Practices .............................................. .321 Greater Security for Alternative Schools ....................... .340 Arguments for Local Control.. .................................. .348 Public School Advocates Surface ............................... .354 Improved Educational Practices ................................. .357 Charter Law Revisions ........................................... .362 Summary ..................................................................... 367 8. CLOSED BOOK OR NEW CHAPTER ................................. .370 Restatement .................................................................. 370 Purpose Statement.. .............................................. .371 An Analytical Model ............................................... 372 Case Study .......................................................... 373 Initial Findings .............................................................. 374 Manifest Outcomes ............................................... .374 Latent Outcomes and Legislative Effects ....................... .377 Outcomes in Vista School District.. ............................. .391 Policy Issues ................................................................. 396 Recommendations for Future Study ..................................... .399 Conclusions .................................................................. 400 APPENDIX .................................................................................... 401 A. Human Subjects Approval. ...................................... .401 B. Letter of Consent.. ................................................ .411 C. Interview Questionnaire .......................................... .412 D. Letter of Introduction ............................................. .414 E. List of Individuals Interviewed .................................. .417 REFERENCES ................................................................................ 419 X

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FIGURES Figure 1.1 A Comparison of Analytical Models ....................................... 12 1.2 Stinchcombe's Analysis of Social Structures ............................. 15 1.3 Structural Analysis Model on School Choice ............................. 22 3.1 Lasswell's Social Process Model.. ......................................... 63 XI

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TABLES Table 4.1 District Demographics ........................................................ 85 4.2 Core Knowledge Charter Schools .......................................... 87 4.3 Individualized Learning Schools ............................................ 95 4.4 Racial and Ethnic Enrollment.. ............................................ 103 4.5 Enrollment by Race and Ethnicity ......................................... 104 4.6 At-Risk Student Populations ............................................... 106 4.7 1995-1996 Special Populations ........................................... 112 4.8 Governing Board Membership ............................................ 115 4.9 Parent Involvement in Hours .............................................. 116 5.1 Charter School Funding .................................................... 139 5.2 Charter School Facility Costs .............................................. 144 5.3 Where Charter Schools Come From ...................................... 152 5.4 National Charter Enrollment by Race ..................................... 162 5.5 State Comparisons of Charter Percentages ............................... l63 5.6 Minority Attendance in Colorado Charter Schools ...................... l66 5.7 Caucasian Attendance in Colorado Charter Schools .................... l69 5.8 Special Education Comparisons ........................................... 175 5.9 Free or Reduced Lunch Comparisons .................................... l78 5.10 Stargate's Minority Population ............................................ l89 5.11 Evaluation Tools Selected by Charter Schools .......................... 212 6.1 Vista School District's Board Codes ...................................... 227 7.1 Enrollment Figures ......................................................... .303 xii

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Table 7.2 Level Test Comparative Data .............................................. 314 7.3 Level Test Pretest to Post-Test Differential. ............................ .316 7.4 Alternative and Charter School Enrollment Figures .................... 325 7.5 Defectors and Loyalists in Vista School District.. ...................... .327 xiii

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CHAPTER 1 SCHOOL CHOICE: VISION OR VEXATION Since the beginning of time, man has filled his days with stories of peace and war, justice and despotism, heroes and villains, and the relationship of man to his peers. Stories have been used to transmit values, convey knowledge, and impart lessons that communicate beliefs and ethics of the people. The story of Pandora is such a tale, told and retold over time to show the frailty of man when it comes to recognizing the consequences of one's actions. After dispatching an ox, Prometheus prepared it and presented it in two portions before the gods. In one serving he placed the tender meat and covered it with the hide of the ox, in the other he placed the bones and gristle and covered it with fat. When Zeus came to dine, he selected the more appealing serving covered with fat and quite by accident left the good meat for the humans. Angered by the deception of Prometheus, Zeus had him chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains so that each day a ravenous eagle would tear open his belly and devour his liver. Unfortunately, the torture of Prometheus was not enough to appease Zeus' anger. He ordained to impart revenge on every living man. To accomplish this goal, he had Hephaestus make a clay woman, ordered the four Winds to breathe life into her, and had the goddesses adorn her. She was the most beautiful woman ever created and with her beauty, she would arouse the desires of man and make his mind stray from whatever he was supposed to do (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 28). Pandora was sent to earth and was given a box that contained pestilences that had not previously been experienced by mankind. She ingratiated herself to men and gained their trust. Man, in his simple ways, began to ignore his crops and animals to

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woo her and show himself worthy of her affections. When mankind least suspected it, Pandora opened the box and released upon the world a variety of contaminants that rendered the world forever changed. Among the gifts unleashed were disease, famine, jealousy, pain, and hatred. It is said that Pandora was able to close the box in time to prevent the gift of hope from escaping. If hope had escaped, man would have nothing to believe in during times of hardship. The actions of Pandora and their resulting consequences are credited with the dawn of a new age (p. 29). As a homily, the story of Prometheus and Pandora is one to which we should pay heed. When Prometheus divided up the spoils, he created an inequitable situation much like the one that exists in public education today. For some of our nation's children, education is a feast and these children have partaken and grown strong. For others, little nourishment is afforded and they lie near starvation. This is a situation that few find tolerable, yet for many years little was done to remedy the situation. When he discovered the deception of Prometheus, Zeus rose into action. Perhaps in a similar fashion, politicians and academics angered by the educational conditions experienced by some have felt compelled to action. For Zeus, punishment was the answer. While bringing an end to the system of public education is the agenda of a minority of reformists, many seek new and innovative ways to create a more equitable system. It is for the latter, that a new vision of education had to be created. A Pandora, if you will, a new system replete with choice. For those who advocate change, it is hoped that through embracing these choices students will become better educated and parental satisfaction will increase. As Pandora is embraced, it must be recognized that for all her splendor she brings with her a box filled with undisclosed contents and unknown consequences. As states move to adopt more choice and the box is opened, it may prove to be filled with blessings and prosperity or misfortune and adversity. Or in all likelihood, it will contain some of each. 2

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Problem Statement In a nation enamored of individual preference, choice now has come to the system of public education. Driven by the belief that our schools are in trouble, a philosophy of educational choice has been professed by some as the answer to the nation's ills. In response to the rallying cry for choice, the nation, many states, some local districts, and even some individual schools have endorsed legislation designed to make choice opportunities more accessible. In Colorado, many districts have adopted policies whereby alternative district schools may be created. In addition, state laws have been written to make postsecondary schools open to high school juniors and seniors, to allow students to attend any school within their district of residence, to blur district boundaries and allow students to enroll in other district's schools, and to make it possible for teachers, parents, and community members to charter their own schools. As Colorado school choice policies and laws have been written, numerous manifest or intended outcomes have been realized. As is frequently true with educational policy implementation, latent or unintended consequences have also been realized. The implications of manifest and latent outcomes of Colorado charter school legislation have the potential for far-reaching effects on the educational system. While all of the choice legislation has resulted in changes in many school districts, it is primarily the outcomes and effects of charter legislation on one school district that are examined through this study. Rationale for the Study Educational policy often comes into existence based on the persuasiveness of the lobbyists or personal agendas of the policy makers. Despite the prevalence of analytical models designed to assist policy makers in arriving at informed decisions, little evidence exists that a policy-development process was used in the creation of the Colorado Charter Schools Act. What has also become evident through interviews with 3

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several Colorado legislators, is that at the time the law was being drafted, limited consideration was given to the ramifications of the law's approval. Legislator Lane, a pseudonym, remarked that she just supported the law, actual implementation was not her problem, and the districts with charter schools would just have to work out the bugs. She indicated that she had little concern for the facility issues or financial constraints that many districts would face as a result of the legislation (Lane, personal communication, April 21, 1994). Attitudes such as this would suggest that once adopted, the charter school law would not be analyzed to determine if its express intentions were being met. Equally problematic was whether latent consequences of this law would be addressed in any systematic fashion. To address this, analyses of the intentions and manifest outcomes of the charter law and the progress of the state and one school district toward meeting those intentions. Further, an assessment of latent consequences was undertaken that have come into evidence in one Colorado school district. Finally, this study comments on the effects of the legislation on the educational system in Colorado and outlines for future policy development by the legislators and others. Statement of Purpose Public policy making has been defined by Peters (1996, p. 4) as, "the sum of government activities, whether acting directly or through agents, as those actions that have an influence on the lives of citizens." He believes that policy can be divided into categories based on the degree of the differences made in the lives of the people. Peters feels that three distinct levels of policy influence exist. At the first level are policy choices, the decisions made by politicians such as governors, civil servants, and others with power to affect the lives of the citizenry. Peters describes the second level as as policy choices put into action. At this level, the government is doing things like spending money, designing regulations, or hiring individuals. At the third level are policy impacts, the effects that policy choices and policy outputs have on society. 4

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Legislative Background. Policy decisions are made at various levels including national, state, and local levels. In addition, few policy choices are decided and executed by a single organization or are restricted to a single level of government. Peters believes that, "Policies, in terms of their effects on the public, emerge from a large number of programs, legislative intentions, and organizational interactions to affect the daily lives of citizens" (pp. 5-6). He also perceives that, "This conception of policy also points to the frequent failure of governments to coordinate programs, with the consequence that programs cancel out one another or have costly duplication efforts" (pp. 5-6). He says the question raised by Lasswell years ago about policy consequences is still a central policy question today. A National Agenda. In recent years, national policies on education have been introduced in an effort to bring about improved educational practices and school reformation. Most notable has been the ambitious plan, America 2000: An Education Strategy, introduced by President Bush and Lamar Alexander in 1991. Under this plan, four major educational changes were made. First, the plan called for national testing and diagnostic reporting to the American people. Second, resulting from the plan, 535 break-the-mold schools would be created. The number was selected to allow each congressman and senator to sponsor such a school. Federal funds would be commingled with business dollars in an effort to create new a new revenue base. Third, the plan hoped for an improvement of practices throughout the teaching profession. This would be accomplished by offering merit pay and establishing new certification requirements. The final element of the plan was a call for increased choice. Bush hoped that, through the creation of a market-driven system of education, schools would feel the pressure to perform and improvement in schools would result (pp. 325326). State Interest. Like the federal government, many states also sought improvement in education and have enacted various policy decisions that introduce more opportunities for school choice to the citizens of the states. These policy decisions caught on like 5

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wildfire in many states following America 2000. By 1993, school choice legislation had been adopted or introduced in 34 states. School choice in one form or another was advocated by 33 governors (Tucker & Lauber, 1994, p. 4). Legislative initiatives have included affording postsecondary options, interdistrict and intra-district school transfers, charter schools and vouchers. Choice in Colorado. Over the past several years, a number of educational issues have met with the intervention of the Colorado Legislature. Governor Romer has made education one of his major considerations, and a number of legislators have been equally zealous about educational reform. As Conley (1993, p. 8) reviews legislative interventions he feels that through their actions legislators have demonstrated that they are committed to reform public education within this state in significant ways. Reform is defined as a change in those actions which focus on procedures, rules, and requirements of the system and which frequently respond to pressure from an external entity. In the case of educational reform, this force often is exerted by boards of education or state policy makers In Colorado, as in other states, it is not only legislators who are involved with the demand for educational reform. Parents, educators at colleges and universities, members of the community, and business people are involved as well. Directly and indirectly, parents and community members are invited to take a more active role in the education of children. Through participation on special task forces for education and on school site-based teams, citizens are allowed to make themselves heard. Use of college facilities and instructors, adoption of curricular and instructional techniques that are not in keeping with those of the district, increases in autonomy, and alternative uses of financial resources expand opportunities for learning. Likewise, school-to-work programs add components of business training to the school curriculum (Cookson, 1994, pp. 14-16). In Milwaukee,Wisconsin and Cleveland, Ohio vouchers have been adopted. While statewide voucher legislation has not been adopted backers in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Florida (Toch & Cohen, 1998, p. 25). In Colorado efforts 6

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to pass voucher legislation have been presented to the voters in two separate elections. While legislation has not passed the issue continues to resurface. Open-Enrollment Policies. Evidence that the Colorado legislators were interested in promoting themselves as educational policy makers occurred when a law made intra district choice possible in 1990. This legislation afforded students the opportunity to choose a school within their district or place of residence without regard to neighborhood status. In 1994, a similar Colorado law was adopted to allow for interdistrict choice. Through this legislation, students can select a school in a district other than the one in which they reside. These open-enrollment laws make it possible for students within a district or from other districts within the state to select the schools that they wish to attend. Colorado's policies establish more competitive practices as schools begin to offer different options to attract students. In addition, schools have to accept applicants under most circumstances. Only if space is not available or if acceptance of the student conflicts with desegregation practices can the student be denied admission. Postsecondary Options. Legislation making it possible for students to expand their opportunities for study was adopted in Colorado in 1991. Postsecondary Options legislation has made it possible for juniors and seniors attending high school to attend a college or university for some or all of their course work. In some cases, college or university personnel are brought to the public schools to teach various courses rather than have the students go to the college. When either occurs, it is possible for students to take advanced courses or courses of special interest that otherwise might not be offered in the school. The public school district in which the student resides pays expenses, including tuition, school fees, and book charges, out of its state funding allocation. Charter School Law. A more recent form of choice initiative has been the adoption of the Colorado Charter Schools Act of 1993. This legislation has been advanced as a powerful means to achieve school reform. Charter school advocates believe that the 7

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legislation establishes a different means to address learning and bring about innovative practices. Charter schools remain public schools but have increased autonomy, control state funds awarded on a per pupil basis, and may waive state and local policies exclusive of those that address safety and discrimination. Despite the array of choice opportunities that have become available in Colorado, the question remains about the degree to which choice legislation has pushed the reform of public education and the understanding of policy makers about the ramifications of their decisions. To address these issues, one should look at the intended results of school reform when assessing whether the laws have achieved the overall purposes outlined in the legislation. However, it is also necessary for researchers to examine the results that were not intended--the unanticipated consequences a policy decisions. One means of doing so is to investigate a district in which choice legislation has been implemented and to examine the overall effects of the legislation. The purpose of this study was to assess those effects, reflect on the policy practices employed, and to determine whether the legislation has resulted in systemic reform. Theoretical Research Base As in many other sociological studies, my interest in this topic is based on a concern about the manner in which the outcomes and effects of the actions of one entity within a social system have ramifications for other entities and for the system as a whole. In particular, it is the outcomes and effects of charter school legislation on the system of public education in Colorado that are of interest. The study of the interrelationship between elements in a system and the system itself is not a new one. In the 1920s, the basic tenets of the principles of looking at social behaviors through a systems study were outlined by anthropologists Bronislaw Malinowski and A. R. Radcliffe-Brown. In studies of tribal communities in the Pacific Islands, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown attempted to look for intenelationships between elements of the societies and the manner in which elements contributed to the 8

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satisfaction of the entire society. The research orientation suggested by Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown was soon adopted by other anthropologists and an early theory of functionalism was born (Sztompka, 1974, p. 35). Functional Analysis Functional analysis is an attempt to identify what we know about society and develop from our knowledge a theory to explain social actions. Originated by two anthropologists, this theory was defined by Radcliffe-Brown as the effort to look at the social life of a people as a functional entity,while Malinowski described culture in functional terms as an integrated whole in which all parts of the system are means to attain a goal (p. 47). This anthropological theory was embraced by sociologists, as well. Perhaps the most famous treatise on functionalism was written by Robert K. Merton in Social Theory and Social Structure. published in 1957. Melton explained function as a "vital or organic process considered in the respects in which they contribute to the maintenance of the organism" (p. 21). He further defined functionalism as "the practice of interpreting data by establishing the consequences for the larger structures in which they are implicated" (pp. 46-47). About functional analysis, Merton stated: "Functional analysis specifies the consequences of a social phenomenon for its differentiated stmctural context; structural analysis searches for the determinants of the phenomenon in its stmctural context" (Clark, Modgil, & Modgil, 1990, p. 56). The concept of looking at systems from a functionalist perspective was touted as an innovative means by which to study society by Merton, Levy, Parsons, and Radcliffe Brown, while others found the theory to be wanting. One criticism often levied is that functionalism, particularly the theory advocated by Merton, looks at individual elements within systems, institutional patterns, or social processes, rather than beginning with an analysis of the system itself (Gouldner, 1967, p. 144). 9

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Another sociologist (Davis,1967), argues that functional analysis is fraught with ambiguity and diversity. He questions how the theory can be useful when a definition of functionalism is one that cannot be agreed upon by its main theorists including Merton, Levy, and Radcliffe-Brown. Although he recognizes that each theorist contributes unique postulates to the body of information, Davis sees the lack of a common theory as major criticism of the theory of functionalism. Davis asserts that a major part of the problem is that some who advocate functional analysis relate the parts of a system to the whole system, while others relate parts of the system to one another (pp. 379-381). Another common criticism of functionalism is that it has a teleological bias. Teleology is a doctrine in which phenomena are explained by final causes or consequences. Teleology addresses the concept that means-ends relationships exist between elements within a study. In addition, teleology is based on at least one of two assumptions. The first is the empiricist principle, a belief that principles explain everything. The second is the deterministic principle that asserts nothing can emerge from nothing. The charge of teleological bias in Merton's work does not focus on the means-end aspect of teleology, for this aspect plays an important part in all functionalist theory. Rather, it is the apparent assumption that either metaphysics--finalism--or both are inherent in the model (Sztompka, 1974, pp. 138-140). The most frequent charge against functionalism is that it presents systems as static entities, when they are actually dynamic, continuously changing. Those who make this charge believe that it is impossible for sociologists to conceptualize any change in a social system when using this theory (pp. 153-154). Functionalism is also criticized as having an ahistoric bias. This charge also addresses the aspect of change. Rather than focusing on any change within the system, an ahistoric bias looks specifically to changes in the structure of the system. A question raised is to what degree the system must be modified for it to fall into the category of structural change. Those who argue the question of functionalism debate whether a 10

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total systemic modification is necessary to constitute change or whether modification of elements of the infrastructure of a system would suffice as a demonstration of some form of systemic change (pp. 162-164 ). Structural Analysis Amid the criticisms, a number of sociologists have been rethinking some of central tenets of functionalism. Ever evolving in his effort to understand the workings of society, Merton's contributions to the field of sociology did not end with his theory on functionalism. Rather, he moved to describe a system of structuralism. Although different from functionalism in some respects, in structuralism some aspects remain consistent. Sztompka ( 1990) and Stinchcombe ( 1990) believe that Merton's functional analysis is the basis on which his structural analysis model was built. While theories of structural analysis can be found in the works of many of his sociological contemporaries, it is from the works of Merton that the primary explanation of structural analysis is taken. I have chosen this model in part because the works of Merton on structural analysis have been regarded as a natural outgrowth of his functional analysis theory (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). Where functional analysis focuses on the consequences of social phenomena, structural analysis addresses those factors which bring about the phenomena in a social context. Merton's conception of structural analysis brings to the study of social structures an emphasis on social conflict and social change (pp. 55-56). Blau (1975, pp. 117-118) further asserts that Merton's functional theory is in reality a structural theory. Nine major elements of Merton's Model for Structural Analysis have been selected for review and are explained in Figure 1.1. It is within this theory that observable social patterns occur at both the macro and micro levels. Merton believes that the processes essential to the creation of social structure occur at the micro level. It is at this level that choices between alternatives that have been created by the social structure occur. Merton explains that social status 11

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FIGURE 1.1 A Comparison of Analytical Models Merton's (19571Model for Structural Analysis Structural analysis must deal with phenomena at the macro and micro levels. Core processes are central to socialstructure at the micro level. These are decisions between socially structured alternatives that have no basic utility. Rather, the utility of the decision is thought to be a part of the institutional order. At the macro level, the accumulation of power and authority bring about the condition of one group of people having an advantage over another group of people. Social structures bring about social conflict as elements of social strata, organizations, and communities have agreed upon and conflicting interests. Unified norm-sets are not present in society. Social ambivalence occurs when social-role expectations and norms are incompatible. Deviant behavior exists when aspirations are identified and the social structure doesn't allow movement toward them. Because aspirations aren't being met, changes both within and out of the structure occur. New entities born out of a social structure that are not of its making modify the structure in ways that are anticipated and unanticipated. It is analytically useful to look atwhat is anticipated (manifest) and what is unanticipated (latent). 12 Stinchcombe's_(l990) Schematic Outline Core processes are the decisions between structured alternatives in the social structure. These processes do not have utility in and of themselves. The value of decisions is socially established and is a part of the social order. Decision behavior has consequences for the institution. Variations in the rates of decisions are brought about by the location of individuals in the social order. Key variables are different rates of decisions in different positions in a structure or in different structures. The core process chain moves in both directions from patterned decisions. The chain goes forward from the rate of decision because it is of consequence to the institution. It also goes backward because the structural position determines the organization of the alternatives. Structural decisions are linked to consequential decisions and to institutional patterns through loops: Institutional consequences act back to shape the nature of alternatives. The historical development of social character occurs out of a biographical patterning of decisions. Feedback through character formation links a person to structural pressures and patterns of decisions.

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intersections happen at the micro level through the interactions of people. Social conflict arises when people in different levels of the social structure bring different values and interests into play. Merton recognizes that social conflicts at the macro level are brought about through an uneven distribution of power between social classes, organizations, and communities. These groups often operate with different goals and interests in much the same way that individuals do. He feels that it is possible for a sense of compromise between social strata to occur. While he recognizes that as a best case scenario he also notes that social ambivalence can result when expectations or norms are not compatible. Merton's theory relies heavily on the analysis of social patterns and tracing the functional and dysfunctional consequences of the patterns (p. 118). He recognizes that deviant behavior arises when the social structure does not allow one to move toward his aspirations. He further explains that an inability to move toward one's goals or aspirations can result from structural constraints or from constraints external to the structure. As individuals and groups address frustrations, changes to the system or outside the system may follow. In essence, Merton uses structural analysis to develop further his belief that social relationships are the catalyst by which groups and individuals are implicated. Merton recognizes that patterns within relationships are played out in a somewhat repetitive fashion. He brings to structural analysis the concept of manifest and latent functions which he carefully elaborates in his functionalism treatise. Merton also writes of the influences placed on the social structure by individuals and groups within the structure. These influences include beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). It is important to note that in the structural model, as in the functional model, Merton believes that it is consequences of decisions that provide the greatest source of information. In several respects, the theory of structural analysis conceived by Merton addresses charges that his functionalist theory did not look to the system as a whole, rather that 13

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the emphasis was solely on consequences. Structural analysis includes an emphasis on change within the system or of the structure of the system. It is my contention that structural analysis can be successfully used to understand the ways in which a decision within a system produces outcomes and effects. In turn these outcomes and effects result in a change in the system and perhaps even a change in the structure of the system. A study of the effects of school-choice legislation on the public school system is one that can be accomplished using a model of structural analysis that begins with the preliminary framework laid out in Sociological Ambivalence and Other Essays (Merton, 1976, p. 184). Merton's framework, while theoretically sound, lacks concreteness and does not convey the elegance, economy, or precision of other models. The concept of social structure developed by Stinchcombe ( 1990) complements and adds a sense of organization that makes it possible to use the original work of Merton in a systematic manner. (See Figure 1.1.) Analysis of Social Structure Stinchcombe (1990) looks to the works of Merton to generate a structural model. He begins with the position that decision making is an integral part of the theory. Through use of the schematic model depicted in Figure 1.2, he begins with the center cell and shows decision making as the link between patterns of an institution and rates of institutionally consequential behavior. The core process of decision making is based on the knowledge that we have the ability to make decisions between socially structured alternatives and that those alternatives are subject to structural influences. Stinchcombe also believes that character development both influences opportunities for decisions and results from decisions (p. 84). Stinchcombe explains the issue of decision making between socially structured alternatives in this manner. Connections exist between individuals and the decisions they face. These connections are created by the society in which the individual lives. Through the structuring 6f connections, a variety of consequences may occur simultaneously (p. 82). 14

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.... VI FIGURE 1.2 STINCHCOMBE'S ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL STRUCTIJRE Institutional patterns shaping alternatives. Stinchcombe, 1990, p. 9 Individual decision behavior: motives, information, sanctions. bearing on the alternatives presented. Structural induction of motives, control of information, and sanctions. Rates of institutionally consequential behavior. Development of social character.

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In Stinchcombe's model of social structure, society serves the purpose of defining decision making situations. In some cases they are defined by laws and sanctions, in other cases they are defined by rituals and social norms. This means that, when a decision is to be made, the individual defines the situation to some extent. Yet, under most circumstances the definition is not free of societal constraint (p. 82). Stinchcombe believes that people located throughout the social structure make decisions at different rates and that differentiated rates have consequences for the institution. He includes motives, information, and sanctions as factors that bear on the rates of behavior. As he discusses motivation, he indicates that different decisions are made possible based on the location of the individual within the social structure. Opportunities for advancement in a job, for instance, are limited for a person who has not been afforded a college education despite a strong work ethic. In this case, social structure would control the type of employment options available to this individual. This is done through a system of rewards or punishments from those within the same social structure. It is made possible through limiting the decisions at hand (p. 83). Rewards and punishments act as forms of structurally induced motivation according to Stinchcombe. In one scenario, he believes that individuals are motivated to become affiliated with non-membership groups to bring about upward mobility. In another scenario, he feels that individuals are motivated to align their norms with those of the non-membership group. In both scenarios, Stinchcombe suggests that the goals of individuals are subject to social influences and rates of social decision are thereby affected (p. 83). Stinchcombe outlines four sources of variation that Merton also includes when talking about structurally induced motivation. He believes that the sources of variation include: socialization into a culture, a system of rewards, affirmation of a social role, and needs being met through structural manipulation. Thus, the rates of decision vary based on the amount of motivation they produce in individuals (pp. 84-85). Information flow affects the behavior of structured decisions, in Stinchcombe's 16

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opinion. It is through access to information that sanctions arise. Knowledge of rewards and punishments is important to consider when socially structured decisions are made. Information changes the perceptions of individuals about what decisions are available to them. This concept is based on the belief that when people are made aware of the possible results of a decision, the collective outcome changes. Information also allows individuals to create successful activities that result in the perpetuation of those activities. Social patterning of information changes the rates of socially significant decisions because sanctions attached to decisions are influenced, alternatives between decisions are influenced, and the success rates of the alternatives chosen are influenced (pp. 85-87). The outputs of patterned decisions are behaviors that are socially organized. Outputs are important because of their ability to affect the stmcture of the system. According to Stinchcombe, outputs include both manifest and latent functions, manifest and latent structural locations of the output, and deviant systems of these realities. By manifest and latent functions, he is referring to the intended results of a decision and the results that occurred but were not intended. Manifest and latent structural locations refer to affects on the system itself. These output can be both intended and unintended in nature. Symptoms of deviant behavior are brought about through discord within the system. It is where discord is evident that a breakdown between manifest and latent functions has occurred. As in other dynamic models, Stinchcombe's model is not one that is a straight input output model. Rather, the model is cyclical in nature in which outputs of the system become strategic inputs for other structures within the system (pp. 87-88). The first loop is the loop between rates of institutionally consequential behavior and institutional patterns shaping alternatives. Essentially, this means that the results of the decisions made act back to modify the system of origination and change institutional patterns. The second loop is the change in character of the individual involved in making the decision. This loop produces patterns in the kinds of and results of decisions being 17

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made. This model is beneficial to use in the study of manifest and latent consequences in school choice legislation. School Choice School choice is an intriguing topic, one that has been the topic of much historical investigation. Books such as Time to Choose (Wells, 1993) and The One Best System (Tyack, 197 4) reveal that, while the demand for reform in education is not new, the types of criticism being levied may be changing significantly. From the inception of public education, critics have included those who wished to see a greater sense of community in the schools, those who wanted to see the needs of the individual more closely addressed, and those who have promoted programs to prepare students more effectively for the world of work. A more recent occurrence has been a shift from a criticism of the purpose of schools to a demand for parental voice in the selection, governance, and daily operations of schools. As the public has indicated an interest in having a greater voice in education, the legislature has picked up the gauntlet. Increasing choice and expanding control of schools have been the invocation to which a wide variety of school reform proponents have assembled. Evidence of the increasing demands for a voice in the educational system can be found in letters to the editor, rhetoric at school board meetings, defeat of tax initiatives, and increase in the number of private and home schools. While Young and Clinchy (1992, p. 2) report that perhaps the most dramatic advocacy for choice in recent times was heard in 1986 when the National Governors' Association developed Time for Results, the question of whether the following projections have come to pass remains. These authors believe that nothing is more basic to education and its ability to bring our children into the 21st century than choice. Given a choice in public education, they believe that parents will play a stronger role in our schools. Innovative programs will spring to life. Parents and the whole community will become deeply involved in helping all children learn. Teachers will be 18

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more challenged than ever. And, most importantly, students will see immediate results (p. 83). A national conference on choice and control in education was held in May 1989. The discussion and follow-up papers resulted in a two-volume series, Choice and Control in American Education (Clune & Witte, 1990). The preface by Coleman emphatically states the necessity to provide more opportunities for choice and more parental control. This passage summarizes the views of contributors such as Witte, Weiss, Elmore, and some members of the public at large. Coleman also brings to light two opposing values that often are sources for public disenchantment with the current educational system. The first is the autonomy and choice of parents to do all they can to raise their children to adulthood. The second is the value we place on having a society that is not fragmented by divisions imposed by segregated or exclusive upbringing. In attempting to answer how our society might choose between these two values, Coleman argues that while a single common school made sense in 1890, it does not make sense in 1990. He believes that the more appropriate solution, both within the public sector, and in a system of education including private schools, is to expand parental choice and control at the school level. He feels that this will lead to increasing diversity and innovation in education, and will enhance community, an element he states that we have lost in our current public education system (p. ix). Other chief critics of the nation's contemporary educational system are Kolderie, Lerman, and Moskos who state in Mandate for Change (1993) "More than ever before, America's prosperity hinges on how well we educate and train our people. Yet, our public schools are failing to meet new standards of performance being set by our global competitors" (p. 129). The basic premise of this particular chapter is to advocate school choice through the promotion of charter schools, school-based apprenticeships for the young people, and a civilian G. I. bill to expand scholarships in return for community service. 19

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These passages reflect the ideas of only a few contemporary critics of public education. The efforts of such writers combined with the efforts of political lobbyists have resulted in the contention that opp01tunities for choice will bring about the reform of the public educational system as we know it. The pressure to expedite educational reform through school choice has resulted in an increase in the adoption of many state legislated efforts. In Colorado as in other states, recent choice legislation has brought about a variety of intended outcomes including intra-district choice, interdistrict choice, postsecondary options, and the charter school legislation. Manifest outcomes from these laws' intended results include expanded student choice, greater student mobility, increased school competitiveness, larger numbers of schools endeavoring to meet parental demands, and more variety in high school courses. While these intended outcomes are valuable, the unintended outcomes of school choice legislation may contribute as much, if not more, to the success of the school reform movement. Through this study, I examined and analyzed the impact of both intended and unintended reform outcomes charter schools throughout the nation with a careful look at charter schools in Colorado. An in-depth analysis of the intended and unintended effects of legislation in one Colorado public school district was made. Problem Focus The fact that school choice is with us can be substantiated in much of the current literature on school reform. The few, brief citations in the preceding section provide evidence of a focus on reform. An examination of the recent legislation promoting choice further supports the claim that choice in public education has been an issue that has received much attention. Elements addressed in the promotion of choice include the reform of public education, the creation of more innovation, an increase in the degree of student achievement, and creation of a better match between what parents prefer and what schools provide. 20

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Understanding the rationale for choice legislation, identifying the intentions of the legislation, and recognizing the outcomes and effects of increased school choice will lead to a better understanding of educational policy making. In this case, these elements are first reviewed at the national and state levels. This is followed by an in depth analysis of outcomes and effects in one Colorado school district and comparisons with national and state data. Reflections on policy implications result. A Modified Analytical Model Through a review of the literature, I have come to believe that an analytical model depicting the information that I wish to convey does not exist. For this reason, I have created an analytical model for use in this study. The model incorporates elements of functional analysis (Merton, 1957), structural analysis (Merton, 1976), a model of social structure (Stinchcombe, 1990), a definition of outcomes (Merton, 1976; Lasswell, 1971 ), and a definition of effects (Lasswell, 1971 ). The model itself is cyclical in nature. It begins with societal influence affecting public schools. The model then moves to two types of decision that could be made by the legislature. From each of these decisions are both manifest and latent outcomes. These outcomes result in the development of systemic effects. The cycle is completed when the effects return to modify the public schools. (See Figure 1.3.) The Functional Component Merton is a well-known sociologist whose early works emerged in the 1940s. His best known work is Social Theory and Social Structure ( 1957), in which he establishes a paradigm for functional analysis. Functional analysis is a complex theory with many component parts. However, it is not the theory in its entirety that is central to this study. Rather, it is the major concept of manifest and latent functions serves as a key element in my analytical model. While not the first to address manifest and latent functions, Merton explicitly 21

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N N Based on Stinchcombe, 1990 FIGURE 1.3 Structural Analysis Model on School Choice Legislative Decision I Maintain Individual Status Quo: no choices available uniform educational plan limited parental voice Maintain Structural Status Quo: neighborhood organization one basic type of education traditional governance Legislative Decision 2 Individuals Choose: parents select the school many organizational plans more parental voice Provide Structural Inducements: more students and funding diversified schools site-based governance Effects

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includes a strategic look at both elements in his work. In functionalism, Merton emphasizes the analysis of the consequences of actions and adds that distinguishing between consequences intended and those that aren't is a key to a different source of knowledge. The purpose of this distinction is to allow for the analysis of otherwise irrational social patterns (Demerath & Peterson, 1967, p. 56). Differentiating between what is intended in legislation on school choice and what patterns have emerged as a result of the legislation is central to this study. The Structural Component While initially classified and criticized as a proponent of sociological functionalism, Merton did not remain a staunch functionalist throughout his career. This classification was expanded between the mid 1970s and the 1990s when sociologists such as Sztompka (1974), Coser (1975), and Stinchcombe (1990) recognized and endorsed elements of structural analysis present in Merton's theories. In addition, his Structural Analysis in Sociology ( 1976) includes ideas that further dispelled his label as a functionalist (pp. 1 09-144). The model of structural analysis continues to incorporate manifest and latent consequences as necessary elements. Structuralist theories also address charges that understanding systems requires a dynamic model, one that incorporates change. Merton moved from looking at consequences of systemic action to understanding the connection between consequences and the system as a whole through this theoretical evolution. Unfortunately, some feel Merton's stipulations on structuralism are not outlined in fashion that would be easily employed in this analysis. For sociologists such as Arthur Stinchcombe, the model becomes more purposeful by expanding Merton's original theories and adding his own unique elements. The Social Structure Component Stinchcombe ( 1990) has taken the work of Merton on structural analysis and more 23

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thoroughly explained the concept of social structure in his schematic outline. (See Figure 1.2.) Both Stinchcombe and Merton believe that decisions between socially structured alternatives are necessary to impact a change on a system. (See Figure 1.1.) In both the structural analysis model of Merton and the social structure model of Stinchcombe, the process of decision making originates from pressure placed on a structure. In my study, this pattern is consistent. This study begins with an historical overview of the dissatisfaction with public education and an explanation of the role of the Colorado Legislature in addressing this dissatisfaction in the early 1990s. It is important to recognize that the current system of public education consists of a reciprocal relationship between public schools and institutional patterns shaping them. While Stinchcombe draws no distinction between the institution being studied and the institutions influencing it, I have chosen to illustrate this relationship with the system of public schools as the conduit through which decisions about school choice are made. In the model developed by Stinchcombe, he identifies the core process of decision making. It is from the decisions between structured alternatives that individuals have the ability to make decisions. These decisions are affected by motives, information, and sanctions brought to bear on the decisions. Often times, decisions are affected by the behavior of individuals. Stinchcombe also recognizes that decisions are affected through the influence of motivation, information, and sanctions of the system. Both the individual and systemic objectives have been incorporated into my model. While it is possible for some school districts to maintain a sense of status quo under the pressure of choice legislation, it has become increasingly difficult to do so. Lack of responsiveness to community demands often results in increased criticism being voiced at school board meetings and in letters to the editor. When these tactics did not work, some parents chose to place their children in private schools or home school them. When this occurs, a decrease in the number of students results in a decrease in state funding, the ultimate sanction for some school districts. 24

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To illustrate more carefully the power of decision making in the model on school choice, I included two levels of legislative decision making. In both Decision 1 and 2, individual and structural elements were identified. In Decision 1, the decision is made to protect the status quo and disavow any new opportunities for choice. In this scenario, no choice opportunities are available. For individual children, the results include the continuation of a uniform educational plan for all and limited opportunities for parents to express their wishes. From a structural perspective, the public school system is able to retain its neighborhood orientation and a traditional form of governance. Only one basic type of educational program may be the only one available. Making no choice available is possible to the district through avoidance, excuse making, or sanctions. In Decision 2, a legislated opp01tunity for choice is created. A variety of choices may be made possible to parents. In a district where choice is possible, individual children are able to attend the school their parents have selected. Parents attain a greater voice in these districts. When choice becomes available, the school district may be able to diversify its offerings, thereby enticing more students to stay in or return to the system. Differentiated governance plans including site-based management may be offered. Choice availability is possible through motivation, information, and sanctions. Stinchcombe moves directly from the decision to the rates of institutionally consequential behavior. While outcomes are incorporated as aspects of consequential behavior, it is specifically the manifest and latent outcomes described by Merton in his treatise on functionalism that I wish to emphasize in my work. For this reason, rather than developing the model after this fashion, I have differentiated institutionally consequential behaviors into two separate categories. These categories are outcomes and effects. These terms were selected based on definitions developed by Lasswell ( 1971, pp. 46-48)in his Social Process and Decision Process models. A Definition of Outcomes. Lasswell's definition of outcomes is a many-faceted one that is based on integrated elements of the Social and Decision Process Models. In his 25

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discussion of decision making, Lasswell states that the role of a policy scientist must be to operate within a framework that emphasizes outcomes. He describes outcomes in terms of the values at stake and the enforceability of commitments under the duress of challengers' sanctions. For Lasswell, decision outcomes occur when participants, each with distinctive subjective perspectives, come to a situation to make a decision. In this setting, the values of each participant are managed through the use of strategies to affect the outcomes. Lasswell believes outcomes develop at different stages of the decision process. At the outset of a decision, intelligence outcomes include gathering, evaluating, and distributing information. Promotional outcomes include actions brought about during the process of mobilizing attention to common interests. Prescription outcomes make it possible for norms to be distinguished from one another. Invocational outcomes call for provisional support to the prescriptions that have been made. Application outcomes call for final support to the prescriptions in situations in which they can be implemented. Termination outcomes remove any prescriptions that are not believed to contribute to the aims of the participants. Appraisal outcomes summarize the elements of the prescription to be accepted and assign formal responsibility (pp. 27-48). Lasswell's model was originally designed to be implemented at the initiation of a decision making process. Within the arena of school choice policy, many decisions have already been implemented in the district that I elected to study. For this reason, it was not be possible to scrutinize outcomes before a policy had been approved in the manner that Lasswell outlined. I do believe, however, that this model was helpful as a reminder that decisions are made at many different points in the implementation of a policy from information gathering to evaluation. As I collected data, I used this model to categorize outcomes and to avoid use of final outcomes as the main source of information. Also helpful in developing the definition of outcomes is the work of Merton ( 1957) on manifest and latent functions. Merton states that "manifest functions are those 26

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objective consequences contributing to the adjustment or adaptation of the system which are intended and recognized by participants in the system; latent functions, correlatively, being those which are neither intended nor recognized" (p. 51). Using both Lasswell's and Merton's ideas, I have chosen to define an outcome as the behaviors or consequences that occur when people with varying perspectives engage in the decision process. Included are those behaviors or consequences that are both intended and unintended. A Definition of Effects. According to Lasswell, effects are described as the changes that occur after the social process unfolds (p. 48). As I differentiate between outcomes and effects, I see effects as the over-arching changes to the macro level that result from the assimilation and evaluation of the outcomes at the micro level. The effects of the decisions made by a district in addressing school choice were analyzed, and lessons for future policy decisions were identified. Social Character. Stinchcombe builds into his model a casual loop of change in social characteristics. While values are certainly pertinent to this study, I elected to exclude the component of development of social character as a separate element from my model. As was related in the outcomes section, outcomes are replete with values. As outcomes are described, so too were the values underlying them. In addition, through the use of the Social Process Model developed by Lasswell, I incorporated social values in my interview questions and included them as an integral part of each element of the case study. Conclusion As in the models developed by Merton and Stinchcombe, the system of analysis is one in which several feedback loops have been included. As decisions are made and implemented, the public school system is immediately affected. These effects are then relayed to the community, families, businesses, and government. Over time, both manifest and latent outcomes create effects and complete the feedback loop to the public 27

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system and community at large. Understanding how policy brings about changes that are intended and changes that are not intended has implications for educational policy makers in the future. The purpose of this study was neither to pass judgment on school-choice policy nor to take a stand on the question of school reform. The purpose of the study was to look closely at the role of school-choice legislation, particularly charter school legislation, within the Colorado public school arena and to determine whether reforms that have occurred as a direct result of the legislation have brought about systemic educational effects. While national, state, and local implications were reviewed, the majority of findings in this study were based on my work in one Colorado school district. In this study, a simple case has been investigated that may illustrate several implications for policy makers at the state and district levels. First, the degree to which state choice legislation has brought about reform was explored. This information should be insightful to legislators as they determine whether choice legislation has achieved its intended purposes. Second, the study describes latent outcomes that have appeared following charter school legislation. Had the unexpected consequences of legislation been anticipated prior to the adoption of the law, the legislature might have reduced implementation boondoggles faced by districts. Again, this information should prove helpful to legislators as they consider new policy development, particularly in the area of school choice. Districts will benefit from this study in several ways. Data on the implementation of state policy from the sites included in the study is available. Information on reform measures being implemented in several districts was documented. Perceptions of the districts' internal and external communities with regard to improved educational practices was summarized. For public school administrators, this study has value as well. Administrators who have not found it necessary to address school choice systematically will be able to read a case study of the efforts of one district that has. School reform measures that have 28

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not been legislated will be reviewed with enough detail that other administrators could emulate or further investigate the efforts if desired. Of greatest significance is that the information carries with it the caution that express purposes and unanticipated consequences go hand in hand. Perhaps that will help policy makers at the state and district levels review policies with an eye to both the manifest and latent outcomes prior to the adoption of educational legislation. 29

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CHAPTER2 THE FACE OF CONTEl\1PORARY EDUCATIONAL REFORM In the time of Zeus, Prometheus, and Pandora, men lived carefree lives similar to those of the gods. They had few needs, for food and drink were plentiful, hardship or strife were nonexistent, and in death they became guardian angels to other men. The men of this Golden Age lived in hannony with the gods. Men and the gods engaged in shared activities and pleasures. Together they played, talked, slept, and even at times shared meals with one another. It was a peaceful time of contentment until Prometheus played his trick on Zeus. To show his displeasure, Zeus had Pandora, the first woman, created. Initially perceived as a blessing, it wasn't until time had passed that men began to see the changes occurring around them and knew that Pandora had some role in these changes (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 26). Education's Golden Age For many Americans, education too had a Golden Age. This popular educational period took place around the time that many adults were in school themselves. To some degree, it has been romanticized based on the memories of schooling that they had experienced during their fonnative years. In the 25 years that followed World War II, America experienced a booming economy and a huge expansion in public education. The enrollment in America's high schools increased by 50% or more and colleges and universities were bursting at the seams as enrollments more than doubled. It was during this period that the educational system of the United States was greatly envied throughout the world (Berliner & Biddle, 1995, p. 129). The Golden Age may be attributed in part to the cycle of educational belief that was 30

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most prevalent during this time. With the establishment of the common school in the mid-nineteenth century, it was clear that public education was created for three purposes which included securing the common good of man, promoting the needs of individuals in growth and fulfillment, and ensuring a stronger economy and a more competitive work force. Over time, American education has evolved in a somewhat cyclical fashion with an emphasis on one given purpose often taking precedence over the other two. Efforts during the Golden Age of Education focused largely on the common good. Reflective of the beliefs of Dewey, this period of education for the common good was viewed as a means to advance social progress and to overcome divisions between the educated and uneducated, between the wealthy and the poor, and between races. It appeared that the American populace would escape class-system practices (Wells, 1993, pp. 7-10). Five new policies cultivated the establishment of educational equality through adopting compulsory education laws, expanding the system of higher education, implementing plans, including handicapped children in the public schools, and developing compensatory education programs such as Title I and Head Start (Finn, 1991, pp. 5-7). Compulsory Education Where primary education was deemed to be sufficient prior to World War II, after the war secondary schooling was considered to be an essential part of one's education. It was at this time that states began to require that everyone go to school for more years than had seemed adequate in the 1930s and 1940s. While laws vary from state to state, most states now mandate that children begin school by age six and remain in school until age sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen. In thirty-seven states kindergarten must be offered to children that are five years of age and in eleven states children are actually required to attend kindergatten. While high school completion is not required in any 31

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state, public educational opportunities through high school are made available, at no cost to all young people who wish to attend (p. 6). Higher Education With more students attending the nation's secondary schools after World War II, the United States was faced with increased demands from those who wanted to continue their educations at the nations colleges and universities. It was in response to these demands that the country built the world's largest and most accessible system of higher education. While a higher education is not provided free of charge, subsidized tuition and financial aid are available for impoverished students (p. 6). Following World War II, the adoption of the G.I. Bill provided financial support for any veteran who wanted to attend a college or university. This legislation opened the doors for enormous numbers of veterans to continue their education. Many of the poor and minority populations that had not been afforded the opportunity to attend a college or university before the war were now able to do so (Berliner & Biddle, 1995, p. 36). In the 1990s, postsecondary options legislation made college or university attendance possible for even more students. Desegregation In 1954, the nation still engaged in a system of education that isolated minorities in schools of their own. It was during this year that the Supreme Court in Brown versus the Board of Education ruled that "separate but equal" was an unconstitutional doctrine and could not be tolerated in America's public schools. This decision was a major catalyst for the campaign of "simple justice" thus targeting the racial segregation of students. Supreme Court Justices took the position that it was unlikely that any child denied the opportunity for an education, equal to that of other children, would be able 32

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to succeed in life. This precedent-setting decision established opportunities not only for blacks, but for other minority groups as well (Tyack, 1995, p. 26). Since the ruling that schools could no longer separate students based on color or ethnicity, efforts to eradicate segregation in the educational system have been prevalent. Additional court cases have been tried and the decision to desegregate schools has been upheld. This has resulted in vast numbers of policies and practices designed to eradicate discriminatory practices from the nation's schools (Finn, 1991, p. 6). This mling was a major force in the creation of some of our nation's first opportunities for school choice through freedom-of-choice plans adopted by many southern states. Handicapped Children The 1954 Brown judgment gave rise to the formation of groups seeking greater educational opportunities for other students outside the mainstream of public education at the time. Advocates for students with physical and mental handicaps argued that a free and appropriate education was a right that belonged to the disabled. They desired that handicapped students be educated in the "least restrictive environment" and often sought placement for them in regular classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers. The vision of the advocates was that no longer should a child be labeled, ignored, or warehoused (Tyack & Cuban, 1995, p. 27). Some of the nation's magnet schools are designed to attract students with specific handicapping conditions. Magnet schools for blind and deaf students have been popular. In recent years, magnet schools for gifted and talented students have fallen under the umbrella of "exceptional" students. Compensatory Education In the 1960s, the "human capital" theory emerged. This theory advanced the belief that people are poor because they lack capital. In the case of education, this capital included the skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary for individuals to compete in 33

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a technological market place. In 1964, the Council of Economic Advisors prepared a report that implied that if children who were economically disadvantaged were given the right skills and knowledge, they wouldn't grow up continuing the cycle of poverty. It was at this time that compensatory educational programs such as Head Start, Title I, and Job Corps were born in an effort to fight the War on Poverty (Wells, 1993, p. 20). In some cases, the pace of change after the Brown ruling was far too rapid for those who had most benefited from the previous educational order. Opposition to affirmative action, bussing, mainstreaming, and bilingual classes resulted in conflicts between opposing groups. Media played up school violence, overcrowding, and drug use. Teachers were no longer perceived as civil servants as controversies over collective bargaining, strikes, and racial problems surfaced. Parents became more vocal demanding that all children be given a fair chance at education, but that their children be given economic and social advantages. At the very time when equal opportunities for learning were affording more access to the underprivileged, the value of education was under fire from social scientists. At issue were whether poverty could be escaped through education, whether equality of resources would manifest themselves in equal results, whether schooling made a difference, and whether the job market was over saturated by citizens too well qualified for the job. These concerns quickly became fodder for public doubt (Tyack & Cuban, 1995, pp. 28-29). To some degree, during the 1960s, opinions about public schools continued to spiral downward because many of the nation's citizens lost their trust in government and other public institutions. For the most part, America's citizens did not lost their faith in the value of education. However, those more closely associated with schools appeared to have more confidence in the ability of schools to meet the needs of the children than did those with no children in schools nor any other school connection. It soon became clear that: 34

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Public perceptions and expectations of school, --have so changed in recent decades that an institution once secure in the public confidence has regressed in public esteem to a point where the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s seem another world, to some even a golden age, despite the obvious inequities of those decades. (p. 30) An Era of Excellence Unfortunately, endeavors to make education more inclusive and to promote the common good were determined to be, in and of themselves, insufficient means to create an educational system that would quell the nation's distrust in education. Two events of the late 1960s began to refocus attention on the need for other avenues to achieve national educational reform. First, U. S. Education Commissioner Francis Keppel won the approval of the education community to initiate a national assessment program. His idea was to begin to collect data about the quality and quantity of what children were being asked to learn. Second, James Coleman and associates published a study, Equality of Educational Opportunity, that dealt with equity issues of the day. The upshot of Coleman's report was that he found that children's achievement did not vary based on the amount of resources present in the schools (Finn, 1991, p. 8). Many efforts were made to modernize or reform education during the 1960s and 1970s. A strong resurgence on the emphasis of the needs of the individual as a learner emerged. New educational practices that were espoused included affective education, open education, the use of technology as a learning tool, new math, and the inclusion of pass-fail courses. The liberal form of thinking evidenced in the curricular examples cited was perhaps best embodied by Ralph Waldo Emerson who felt that common schools were too common and instead promoted looking at student-centered education. He believed that children should not be told what to learn and do but that each child should be guaranteed the right to grow as an individual. These beliefs are clearly stated in the following passage from Emerson on Education: 35

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I believe that our own experience instructs us that the secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he sha11 know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secrets. By your tampering and thwarting and too much governing, he may be hindered from his end and kept out of his own. (Jones, 1966, pp. 216-217) Despite efforts to embed an emphasis on the individual into the educational opportunities that evolved following World War II critics soon emerged to try to put an end to these practices. The behest to hold students accountable was the sovereign cry of educators promoting excellence. One main charge was that even though the schools were promoting individual progress, schools and educational personnel appeared to be held no more accountable for the progress of their students than had educators during the previous three decades. Those associated with the conservative agenda in evidence during the excellence movement valued back-to-basics curriculum, more emphasis on standardized tests, and high standards. Chester Finn, an assistant secretary of education under Reagan, argued that liberal policy makers placed too much confidence in the national government's ability to deploy resources in ways that reduced consequences of educational differences (Wells, 1993, p. 47). It was at this time that fundamentalist alternative schools began springing up across the nation. For a number of years, the reform debate shifted from common good to child centered beliefs and back again. Then in I 962, a new purpose for public education began to emerge, based on the ideas outlined in Capitalism and Freedom. The author, Milton Friedman, acknowledges the importance of teaching students the values of society and ensuring individual accountability for knowledge. His concern is that our current system of schooling is an affront to the ideals of our country because a stable society is not possible if minimum degrees of literacy and knowledge aren't present and when a common set of values are not held by the citizens. He does not believe the system sufficiently emphasizes the contributions each individual must make to secure a democratic and stable economic society. Because Friedman advocates a new form of government in which the economic system drives both personal and social good, he 36

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states that parents rather than government should be setting the public school agenda (Friedman, 1962, p. 86). Friedman's beliefs later took form in the school choice movement, when states began to examine the use of vouchers as a means for promoting additional educational advancement. Beginning in the 1950s, choice opportunities began appearing in several different forms. Freedom of choice plans became one of the first efforts of individuals to make options available. This cast of schools of choice materialized as students were able to select a school outside the neighborhood in which they lived in an effort to desegregate schools. The second form of school choice popular during the 1970s and 1980s was the alternative school movement. Developed by educators and parents at a grass-roots level, these schools took many forms. The third type of school choice was the magnet school movement. Also an effort to desegregate schools, these schools were new schools designed to attract students of many races. Each of these choice models served as the foundation for the development of current schools of choice legislation now evidenced in most states. Freedom of Choice Plans In 1955, the year following the first Brown decision, a second decision was rendered. In this ruling, desegregation in southern public schools was to by carried out "with all deliberate speed." For the most part, districts in the southern United States were initially resistive to change despite the charge that desegregation practices be implemented quickly. Southern legislators made public statements of noncompliance and the south refused to comply with the Supreme Court decisions. By 1957, at least 136 new legal or state constitutional amendments had been introduced in the south in an effort to delay or prevent school integration. Louisiana, amended it constitution to require that schools maintain segregation. Mississippi gave the state legislature the power to close schools if desegregation could not be avoided. In addition, the state of 37

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South Carolina cut off funding to any desegregated public school (Henig, 1994, p. 103). When the efforts of southern states to maintain segregation failed, some districts implemented "freedom of choice" plans. These plans were minimal efforts that made it possible for black students to choose schools that primarily enrolled white students or white students to attend majority black schools. It was believed that if people didn't choose to change to mixed-race schools that it would prove southern people preferred segregated school environments. The system was set up to assign students to desegregated schools, then offer to any student who was a minority in the new school setting the opportunity to transfer back to the old school in which their race was the majority. Henig states that, "In practice, this ensured that the formal desegregation process would be little more than a ritual dance, with little or no impact on the racial composition of the schools as the students actually experienced them" (p. 103 ). The freedom-to-choose experience was largely a failure. White students seldom requested a transfer and black students who did transfer were exposed to harassment or board denial of their requests. In 1968, the issue of segregation was again brought before the Supreme Court. The case, Green versus County School Board of New Kent County, involved a school district in Virginia. Only two schools existed in this small community. The school on the west side of the city enrolled 740 black students. The school on the east side of town enrolled the district's 550 white students. The 1964 approval of the Virginia Pupil Placement Act made it impossible for districts to assign students to a given school. Students were assigned to the school they had attended the previous year unless the family submitted an application to the state board of education requesting a transfer and the request was approved. It was also in 1964 that the Civil Rights Act was passed making it possible for federal funds to be withheld from segregated institutions. The 1965 New Kent freedom of choice plan made it possible for students in first through eighth grades to 38

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attend either of the district's schools. Students in the other grades could apply for a transfer or be reassigned to their previous school. Several months before the New Kent plan went into effect, a group of black plaintiffs sued the state and the school district charging discriminatory practices. In 1966, the federal district court mled in favor of the state. Upon appeal to the Supreme Court, the lower court's decision was overturned. The decision was interpreted to mean that school districts must do more than provide the means by which students could desegregate themselves (Wells, I 993, pp. 63-68). These early southern schools of choice were motivated by beliefs quite different than the ones that inspired another opportunity for students to choose schools in other parts of the nation. Alternative schools were based on the principles of advancement of the common good, promotion of the needs of individuals, or stabilization of our economic society sprang up across the nation in the early 1970s. These opportunities took the form of small, creative alternative schools whose character and structure varied by huge degrees. The Alternative Education Movement The inception of the alternative schools movement in public education became most prevalent in the United States in the 1970s. At alternative schools an effort was made to increase educational responsiveness to the needs of individuals while at the same time to endeavor to incorporate democratic values and promote the common good. While alternative schools of this era were somewhat varied in nature, several major educational patterns emerged. It was found that the alternative schools usually established an invitation for choice, offered distinct educational programs, promoted schools that were smaller in size, prepared more comprehensive educational objectives, sought greater school autonomy, and encouraged active participation for students and parents (Wells, 1993, p. 42-44). 39

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Invitation for Choice. By its very definition, the term alternative education indicates a departure from the norm. It is a means selected by those who think differently about education and are searching for something not found in the mainstream of public education (Hegener & Hegener, 1992, p. 16). Most alternative schools offered choices not found in traditional schools at that time. These schools often attracted staff members, parents, and students who were interested in approaching education through more innovative means. Essential to these schools was the ability to offer a cmTiculum or instructional program that parents and students would want to choose. For this reason, considerable variety was found in many alternative schools of the 1970s and 1980s. Distinct Educational Programs. Unlike the traditional offerings of most schools, alternative schools usually selected a unique feature upon which to base the school. At times, a particular curriculum, different teaching methods, a unique school climate or some combination of these features was offered. Most alternative schools fit into one of several categories including open schools that were organized around learning centers; theme schools that offered specialized instruction such as the arts, science, or mathematics; schools without walls where learning took place in different locations; continuation schools designed to bring students back into the educational system; or schools within schools where small programs were housed in a larger school facilities (Wells, 1993, pp. 42-44). Smaller Schools. Advocates of alternative schools were advocates for small school size. These smaller schools were believed to be more conducive to a focus on individual students and their learning than were larger schools. A 1974 NASP survey revealed that the vast majority of alternative schools had fewer than 200 students. Very few of the early alternative schools had more than 500 students in residence (p. 43). Comprehensive Educational Objectives. Perhaps a fore runner to academic standards, alternative schools often had well established educational objectives that far 40

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surpassed traditional district objectives or graduation requirements. In addition to academic requirements, alternative schools often worked on self-concept, appreciation of cultural diversity, promoting individual skills, developing individual talents, and preparing students for adult roles and responsibilities including those in the field of work (pp. 43-44). Autonomy. While complete autonomy from the school district was not possible, alternative schools endeavored to reduce the amount of bureaucracy to which they were held. Parental input was found to be the most influential element to the design and modification of the program or instructional methodology when new alternative schools were created. This was found to allow for more instructional innovation and an increase in the ability of staff members to be responsive to the requests of their constituents (p. 44). Active Participation. Alternative schools set out to increase the level of participation of students and parents. Where parents had been less visible in traditional schools, alternative schools included parents as an integral part of the learning environment. Parents found that they were better informed about the educational program of their child and that the school was better prepared to meet their needs (p. 44). As Americans have struggled to answer how best to address the needs of our children, becoming involved in public school improvement has become a vehicle to establish our values, identity, and freedom. Called into question has been the concern with how to keep a balance between the freedoms of individuals and families and the rights of the community (Cookson, 1994, p. 2). This balance between the needs of individuals and the needs of communities has become particularly evident during political debate of the past two decades. Magnet Schools In response to efforts to desegregate America's schools, school officials were faced 41

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with the challenge of creating inventive means to bring racially-different students together while not alienating parents. To this end, efforts to develop schools for students and their families to choose versus the forced transfer of students had appeal. The most popular effort at bringing about school desegregation has been through the use of magnet schools. These schools often offer distinct educational programs that are designed to attract students of differing backgrounds. According to Wells, "The idea is to create schools that offer an enhanced and engaging educational program (s) that parents of all races prefer to their neighborhood schools." Magnet schools began as a popular idea in northern schools in the 1970s. These schools began springing up soon after southern schools were forced to give up "freedom of choice" schools and during the time of the advancement of alternative education. Similar to the alternative schools described in the previous section, magnet schools offered programs and practices not found in neighborhood schools (p. 75). The definition of a magnet school has been taken from the work of Blank. He finds that four characteristics are prevalent in magnet schools. First, they are organized around a specific curricular theme or instructional model. Second, magnet schools have desegregation as a primary focus. Third, magnet schools are schools of choice for students and parents. Fourth, magnet school students are able to attend the school even if they live outside the school's regular attendance area. For school districts, magnet schools have been able to bring about school improvement and greater equity. The popularity of magnet schools increased in many districts during the 1970s and 1980s. According to a federal study on magnet schools, by the 1981-1982 school year, I, 100 magnet schools were in existence in 138 different school districts. The mean number of students in magnet schools was 3,100 although the range varied from 125 to 25,000 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Magnet schools were often found to be located in larger urban districts (Clune &Witte, 1990, pp. 78-79). Between 1983 and 1990 the growth in the number of students attending magnet 42

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schools had increased exponentially. Thirteen of fifteen districts included in Blank's study had significant increases. He found that during the 1982-1983 school year the mean average enrollment was 6,055 students; by the 1988-1989 school year, that mean enrollment had increased to 10,328. Increases of over 100% were experienced in seven cities (pp. 89-90). Unlike alternative schools, magnet schools were generally not founded by grass roots efforts of parents or teachers. Rather, they usually resulted from court-ordered desegregation plans or school board efforts to avoid desegregation lawsuits. As such they have several characteristics that distinguish them from neighborhood schools and keep their demand high. First, magnet schools are typically found in districts that have a desegregation plan. Because families are allowed to choose the school, they are often more popular than non-magnet schools to which students are assigned. Colmful brochures, television and radio advertisements, and newspaper articles prepared to showcase the schools often attract students, as well. Second, magnet schools receive special categorical funding from state departments and school districts because of efforts to promote choice versus busing. Extra state and local dollars in combination with special funding available through the Magnet School Assistance Program, make it possible for magnet schools to offer smaller class sizes and materials and equipment not available at other schools. Magnet schools often qualified for as much as $200 more per student than did non-magnet schools (Wells, 1993, p. 88). The third characteristic is that magnet schools are often able to enroll the most academically-talented students in the district. Referred to a "creaming," magnet schools are often able to recruit top students and leave harder-to-educate students at neighborhood schools. This is due to the ability of magnet schools to establish enrollment criteria such as grades, test scores, or require the completion of complex applications before selecting a student. In schools with lottery procedures, a 43

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combination of selection and lottery selection are often combined. It has been charged by some that those who are better educated, have connections, and time are more likely to apply to magnet schools. While not all magnet schools engage in such practices, the important issues of access and equity are of concern (pp. 81-86). The early efforts at making choice available were minuscule in comparison with the rhetoric that began to take place at the national level beginning in the 1980s. It appears that proponents of school choice came from all walks of life including politicians, religious leaders, business groups, and union leaders. While some educators and children's advocates remained skeptical, choice supporters believed that if parents were able to select the schools their children would attend, schools would be forced to become more competitive in a free market system. By the 1980s, several events took place that brought school choice to the level of national proportion (Kahne, 1996, pp. 92-93). National Politics of Reform With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the belief in the need for educational improvement achieved national status. Reagan's conservative perspective gave rise to initiatives on tuition tax credits, school prayer, and private school vouchers. Reagan supported the abolishment of the Department of Education, charging that it was an example of the Democratic Party's eagerness to spend money and enlarge the federal government. Despite this beliefs about public schools and his efforts to improve the system, Reagan's efforts at changing public education had little impact during the first two years of his administration (Wells, 1993, pp. 17-18). Risky Business The now famous 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, by the National Commission on Excellence in Education portrayed the American educational system in a new light and 44

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raised the state of education to crisis level. This report stated that, "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people ... It also said that, "We must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all" ( 1983, p. 1). This document painted a clear picture that, despite Reagan's focus on education, something was wrong. Based on the opening line indicating our nation was in trouble, many Americans, for the first time in their lives, began to question the future of our country and our status to retain the position as a world power. The report clearly placed blame for our precarious position on difficulties in our current system of public education. Soon, A Nation At Risk became the impetus for a movement among conservatives to gain an even stronger foothold in education. Chester E. Finn, assistant secretary of education in the Reagan administration, furthered his strong advocacy of educational conservatism during this period. The conservative education agenda "emphasized high standards, high test scores, a return to basic core subjects, and a sink-or-swim attitude toward individual achievement" (Wells, 1993, p. 47). This agenda was in direct opposition to the early national emphasis which encouraged all students to participate in the educational system to their fullest capabilities. Finn charged that allowing liberal policy makers to define school success in terms of the resources available and the opportunities of which students could partake was a focus on the wrong factors. He instead promoted an emphasis on actual student achievement (p. 47). The battle cry raised by the authors of A Nation At Risk was taken up by other groups such as the Education Commission of the States (1983), the Business Higher Education Forum (1983), the Twentieth Century Fund (1983), the Carneige Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1983), the College Board (1983), and the National Governors Association (1986). A number of respected educational 45

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scholars voiced similar concerns (Adler, 1982; Goodlad, 1984; Sizer, 1984), and embarked on the greatest educational reform in history (Cookson, 1994, pp. 18-19). Terrel H. Bell, former secretary of the Department of Education in 1984, initiated an effort to rank the states based on academic performance. Bell's approach was to identify successful and unsuccessful schools, primarily through the use of standardized college admissions tests such as the SAT and ACT and then to present his findings to the public. This process has continued since that time and many states have subsequently raised their high school graduation standards and high school requirements (Wells, 1993, p. 48). Standards for students were most commonly evaluated through student progress on examinations of minimum competency. Generally speaking, competency examinations set the bar to which all successful students were to rise. Often the attainment of a minimum score was the detennining factor in whether students were allowed to graduate. In another iteration, schools began expanding the number of academic courses that were to be taken. Several states set up gateways of achievement that had to be accomplished before moving to the next grade. A final incentive tactic used was the restriction on athletic participation if grades were too low (Finn, 1991, pp. 42-43). With an increase in standards for students came an increase in standards for teachers. This resulted in a greater effort being placed on teacher competencies. In 1980, only ten states had a system of written testing for teachers prior to hiring. By the end of the 1980s, forty-four states had adopted competency tests for new teachers. While many states have adopted the same test, the National Teachers' Examination, it is believed by Finn that the ability of states to determine their own cutoff points has diluted the effectiveness of the initiative (p. 43). Beginning in the late 1980s, the concept of learner outcomes was the topic of discussion in many states. A learner outcome was a statement of what a student needed to know and be able to do to demonstrate understanding of the subject matter. 46

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Educators were challenged to define what it was they wanted students to know and ways of measuring the progress of students in demonstrating an understanding of the outcomes. For some educators, this created a shift in thinking as passing was no longer relegated to the completion of Cameige units. Several states including Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Minnesota adopted legislation requiring student mastery of outcomes prior to graduation (Conley, 1991, pp. 113-114). Well Prepared In 1986, the Cameige Forum on Education and the Economy published A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the Twenty-first Century. This report sought the an increase in the professionalization of teaching and empowerment of parents and students. Authors of the report believed that through these means school restructuring and innovation would occur. It was following this report that site-based management became a reform agenda. The work of districts such as Dade County, Florida and Rochester, New York became examples of exemplary practice. Since then, many districts across the nation have adopted and implemented some form of school-based management. In schools with site-based management, parents are given a stronger voice in decision-making practices (Cookson, 1994, p. 19). Parents are often members of decision-making bodies which act in an advisory capacity. As team members they have decision-making authority on school-related issues such as policy development, curriculum review, materials selection, hiring, or teacher evaluation. Through the implementation of this practice, parents have come to play an integral role in many schools. Clearly, the educational policies of the Ronald Reagan era were instrumental in bringing educational reform and parental empowerment to national prominence. America 2000 What Reagan began, George Bush continued during his years in the White House. 47

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In 1991, Bush and Lamar Alexander, the Secretary of Education, released America 2000: An Educational Strategy. This document asserted the role of federal responsibility for public educational excellence in four areas: "I. For today' s students, 2. For tomorrow's students, 3. For those of us already out of school and in the work force, 4. For schools to succeed" (U. S. Department of Education, 1991, p. 12). Through implementation of the concepts in this document, Bush and Alexander hoped school districts would create "break-the-mold schools" by using share resources from businesses, community organizations, educational promoters, and think tanks. The proposal carried with it a two-million dollar education certificate of support and a thirty million dollar fund for creating new schools to moved the country forward (p. 36). Two aspects of the report were perceived to be highly controversial. First, it proposed that Title I federal monies follow a student to any public or non-public school the child wished to attend, thereby reducing federal funding. Second, it encouraged states and local school districts to develop voucher plans that would pennit students to attend both sectarian and non-sectarian private schools at public expense (Young & Clinchy, 1992, pp. 130-131). To Market. To Market Published in 1990, Politics. Markets, and American Schools, furthered the push toward greater choice. Using ideas first introduced by Friedman in the 1960s, the authors state that public schools in America are monopolies and that, if faced with competition, natural operations of markets will require poor performing schools to change or force them to cease to exist. Chubb and Moe believe that, by allowing market forces to prevail, government regulation of schools would no longer be necessary. To the authors, this is exactly the remedy needed if public schools are to be fixed. 48

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According to the authors, choice of schools, by itself, is the panacea for the reform of our public education system. They state: Choice is a self-contained reform with its own rationale and justification. It has the capacity all by itself to bring about the kind of transformation that, for years, reformers have been seeking to engineer in a myriad of other ways. Indeed, if choice is to work to greatest advantage, it must be adopted without these other reforms, since the latter are predicated on democratic control and are implemented by bureaucratic means. The whole point of a thoroughgoing system of choice is to free the schools from these disabling constraints by sweeping away old institutions and replacing them with new ones. Taken seriously, choice is not a system preserving reform. It is a revolutionary reform that introduces a new system of public education. (p. 217) In a position that is even somewhat more controversial, Chubb and Moe began to promote Friedman's ideas on the use of vouchers in establishing educational improvement. It is largely Friedman's work that is cited by legislators and lobbyists when voucher bills are drafted. At times, the threat of vouchers is used to make other school-reform legislation more palatable. States Pick Up the Gauntlet During the 1990s, reformers have recommended new solutions to the issues of public education. Often adopted by state legislatures, educational choice policy addresses the demand for "choice" by making new options available. The scope of this effort is of national proportion. In a special report on school choice prepared by the Carnegie Foundation, it is stated that, "Choice has, without question, emerged as the single most rousing idea in the current school ref01m effort." As many states began to embrace choice philosophy, Minnesota paved the way with its 1987 choice legislation. Minnesota was soon followed by Michigan and Ohio. By 1992, at least a dozen states have entered into discussions about school choice legislation and are debating the pros and cons of such action (Carnegie Foundation, 1992, p. 1 ). As was true of other states, Colorado legislators were soon enamored of the possibilities of choice. Choice in Colorado. Over the past several years, a number of educational issues 49

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have met with the intervention of the Colorado Legislature. Through a review of these interventions, it is obvious that legislators are committed to reform education in significant ways. Reform is defined as a change in those actions which focus on procedures, rules, and requirements of the system and which frequently respond to pressure from an external entity. In the case of educational reform, this force often is exerted by boards of education or state policy makers (Conley, 1993, p. 8). It is not only legislators who are involved with the demand for educational reform. Parents, educators at colleges and universities, members of the community, and business people are involved as well. Directly and indirectly, parents and community members have been invited to take a more active role in education. Through participation on special task forces for education and on school site-based teams, citizens are better able to voice their opinions. Use of college facilities and instructors, adoption of curricula and instructional techniques that are not in keeping with those of the district, increases in autonomy, and alternative uses of financial resources expand opportunities for learning. Likewise, school-to-work programs add components of business training to the school curriculum (Cookson, 1994, pp. 14-16). Districtwide Choice. One of the first items of evidence that the Colorado Legislature was interested in promoting themselves as educational policy makers occurred when a law made intra-district choice possible in 1990. This legislation afforded students the opportunity to choose a school within their district or area of residence without regard to neighborhood status. Typically, specialty schools are created by educators and parents are encouraged to choose the school that best fits their educational beliefs. Administrators are able to accept or deny requests for attendance based on the availability of space, and to ensure racial balance (Carnegie Foundation, 1992, p. 1). Statewide Choice. In 1994, a similar Colorado law was adopted to allow for interdistrict or statewide choice. Through this legislation, students can select a school in a district other than the one in which the student resides, but application approval is 50

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often contingent on availability of space, desegregation requirements, and the ability of the student to provide his own transportation. This open-enrollment law makes it possible for students from other districts within the state to select the schools that they wish to attend. At issue is that when a district loses students, it also loses funding. It is believed that if districts begin to lose funding to other districts, the sending district will improve its educational practices to bring students back into the fold (p. 2). Both the districtwide and statewide choice laws in Colorado establish more competitive practices as schools endeavor to attract students. Private-school choice. Private-school choice or school-voucher plans are often the most highly disputed form of school choice. These plans make it possible for parents to send their children to private schools using public funds. This plan is currently in use in Milwaukee. It was proposed to Colorado's voters in 1992, but was defeated by a two-to-one margin. If it had passed, the Colorado proposal would have given vouchers worth up to $2,500 to parents who send their children to private schools or home school them (p. 2). In November 1998, Colorado voters will again be asked to determine whether public funding of private schools is in the best interest of its students. Postsecondary Options. Postsecondary options legislation was adopted in Colorado in 1991. This legislation has made it possible for high school students to attend a college or university for some or all of their course work. In some cases, college or university personnel are brought to the public schools to teach various courses. These opportunities make it possible for students to take advanced courses or courses of special interest that otherwise might not be offered. The public school district in which the student resides pays expenses, including tuition, school fees, and book charges, out of its state funding allocation. Charter Schools Act. A more recent form of choice initiative has been the adoption of the Colorado Charter Schools Act of 1993. This legislation has been advanced as a 51

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powerful means to achieve school reform. Charter school advocates believe that the legislation establishes a different means to address learning and bring about innovative practices. Charter schools remain public schools but have increased autonomy, control state funds awarded on a per pupil basis, and may waive state and local policies, exclusive of those that address safety and discriminatory practices. Changes in school-choice practices can be observed in most Colorado school districts. All districts have been faced with changing enrollment practices due to districtwide and statewide choice laws. Many districts have also experienced a shift in practices since juniors and seniors have been able take courses at the college and university level. Approximately one fourth of Colorado districts have had to address issues related to charter school legislation. In addition, some Colorado districts have implemented choice options not mandated by law. It is apparent that all Colorado districts face a variety of effects based on the combination of legislated and non legislated choice efforts. 52

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CHAPTER3 IvlETHODOLOGICAL DESIGN While most men embraced Pandora, some among them realized that what she offered was not necessarily what she delivered. These skeptics questioned what they saw and asked is what more is there, can this be further explained, and to what end have these occurrences transpired? Mankind has always sought the answers to complex sociological questions and has devised ways to determine what has taken place. To do so is to ascribe method to a set of occurrences and to apply order to disorder. As Schulman states, "Method is the attribute which distinguishes research activity from mere observation and speculation" (Jaeger, 1988, p. 3). As the saga of Pandora unfolds, method is critical to understanding. Grounded Theory One method that has proven effective in data collection and analysis is grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). "The goal of grounded theory is to generate a theory that accounts for a pattern of behavior which is relevant and problematic for those involved" (Strauss, 1987, p. 34). Grounded theory has been described as an approach to qualitative data that helps the researcher move toward a theory without a prior commitment to a specific type of data, form of research, or theoretical interest. To this end, it is not a specific method or procedure. Rather, it is a methodological style adopted by a researcher that includes a number of distinctive features including theoretical sampling and continuous comparisons of coding to ensure conceptual development and density (p. 5). Grounded theory emphasizes the need to capture variation that is prevalent in any research project through developing concepts and 53

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linkages. A theory that does not adhere to rules, instead, it is recognized that neat codification of methodology is often not possible. This occurs whenever diverse social settings and contingencies effect the collection of data and how they are to be analyzed (p. 7). This study of alternative and charter schools clearly met those conditions. For this reason, the study was carried out utilizing grounded theory methodology. Its purpose was to examine the actions taken by the district personnel and those affiliated with school choice as they relate to the Colorado Charter School Law and other legislated and non-legislated school choice policies. Four elements of the study were selected for inclusion. The first section provides an overview of the process used to select a school district as the unit of study for this case. The second section describes some of the preliminary data sources th.at were incorporated. An overview of the interview process was delineated in the third section of the study. The 'final section describes the means for analysis of the data collected. Definition of the Case A school district in Colorado, to be known as Vista School District (a pseudonym), was chosen as the source of data for this study. Individuals from the district cited in the study have also been given pseudonyms in an effmt to protect their anonymity. The rationale for selection of this district is that over the course of several years a series of legislative and local policy events caused the district to evolve into a system replete with multi-faceted choice opportunities. The first event was the passage of three state laws that resulted in increased opportunities for choice. The adoption of two of the laws brought about changes in enrollment practices and made it possible for students within the district and outside district boundaries to choose the school they wished to attend. The third law made opened the local community college and university for a number of high school students through postsecondary options. While these educational concessions can be 54

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found in many districts, the number of students electing to change schools or attend classes at the college level in Vista School District was at 7% during 1997-1998. The second event was the decision of administrators and school board members to make alternative schools and programs available to students. Discussion of this concept began in Fall 1992 when several variables came into play. These variables included efforts by several groups to create new educational experiences for children. One group of parents desired to adopt Core Knowledge curriculum, a group of teachers tried to begin a school-within-a-school at a local elementary without success, and a second group of teachers had investigated two-way language schools and were anxious to develop a school based on these principles. Concurrently, a group that had opened a hands-on science program for students became interested in obtaining space in a district facility and an administrator who had a vision of centralizing early childhood programs. It was at this time that a second variable emerged. New construction had been underway in the district and as a result it became common knowledge that three facilities were being vacated and that the district had no immediate plans for use of the buildings. The third variable thrown into the mix was the discussion of choice occurring at the national level. New trends for states to approve charter schools had surfaced in Minnesota and California. Other states, including Colorado were discussing this possibility and administrators in Vista School District were aware that the legislation would likely pass in Colorado (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Based on these variables, a district created alternative schools policy was established in 1992. The policy made it possible for teachers or parents to apply to try a curriculum or instructional practice not found in the neighborhood schools. After application and community review processes were completed, the board of education determined that a Language Immersion School, a Core Knowledge School, an Experiential School, an Early childhood program, and a hands-on science program would be approved. Initial approval later resulted in the creation of three new alternative school-within-a-school 55

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programs. These programs include a high school International Baccalaureate program, a junior high International Baccalaureate program, and a junior high Core Knowledge program. The third event that made this district intriguing was that of the two charter school applications in 1995, one was dropped by the applicants and the second completely worked through the system of application and appeal outlined in the charter law. The Fall 1995 Core Knowledge Charter School application was made by a faction of parents that had originally worked with the alternative Core Knowledge School. After community hearings and board of education discussion, the application was denied by the local board in December 1995, an appeal was heard by the state board of education in February 1996, and the decision was remanded back to the district at that time. In a second round of negotiations, the charter was conditionally approved by the district, a second appeal was filed, and the state board of education upheld the district's decision. Although it had local board approval, the applicants found that the conditions placed on the charter were so restlictive in nature that they decided to abandon the idea for the charter school. The fourth event that took place in Vista School District was the approval of the charter school that had unsuccessfully applied the previous year. The school, Freedom Charter School, modified its application and the general tenor of the negotiations process appeared to be somewhat more congenial. The charter was ultimately approved and Freedom Charter School opened as the first charter school in Vista School District in Fall 1997. While the original intent of this study was to look at the outcomes and effects of charter schools on one school district, the close connection between the alternative Core Knowledge School and Freedom Charter exists. This connection has caused a blurring of the lines of demarcation between the schools and has resulted in a need to include both alternative and charter-school data in this study. 56

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The fifth event that made this district a prime candidate for study was a facility issue that began to evolve at about the same time the charter application was being reviewed. With the granting of permanent status to the alternative schools, several of the people affiliated with the alternative Core Knowledge School believed that the district was obligated to provide them a permanent location. At that time, the alternative school was housed in a wing of a vacated high school and staff and parents of the school wanted to move to an elementary setting. With no vacant elementary buildings in Vista School District, district officials first suggested that 450 students at Patterson Elementary (a pseudonym) be transferred to other buildings. This would entail sending the students to seven different Vista School District sites. A task force ultimately recommended that the Patterson site not be turned over to the Core Knowledge School. A full year of negotiations ensued. It was determined that, for the 1997-1998 school year, the Core Knowledge School would remain at its then high school site. In the interim, it was suggested by one school administrator that a new facility be built to house the Core Knowledge School. This plan was approved and the building of a new elementary school was begun. The staff and students of the alternative Core Knowledge School moved into the new facility in December 1998. The combination of these events and variables was essential to this study because it demonstrated that individuals within the district were aware of increasing parental demands for choice, have acted to ensure that those demands were addressed, and have considered various alternatives to accommodate the needs expressed by members of the community. The intended and unintended outcomes of these choice scenarios and the effects on the district are evident through examination of a variety of data related to the study. Preliminary Data Collection Prior to beginning the study, human subjects permission was granted by the 57

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University of Colorado at Denver (See Appendix A). In addition, district permission was obtained both formally and informally. The alternative schools and programs in Vista School District are currently the responsibility of the Executive Director of Schools, Steven Polk (a pseudonym). Mr. Polk is an advocate of schools of choice and assisted the alternative schools and programs in a variety of ways. I spoke with Mr. Polk in Spring 1996 and found that he would be willing to be interviewed should the study be conducted in Vista School District. Jack Greene (a pseudonym), the Director of Research and Evaluation whose responsibilities include approving and denying research applications. Mr. Greene was most helpful in providing me with information on district protocol. Following his advice, a letter of introduction describing the project was submitted to the superintendent of schools. I was able to speak to him about my interests in charter schools and in the district during an interview. At the bidding of the superintendent, central office administrator Stephen Polk graciously gave his permission for the study to be done in Vista School District (See Appendix B). Initial Use of Artifacts. This second part of the methodology section was the sample selection process. The primary data gathering tool for use in the study was the interview process. Before interview candidates could be selected, it was necessary to determine who the most important participants in school choice matters had been. Because this study focused primarily on past events, developing a collection of historical information was critical to complete before making a decision about whom to interview. Data reviewed included board policies and other written infonnation on school choice that the district provided to parents and community members. Articles from the Local Newspaper published in Hail, Colorado were quite valuable in the identification of key participants. Conducting an examination of excerpts from both video tapes and written minutes of school board meetings and public hearings that include discussions of choice policy added valuable information on key individuals. 58

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These data were also used to triangulate information shared by interviewees during data analysis (Yin, 1994, pp. 91-94 ). Candidate Selection. Following review of these data, initial informants were selected for interviews, using three main strategies. First, data gathered from artifacts were used to generate a list of individuals who were heavily involved in the dialogue on school choice and charter schools. Many of these names came from letters to the editor and articles in the Local Newspaper. This source netted names of district administrative personnel, school board members, parents and staff associated with the application or implementation of an alternative or charter school, advocates for alternative or charter schools with no connection to the operation of the schools, opponents of alternative and charter schools, and members of a community coalition formed to support public schools. Second, school district departments that have been heavily affected by school choice policies were targeted, and key representatives of those departments were interviewed. The initial list was developed based on my experiences as the Alternative Schools Project Manager for Vista School District during the 1994-1995 school year. A matrix of departments in Vista School District was created to provide an initial profile of potential interviewees. Three members of the local board of education with different perspectives on choice issues were included in the matrix. All three agreed to be interviewed. Individuals selected to represent district administration were those who would have interacted with alternative or charter school applicants in some capacity. They included the superintendent, two assistant superintendents, an accountability representative, two representatives from the finance department, the head of the facilities department, a representative from risk management, the assessment coordinator, the head of information systems, a personnel officer, a public relations staff member, and a representative from the special education department. 59

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In addition, four principals and the president of the local educational association were selected for interviews. One principal was selected because she served as the administrator for the Language Immersion School during the 1997-1998 school year. One principal was selected because she was assigned to a site that was in danger of being dismantled due to alternative school facility needs. One principal was selected because he served on the alternative school review team. The last principal was selected because her site lost many students to an alternative school. Several representatives of alternative schools and charter schools, including staff and parents, were invited to participate in an interview. Two representatives from the Language Immersion School and two from the Experiential School were sent introductory letters. No one from the Language Immersion School responded. One representative from the Experiential School returned the form and was interviewed. The headmaster of the alternative Core Knowledge School was interviewed. Three parents associated with the alternative Core Knowledge School but who were not connected with the charter school were invited to participate in the study. Two did not return the consent form and therefore were not interviewed. One parent with children at the alternative Core Knowledge School was interviewed. Two parents who had come out in support of Core Knowledge, but did not have children enrolled in the Core Knowledge School were invited to take part in an interview. One agreed to do so. Six of the people who decided to leave the alternative Core Knowledge School in support of the charter school were sent letters of introduction. Four of these individuals agreed to be interviewed, two did not respond. It is interesting to note that a substantial number of alternative and charter school representatives declined my invitation. It was explained to me by one of the charter school applicants that few people were willing to participate in the interview due to my connections with the school district. As he explained it, little trust existed between charter applicants and district representatives. Because I was viewed as a district representative, he was sure 60

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that alternative and charter school proponents felt that they would be treated unfairly if they participated in the study (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). At the initial contact stage, a total of 39 letters were sent out to those identified as logical interview candidates. While not all of those invited to participate did so, the response was largely favorable and a variety of interests were represented. The demographics of this group included two individuals who worked with the community's research and development center. Both had been involved in research on schools of choice and were knowledgeable about the topic. Twenty-one individuals served as representatives of the school district. Of the twenty one, three were school board members, thirteen were central office administrators, four were principals, and one was the president of the education association. From the original list, ten individuals associated with one of the alternative schools were sent letters and invited to take part in an interview. Of the ten, only four agreed to be interviewed. Six charter applicants were asked to participate in the study as it was originally conceived. Four agreed to be interviewed. After the first round, 31 interviews were completed. All district personnel participated, eight of the alternative or charter school affiliates did not respond to the request for an interview. The lack of respondents representing the alternative and charter school position was of concern. For that reason, second letters were sent to the eight alternative and charter school advocates who had not responded to the first letter. Despite this effort, none of these participants answered the second letter. The third strategy for selecting interview candidates was network selection (Merriam, 1988, p. 50). This method involved interviewing an individual and asking that individual to provide the names of others who should be interviewed. The responses to this question resulted in the inclusion of 14 interviewees beyond those identified in the original interview matrix. One new board member was added to the list. A principal who had worked as a facilitator in the alternative school site dispute 61

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was included. Four parents who joined the coalition in support of public education were included on the second list. Two teachers at the alternative Core Knowledge School were also suggested and it was mentioned that I add the name one of the teachers who had started the high school International Baccalaureate program. The name of a principal of a parochial school along with names of four parents associated with the charter school were referenced. As a result, fourteen new letters were sent in September 1997 produced four additional interviews. The second round of respondents interviewed included the principal and three members of a coalition in support of public schools. Unfortunately, no additional alternative or charter school personnel or advocates responded to my requests. The principal of the parochial school did not contact me or send back the response form. As a result, these data reflect the opinions of fewer staunch advocates for alternative or charter schools than district supporters. Despite the smaller number of responses from school-choice advocates, every effort to represent their perspectives was made. Development of the Interview Instrument It is through the interview instrument that Lasswell's ( 1971) Social Processes Model (See Figure 3.1) was first woven into this study. This model was selected because the categories identified by Lasswell make it possible to move from an institutional look at school policy to a process that includes a sense of contextuality. Merton and Stinchcombe have created models that look at decisions in which institutional patterns shape decisions and result in consequential behaviors. The perspective of Lasswell is somewhat different. He has created a model that starts with an emphasis on the individual components in the decision-making process. In his model, participants including groups, organizations, institutions, and categories of individuals, engage in interactions and utilize institutions to affect resources (p. 18). 62

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FIGURE 3.1 LASSWELL'S SOCIAL PROCESS MODEL Participants or actors are those who take part in a given action or series of actions as individuals or members of groups. Perspectives or perceptions of the choices available to them are considered by the participants. At times, more than one choice is possible. More than one impulse may be present at one time. It is possible that not all perceptions are valid. Situations are the zones in which individuals or groups interact. Situations may include where and how, may be organized or dis organized, and may be value rich or exclusive. Base values include positive and negative assets, perspectives, and capabilities. Participants tend to act in a manner that will maximize values and increase gratification. Resources may be affected as a result. Strategies are used to manage base values in ways to effect value outcomes. Strategies include symbols, signs, nonsign operations, and nonsign resources. Outcomes are culminating events. They are often influenced by base values and decisions. Effects are the consequences of a decision. 63

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Using the categories suggested by Lasswell, an interview instrument was designed. The questions are reflective of Lasswell's categories and in most cases more than one question in each category was written (See Appendix C). In some cases, the responses to a single question were found to fit more than one of Lasswell's categories. The first type of question on the interview instrument focused on the participants in the school choice discussion. Two questions related to participants were incorporated into the study. (Tell me about the role you've played in alternative school programs in your district. Who do you feel have been the key players in making choices available?) Those individuals selected to participate in the interviews were limited to local district personnel, alternative school applicants, charter school advocates, and members of a coalition in support of public schools. However, as the study developed it became evident that participants from the legislature and state board of education also could serve as informants. Such a broad range of participants was sought in an effort to make sure that the outcomes and effects described by the participants were inclusive of the opinions of a variety of people. Understanding what perspectives people hold about the choices available to them is the second level of Lasswell's Social Process model. Perspectives are the thoughts or opinions held by the participants in the study. According to Lasswell (p. 44), perspectives are inferences derived from two types of data. One type is obtained through the summarization of information. The other is obtained through participation in acts of collaboration. While it is clear that experiences with alternative and charter schools are the common thread that runs through the interviews, it is also clear that each individual interviewed brought to the interview a unique perspective on the subject. Interview questions designed to determine the interviewee's perceptions of the law and how other public school personnel were reacting to the charter school elicited perspectives quite effectively. (What factors precipitated the community's recognition of the need for schools of choice? Given that the Charter School Act was passed after 64

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alternatives schools were approved in your district, what are your views on the law? How are personnel at other schools in the district reacting to the charter school law?) Most respondents appeared to answer the questions with candor. Information on the situation in which the decisions about choice were made helps create a better understanding of the relationships among individuals and groups within the study. Another way of explaining a situation is to look at it from the perspective of the context of where and how the interactions occurs. Lasswell also refers to situations as arenas in which the degree of involvement may be high or low, where the adjustment of interests guides the arrangement of the situation, and where participants vie for optimal advantages (p. 45). As with the other key areas, questions about alternative and charter school situations were incorporated into the study. Within the community, for a variety of reasons, people began negotiating for choice opportunities. (To the best of your memory, when did the district begin to look at making choices available? What were the initial schools of choice from which people could select?) Developing a level of knowledge about the base values of those involved in making the decisions about choice and the impact of these values on resources was important to this study. In his process model, Lasswell sees participants as working to maximize their values and increase their gratification. For this reason, questions on values have been incorporated into the interview instrument. The reasons individuals or groups sought choice and elements of the legislation found to be helpful and hatmful were identified through responses to questions. As Lasswell describes base values, he believes that both positive and negative values are involved in social processes. He established eight value categories to which he ascribes all value decisions. Value categories include power, enlightenment, wealth, well-being, skill, affection, respect, and rectitude (p. 18). Evidence of most value categories were reflected in interviewee responses to these questions. (Who initiated efforts to make schools of choice available and what were their reasons for doing so? How did members of the district respond to 65

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the Charter School Act? What parts of the legislation concern the district and what parts has the district found most useful?) Strategies are the means or techniques employed to manage base values and bring about value outcomes (p. 26). Among the strategies included in this category are communicative and collaborative strategies. Communicative strategies may include the way messages are conveyed and the degree of accuracy of the messages. Collaborative strategies may include sharing of resources or levels of compromise. Questions to determine how strategies are incorporated by those within different groups making decisions or being affected by decisions were incorporated into the interview. (How are things progressing between members of the school board and charter school representatives? What evidence of community support and/or opposition toward the charter school have you seen?) Decision outcomes can be described in several ways, but generally are most succinctly defined as the benefits or deficits of the social process. Lasswell incorporates different levels of outcomes development and recognizes that outcomes are possible at any stage of the policy act. Included in the model are seven power outcomes, including intelligence, promotion, prescription, invocation, application, termination, and appraisal. While Lasswell may have intended that a reference to each outcome be included in the investigation of outcomes, I chose to integrate the power outcomes into two questions in a manner that provided a broad spectrum of outcomes information (pp. 32-35). The two questions were designed to identify outcomes. (What has been the impact of making school choice available? In what ways has the approval of the district's charter affected other programs?) Effects are the long-term results of a policy decision and are usually evident over time. Because effects can encompass many variables, categories of effects were not designated by Lasswell (p. 48). Effects may spread out from the organization from which they emanated and may have the greatest direct impact the policy institution. In 66

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my stmctural analysis model (See page 24) the effects of policy implementation have great implications for public schools. Effects also influence religious organizations, businesses, the government, families, and the community in general. The effects of the decision to move toward more choice through legislative efforts is central to the results of this study. A speculative question was posed about the effects of choice. (Where do you believe charter schools will be in five years?) In addition, I asked interviewees to share information that they believed to be important that had not been addressed through the questions. I also included a question designed to solicit the names of other potential interviewees, and I asked if I might contact the interviewee if other questions arose. At times, additional information was asked in a tangential fashion. These responses were included throughout the study, where appropriate. In several cases, follow-up calls were made to request additional information about an answer. These responses are listed as personnel communication items. The Interview Process While it was originally intended that the interview process be conducted in two phases with the first phase to include informal discussions with central office administrators, for the most part this did not happen. In only three cases were informal conversations held prior to the formal interview. One conversation took place with Jack Greene before the study was approved. At this time, we discussed an overview of the study and appropriate protocol to follow. The other two conversations were similar in nature to the Greene conversation. Both took place prior to my obtaining permission for the study. During these conversations, the basic intent of the study was shared. Both administrators were asked if the district could sanction such as study since I was a district employee. Both agreed that the study was acceptable. After obtaining district approval, formal interviews were conducted. A total of 35 67

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interviews were completed and interviewees included board members, members of central office staff, building administrators, those in key roles in several alternative or charter schools, and citizens opposed to the efforts of the district to include more choice models. Appointments for interviews were scheduled between May and October 1997. The interviews were conducted between one individual and myself. We met in a location selected by the person who was interviewed. Some interviews took place at the central administration building, others were held at my office, a few were conducted at the business offices of the interviewees, several took place in private homes, and one was conducted in the lobby of a hotel. Interview participants were given a copy of the interview questions a few minutes before the interview began. They had been informed in the letter of introduction that the interview would be tape recorded, but that their name would not be used during the session or included on any written transcript of the sessions. Two transcriptionists were used. Neither was given access to the names of the individuals on tape. Most interviews took approximately 45 minutes. In three cases, interviews were longer than 90 minutes. For some individuals, the need to elaborate on their role with an alternative or charter school took additional time. Data Analysis Analysis of data in this case study was complicated due to the amount of data that was collected. Well over 100 newspaper articles, brochures from various Vista District schools, alternative and charter school applications, district publications about choice opportunities, school board meeting minutes, and transcripts from 35 interviews were among the data that informed this study. Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze the data. This form of analysis is known as grounded theory because it emphasizes the development of actual theory using data that are obtained from contents of the interviews and other artifacts (Strauss, 1987, p. 22). The methodology outlined in this work includes an analysis that is so 68

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detailed that sentence by sentence or phrase by phrase analysis was often conducted. While a theory was not developed as a part of the study, the methodology suggested by Strauss was used including open and axial coding, memo writing, theoretical sampling; and data integration. Coding. Grounded theory has a number of key components that may be ordered in different ways. At the earliest stages of this research project, little effort was made to try to fit data into neat packages. Much of the information specific to the school district and community were gathered from newspaper articles. When first reading the articles, I wrote different categories on the margins of the photocopied pages. I gave myself the freedom to read and spontaneously write categorical information and made little effort to try to find like categories between articles. At times, I highlighted statements or quotations that seemed particularly informative. Several instances occurred when I added descriptive terms such as brash, paranoid, or "self-righteous", based on the feelings that came to mind when I read an article. This preliminary procedure leant itself to the generation of impressions, a method that is viewed as lacking in density, absence of a relationships among the codes or ineffectual development of codes (pp. 55-56). Open-coding. Instead, Strauss encourages a researcher to read repeatedly the information and analyze data at a minute level. This was the second step that I followed in the analysis of the data I had collected. Once I had read and reread the articles as number of times, I began the process of identifying core categories to which different phrases, sentences, or general impressions could be assigned. To demonstrate the way this process worked, I described the identification of one core category and some of the thought processes that ensued. School choice has been the topic of heated debate in the district in which this research was conducted. Because the feelings and attitudes of key individuals were so apparent in the newspaper articles, the first core category that I selected was that of attitudes related to school choice. 69

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The obvious sub-categories at which I began looking were the attitudes of supporters of choice and opponents of choice. This categorization had to be eliminated soon after it was begun because few people were found to disagree with the concept of school choice. Rather, it was the manifestation of different forms of school choice and the ramifications of a given choice that were found to be most troublesome. At that point, I adopted a new course for categorization. The category of attitudes was then pursued through the perspectives of district and non-district personnel. To some degree, this held up over time, but was a less effective grouping when it came to alternative school staff who were employed by the district, but were highly critical of some of the policies employed by the district. These sub categories were soon abandoned in favor of the development of a different core code. My third coding effort resulted in the creation of the sub-categories of individual promotion and collective advancement. Although some problems with these categories, for the most part I was able to ascertain the motivation of those cited in newspaper articles and later in other artifacts and interview responses. Those ascribed the category of individual promotion were those people seeking an education that they believed was in their child's best interest with little consideration for other children. Those assigned the category of collective advancement had the interest of society in mind in addition to that of their own child. The sub-categories of individual promotion and collective advancement were subdivided further into coercive and collaborative strands based on whether the individual believed he was able to work with the district or whether he felt it necessary to fight for what he wanted. This funneling process was expanded to incorporate all vital examples of attitudinal data. Throughout the coding process, efforts were made to examine data with reference to the conditions presented, the interactions taking place, the strategies being used, and the consequences that resulted. This coding paradigm is one of several that are suggested for use by Strauss (pp. 27-28). 70

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Axial Once several core codes were identified, axial coding could take place. This form of coding occurs when one category has been analyzed and other categories can be viewed in relationship with the selected category. In my study, one example of axial coding was successfully utilized when a correlation between attitudes, legal actions, and school board behaviors was drawn. Without going into explicit detail, use of axial coding showed that the relationships between the actions of the local school board in filing a lawsuit against the state board of education and charter applicants, the denial of the charter applicants' appeal by the state board, and ensuing comments attributed to charter applicants were more closely intertwined. In one situation, the Clinton-like denial of one board member of using guarded language and not fulling admitting that what he had said when under pressure was easier to understand. Axial coding was helpful in ensuring that appropriate categories had been selected during the open-coding process. Although Strauss describes other forms of coding, it was open coding and axial coding that were most heavily utilized during this study. Memo Memo writing is the behavior that brings the researcher to the discovery, development, and formulation of grounded theory. After coding, I wrote down the ideas that were stimulated during the coding process (p. I 09). At first, the memos that I wrote were similar to the ones described by Strauss. Frequently the phrases, "don't forget" or "think about" were written in an effort to specify those impressions that seemed most pertinent to what had been done during the coding session. While Strauss encourages researchers to use note paper or type the memos, one procedure that I found to be quite helpful when reviewing artifacts was to use index cards on which the title or name of the artifact was listed, the date on which the memo was written, and any specific point that I wanted to remember. I was then able to look for patterns and integrate information from one source to another. A second procedure 71

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that contributed to conceptual development of this study to create a document, assign a memo heading and paste quotes from interviews to the document. In addition, I was able to add my own impressions. An example of this process occurred during a review of two categories of facility issues. During the period in which discussions about the location of an alternative school were being made, several possible solutions were suggested. Most met with some form of community resistance. The first category resulted when the alternative Core Knowledge School requested that they be allowed to remain in a section an old high school in which they had been housed. District administrators argued that the sale of the high school was necessary to increase the facility improvement balance. Much public uprising was evident when community members debated the pros and cons of such a move. Later, the suggestion that the district displace students from an existing neighborhood school was met with resistance by parents of those students. This resulted in a stronger alliance of those associated with the school and the creation of a coalition of parents and community members who supported public schools. A suggestion that a modular campus be constmcted for use by all of the alternative schools was another proposal that met with concern. The alternative schools would share some buildings such as a gym and cafeteria. The cost of such a facility was high and thought to be cost prohibitive by the district's business department. This idea was then abandoned in favor of a permanent facility. The decision that a new facility be erected for use as a Core Knowledge School was exciting to those advocating for a new site. Two sites were discussed. A site in the northern part of town was abandoned and instead the school was built in the most rapidly developing part of the community. Students living in the neighborhood will now be bused to other locations within the city. This situation has been under recent attack by those living in the Core Knowledge School's attendance area. 72

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A second facility category was created and included statements about the charters school's facility demands including the request that the early childhood center and hands-on science program be moved from their existing location so that the charter could use the facility. Members of the charter group argued that neither of these programs were schools for K-12 students. Charter advocates also suggested that one junior high building house the a strand of the Core Knowledge junior high school program. Under this proposal, students would be moved to other junior high sites over time. Charter applicants made a plea to the district for additional facility financing. A request that was denied by the district. Days before final facility and budget plans were due to the board of education, charter applicants made a request to the board for a loan of $900,000. This request was also denied by the local board of education and the charter applicants had to resort to obtaining a loan from a financial institution that specializes in making loans to charter schools. By the end of negotiations both the alternative Core Knowledge School and the charter school were able to obtain wonderful facilities. For a short time I questioned whether the charter applicants and alternative Core Knowledge School affiliates might have conspired to assure that more students would be able to avail themselves of Core Knowledge and that suitable facilities could be procured. This hypothesis was later abandoned because there was clear disdain of charter interviewees toward those who remained with the alternative program. In addition, no evidence could be found to support the theory. Theoretical Sampling. Throughout the study explanatory sampling was used extensively. According to Strauss, this component of grounded theory is explained as the process "whereby the analyst decides on analytic grounds what data to collect next and where to find them." Theoretical sampling is the framework through which the researcher is reminded to continue to ask what individuals or groups are involved, what 73

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events have occurred, what activities have taken place, and what additional information is needed to increase understanding. The process evolves over time and is controlled by changes in emerging explanation (p. 38). At most every tum I found myself in need of additional documentation to support hypotheses as they evolved. For example, as the question about the affects of school choice on neighborhood schools surfaced, it was imperative to obtain current information about neighborhood schools, their enrollment conditions, demographic information, test scores, and measures taken by the schools to increase enrollment. This was done through a variety of means, including contacting a representative of the district's information department to gather 1998 statistics on numbers of students exiting and entering each elementary as a school of choice request, accessing district demographic and test score information on their homepage, and contacting elementary principals via e-mail. Integration of Data. Strauss defines integration as "the ever-increasing organization (or articulation) of the components of the theory" (p. 21 ). He refers to integration as the most difficult skill to be learned by a researcher, and I found this to be the case. Strauss describes the features of integration as the orchestration of the important categories and the emphasis on focus through a series of memos. He describes the process as the sorting of memos from which new memos are written. To manage this process, he feels that developing a series of integrative diagrams is most helpful (p. 170). The flow charts and diagrams presented by Strauss are reminiscent of the organizational tools espoused through the total quality management movement of the 1980s (Deming, 1986). Strauss offers several rules of thumb by which to approach data integration. He suggests that researchers begin by choosing the next set of issues that they need to address, making an operational first diagram, using the diagram to evaluate where you are in a study, and raising questions continuously. This is followed by creating a 74

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second diagram that incorporates modifications suggested in the first effort, and repeating the steps outlined in the first description. This procedure should be followed until the information has all been integrated successfully (pp. 182-183). It was at this point that my adherence to grounded theory methodology became less compliant. While parallel timelines of alternative and charter school events were developed and a few relationship illustrations were drawn early in the data analysis portion of the study, these practices fell off as I became more heavily involved in writing the dissertation. I abandoned the use of diagram generating at this time. I did adhere to the components of grounded theory with respect to thorough data collection, meticulous analysis, and accurate record keeping. All data included for use in this study were carefully kept and examined. The actual attifacts collected, interview transcripts, notes compiled when information was coded, memos written, enrollment charts, tables, and figures provided many insights into the interconnections between neighborhood schools, alternative schools, and the charter school. Engaging in additional integration activities may have been useful in providing alternate organizational formats. Problem Significance Functional analysis can be best understood as "the practice of interpreting data by establishing their consequences for larger structures in which they are implicated" (Merton, 1957, p. 47). Structural analysis searches for the determinants of the phenomenon in its structural context" (Sztompka, 1990, p. 56). Elements of both functional analysis and of structural analysis have strong implications for understanding the role of school choice legislation in the public schools. In proposing legislation, the drafters of the school-choice bills had definite purposes in mind. Laws were designed to create opportunities for more parental involvement, to expand educational horizons for students, to bring about more innovative curricular and instructional practices, and 75

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to further school reform efforts. When the results of these legislative efforts are realized as they are intended, they are known as manifest or anticipated outcomes. Latent functions are the unanticipated consequences that often follow manifest functions. In school districts throughout the state of Colorado, latent functions of choice legislation started to appear soon after the legislation was passed. A number of latent functions include, but are not limited to, efforts by some districts to skirt legislated choice policies or interpret the law in ways designed to minimize its effects. In many ways implementing choice has caused divisiveness between some choice advocates and district personnel. Choice legislation has brought about reductions in the options available to parents because it has made it impossible for some private schools to continue to compete. In addition, an increase competition has occurred as public schools have made efforts to entice students from other public schools. It is possible that with some consideration of the possible ramifications of this legislation prior to its passage a law could have been written that would have created greater likelihood of fostering educational reform. In addition, the establishment of a law with less need for constant revision might have resulted. Through the use of method, I have begun to understand what Pandora looks like and what she stands for. I have been able to identify her relationship to those around her. It is my hope that through reading about this case others will view the manifest outcomes of Pandora's appearance and will begin to see the influence she holds for many men and will understand that the relationship holds future implications. 76

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CHAPTER4 MANIFEST OUTCOMES: PANDORA EMBRACED Skin as fair as white marble, sapphire eyes, and lips of ruby red, Pandora was a vision of splendor when she came to live among mortals. Few could resist her beauty and grace. While created in the likeness of the goddesses, Pandora was a unique creature. Physical beauty and ability to love from Aphrodite, wisdom and knowledge of the ways of man from Athena, and cunning from Hermes were combined into this one being. Many men embraced her and envisioned an improved future (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 28). Perhaps bringing man to embrace the "Pandora" of their creation was the intention when our state policy makers created the charter school legislation. They may have envisioned a the creation of a new and wondrous entity that would be far superior to anything that had come before it. Admittedly, for some the charter school movement is hard to resist and it appears that the policy makers have made a decision to allow for charter schools was a positive one. When making the decision to write a chatter school law, like a policy decision of any type, it is important to recognize that certain outcomes or results are bound to occur. Lasswell's definition of outcomes is a many-faceted one that is based on elements of his social and decision process models. He describes outcomes in terms of the values at stake and the enforceability of commitments under the duress of the challengers' sanctions (Lasswell, 1971, p. 27). For Lasswell, decision outcomes occur when participants, each with distinctive subjective perspectives, come to a situation to make a decision. In this setting, the values of each participant are managed through the use of strategies to affect the 77

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outcomes. Lasswell believes that outcomes develop at different stages of the decision process. While his model was designed to be used as an integral part of the process during the development phase, elements of the model can be applied equally well to the results of decisions that have already been made. In this study, Lasswell's model is used in this retrospective, analytical fashion. Concluding comments in Chapter Eight will speak to implications for future policy development. To differentiate further the elements of outcomes, the concept of manifest and latent outcomes will be incorporated. Merton defined manifest outcomes as "those objective consequences for a specified unit (person, subgroup, social or cultural system) which contribute to its adjustment or adaptation and were so intended; the second referring to unintended and unrecognized consequences of the same order" (Merton, 1957, p. 63). Morton felt that the distinction between the two was an essential one to use in aiding systematic observation and analysis of social problems and phenomena. While not the first to address the concept of manifest and latent consequences, Merton recognized the importance of differentiating between manifest and latent consequences and understood that it is often the latent outcomes that are often more important than the outcomes that were anticipated. This chapter examines manifest outcomes, those results that were intended by policy makers actions. Two categories of information will be analyzed. First, the Colorado Charter School Act lists specific principles, purposes, and intentions of the law. A summary of data that pertain to the implementation of charter schools will be made in the section on legislative outcomes. In evaluating interviews with legislators, it became apparent that some legislators had intentions not expressly written in the law. These intentions are reviewed and evaluated in the second section on legislator's preferred outcomes. 78

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Legislative Outcomes On June 3, 1993, the Governor of Colorado, Roy Romer, signed the Colorado Charter Schools Act. The law was written to embody several key elements to help those implementing the law to understand what should result from its adoption. The first two pages of the law identify its basic principles, purposes, and intentions. From these two pages, the manifest consequences of the charter school legislation were derived. The expressed principles of the act were threefold. The first principle said that the state needed to provide all children with schools in which high expectations were the norm and that conditions in schools be such that these high expectations could be met. The second principle identified the need for educational reform and stipulated that educational reform is best enacted by those who know the students best. In the words of the law, "educators and parents have a right and a responsibility to participate in the education institutions which serve them" (Colorado Charter Schools Act, 1993, p. I). The third principle acknowledged that pupils learn in different ways and schools should have the opportunity to meet those needs in ways that they deemed appropriate. The Charter Schools Act enjoined citizens to design and implement innovative programs through the vehicle of chartering their own schools. The legislature further declared eight purposes of the law. Purposes one through four emphasized changes in instructional practices to be employed by educators, and five through eight focused on professional opportunities for teachers and parents, community involvement, and accountability. 1. Norms of Performance. The first purpose was to put in place rigorous norms of pe1formance designed to improve learning. 2. Academically Low Achieving. Students deemed academically low achieving were targeted in the second purpose of the law. This purpose promoted increasing the 79

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learning opportunities for all pupils, but placed an emphasis on expanding opportunities for those at risk. 3. Innovative Teaching Methods. The third purpose encouraged creation of more innovative teaching methods. 4. Student Assessment. A fourth purpose was to create more innovative means for assessing pupil performance. 5. Professional Opportunities for Teachers. The needs of teachers were addressed in the fifth purpose. This aspect of the law suggested that teachers be afforded more professional opportunities within their sites. Opportunities would include holding the major responsibility for the learning program. 6. Expanded Choices. A major purpose identified for the establishment of charter schools was to provide expanded choices within the existing public system. 7. Community Involvement. The law also endeavored to increase the level of involvement of parents and other members of the community in this seventh purpose. 8. Increased Accountability. In the final purpose listed, an increased level of accountability was stressed. Accountability for improved performance would be measured through use of a system of content standards developed by state and local school boards. In addition, charter schools, as was true of other public schools, would be held to high achievement levels in meeting the standards. It is apparent that members of the legislature believed that charter schools would bring about great reform in the cunent system of education based on these statements of purpose. Elements established to bring about change were the following three stated intentions of the law. The first was to allow parents, educators, and interested community members to take risks in the development of new and innovative school programs. The second was to introduce charter schools as the established proving grounds for the exploration of new and different learning opportunities and serve as sites for educational research and development. A final intention was that a renewed 80

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commitment to the mission, goals, and diversity of public education be promoted in charter schools. From the principles, purposes, and intentions identified in the law, several outcomes as they relate to charter schools could be anticipated. The following list summarizes those outcomes: (a) a variety of different types of schools would become available, offering more choices to families; (b) at-risk students would be able to attend schools developed to suit their needs better; (c) an increase in involvement of educators, parents, and community members in creating, implementing, and volunteering in charter schools would occur; (d) charter curriculum and instruction would develop that surpasses the norms in existing public schools; and (e) the establishment of new and innovative programs would lead to more risk taking. More Choices In the summer of I 993, two charter schools were approved, thereby establishing an outcome that added to the variety of the types of Colorado schools available. The first school to receive approval was the Connect School in Pueblo County School District 70. The Connect School opened as a school for students in grades six through eight. This school without walls uses community resources to enrich the educational opportunities for its students (CASB Agenda, 1993, p. 12). The approval of the Connect School application was closely followed by the approval of the application for the Academy Charter School in Douglas County School District. The Academy Charter School is a kindergarten through eighth-grade school with its curriculum based on the writings of Hirsch. In addition to the use of Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum, the school has a highly involved group of parents participating in school governance (Charter School Bulletin, 1996, p. 2). During the four years following the adoption of the legislation, 50 charter schools opened their doors for instruction. To some degree, the traditional lines between 81

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elementary, middle school or junior high school, and high school have been blurred. Of the 50 schools, 18 were elementary schools, 14 combined elementary and middle school, eight were middle schools, one combined middle school and high school, two were high schools, and seven were for students in kindergarten through high school. Two schools incorporated prekindergarten into their programs, expanding service to younger children than are typically found in public schools. Most charter schools are smaller than other schools. Nationally, charter schools enroll an average of 200 students. More than 15% of the nation's charter schools have fewer than 50 students. In Colorado, charter schools' enrollments range from 23 students at Marble Charter School to 783 students in the Academy of Charter Schools (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 9). Despite the number of charter schools in Colorado, only a small percentage of the state's public school students participate in a charter program. A total of 11,212 students were enrolled in Colorado charter schools during the 1997-1998 school year (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998). A conversation with Mr. Jackson of the Colorado Department of Education indicated that the number of students enrolled statewide was 687,167 (personal communication, March 12, 1998). Thus, approximately 1.6% of the total public school population were enrolled in charter schools at that time. The Charter School Law was adopted to allow educators and parents throughout the state to create new schools in which their children's needs would be better met. Most often, an application for a charter school is submitted because parents or educators believe that the curriculum or instruction in the existing district does not match their philosophy or meet the needs of their children. Although all charter schools have multiple emphases, for the purpose of this study, a central emphasis for each school has been identified. Charter schools in Colorado are somewhat varied in nature and include those that 82

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focus on: Montessori methodology, High Scope curriculum, math and science instruction, technology-driven instruction, individualized instruction, Core Knowledge curriculum, and community-based learning. To date, however, two types of charter schools are most prevalent in the state of Colorado. Core Knowledge Charter Schools. One type of school is based on content-rich curriculum, most frequently adopting the Core Knowledge sequence developed by E. D. Hirsch. Hirsch first suggested the concept of a core curriculum based on content stipulated in his book, Cultural Literacy. Hirsch believes that the information in his book provides the essence of a national curriculum. He prefers, however, that local school districts develop curricula that allow flexibility and local choice (Hirsch, 1988, pp. 139-145). Hirsch's philosophies have been taken to heatt by many educators and parents. For example, in 1990 Dr. Constance Oaks converted her elementary school in Ft. Myers, Florida into the first Core Knowledge-based school using the principals found in Cultural Literacy. The school's success was recognized by Jeffrey Litt who introduced these ideas to the Mohegan School in the South Bronx. The successes of students in both schools brought national recognition to the assertion that a curriculum based on the ideas in Cultural Literacy could make a difference in educational results (Hirsch, 1996, p. 13). The Core Knowledge Foundation has been at the center of the advancement of Hirsch's philosophy. First begun in 1986 as the Cultural Literacy Foundation, the Foundation provides information to individuals and schools regarding the implementation of a Core Knowledge curriculum. Hirsch noted that, just prior to publication of The Schools We Need: Why We Don't Have Them. over 200 public schools in 37 states had adopted core-knowledge principles (Hirsch, 1996, p.13 ). Colorado charter school advocates have been quick to support the idea of a core curriculum. This is evidenced by an analysis of Colorado charter schools. At present, 83

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the Core Knowledge Organization's data bank lists 28 Core Knowledge schools in Colorado (Core Knowledge Organization, 1998). Not all of these schools are charter schools, however. To determine which Core Knowledge schools are charter schools, it was necessary to cross reference schools listed in "Charter Schools Approved and Operating" (Colorado Department of Education Charter Project Organization, 1998) with the Core Knowledge Organization's list. Of the 50 charter schools that opened their doors between Fall 1993 and Fall 1997 in Colorado, 22 were Core Knowledge schools based on the writings of E. D. Hirsch. These schools are found in 16 school districts across the state. In addition, Eagle County Charter Academy, while not subscribing to the Core Knowledge Sequence outlined by Hirsch, did open with a back-to-basics curriculum for their school that can best be identified as a locally-developed "core curriculum" (personal communication, March 10, 1998). It is apparent that approximately 44% of Colorado's existing charter schools have adopted a Core Knowledge curriculum. While one might make the assumption that Core Knowledge schools would appeal more to those in metropolitan areas, the concept of Core Knowledge has been embraced in school districts of many different sizes and different locations across the state (see Table 4.1). Charter applicants from seven districts in the Denver metropolitan area have become Core Knowledge enthusiasts. While applicants in most districts in the metropolitan area have only one Core Knowledge charter school at this time, separate groups have been successful in opening more than one Core Knowledge Chmter school in two large districts. Applicants in Jefferson County and Douglas County have been granted permission to open three Core Knowledge schools in their respective communities. Jefferson County School District. This is the largest metropolitan district that has approved Core Knowledge charter schools. It covers 786 square miles, has a student enrollment of about 88,000 students, and maintains 97 elementary schools, 20 middle 84

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TABLE4.1 CORE KNOWLEDGE CHARTER SCHOOLS School DENVER :METRO PO LIT AN AREA Jefferson Academy Jefferson Academy Jr. High Lincoln Academy Academy Charter School Core Knowledge Charter School Platte River Academy Cherry Creek Academy Academy of Charter Schools Crowne Point Academy Littleton Charter Academy Twin Peaks Charter School URBAN/SUBURBAN SCHOOLS Liberty Common Charter Core Knowledge Charter Academy Union Colony Charter School Classical Academy Cheyenne Mountain Charter Lewis-Palmer Charter School Swallows Charter Academy OUTLYING CITIES AND TOWNS Mountain View Core Knowledge Alpine Charter School Battle Rock Charter School RURAL Elbert County Charter School 85 Location Jefferson County Jefferson County Jefferson county Douglas County Douglas County Douglas County Cherry Creek Adams 12 District Westminster Littleton St. Vrain Students 287 56 117 320 244 280 400 700 150 450 377 Fort Collins 392 Greeley 274 Greeley 160 Academy District 20 403 Colorado Springs District 12 291 Monument 200 Pueblo District 70 60 Canon City Dillon Montezuma/Cortez Elizabeth 125 46 26 145

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schools, 20 high schools, and 9 specialized schools for students with special needs (see Table 4.2). The student population is primarily Caucasian, with 85.2% of the students in that category. Hispanic students make up 9.8% of the population. Native American, black, and Asian students comprise the remaining 5% of the population (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998, p. 1). As of Fall 1997, eight charter schools had been established in this district. Three of those charter schools offer a Core Knowledge curriculum. The first to open, Jefferson Academy, is home to 287 students. To meet the needs of students wanting to move from elementary into a junior high setting, Jefferson Academy Junior High was established as an expansion program in 1996. The junior high program currently has 56 students enrolled and is in the same building as the elementary school (personal communication, March I 0, 1998). Large numbers on waiting lists at the Jefferson Academy gave rise to a third Core Knowledge charter school in this district. This school opened in Fall 1997. Lincoln Academy serves approximately I 17 students in kindergarten through fifth grades. Douglas County School District. This district is also is located in the Denver metropolitan area, to the south of Denver, and encompasses 873.5 square miles (p. 1). Douglas County is a growing school district with a current enrollment of 27,275 students. The district has 36 schools: 26 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 5 high schools (see Table 4.2). The student population in Douglas County District is predominantly Caucasian (92.2%). Hispanic students comprise only 4% of the population and Asian students comprise 2.2% of the population. Native American and black students make up the remaining 1.6% of the population (pp. 10-11 ). Douglas County was one of the first school districts to approve a charter school. Academy Charter School opened in the Fall 1993 and has had a Core Knowledge curriculum since it opened. The enrollment is currently 315 students (Clayton Foundation, 1997, pp. 35-37). On March 12, 1998, Linda, an Academy Charter 86

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00 -.l "J.:L DISTRICT DEMOGRAPHICS .. 1 l -r---..-----r ____ J ______________ T ____ ----r ----.J . .. . . . . ..... . . .. . . .. . . . .. .. .. .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . .. . . .... ....... . . . ... . .... 3 I 4 I Jeffers_o_n <;:o!JiliY L _7_8?1.. 8890!>\ 97: 5 _DCI)Yj!r : I.!.!J.j..... 0 0 oo [ 8I_i 6 \ 27275) 26( ?. .... __ .... ..j. ......................... ....................... .. ....... .. ..}ol) .......... o ... o 20 19 5 7 20 II 5' .. 8 Adams 12 : 59i 26723i 24i E r .. ::I .. ....;:. ... . :: 1 1 Saint Vrain 428074! 17873! 17! 6: 6! . : : ; :;J . ..ti ......... .. ... .....If .. .. i 131.5: 3948i 4: 2' I: 1 .......... :: :::: _O::: .. ::.::::. :.::?.r.... .. ....... .. .. :::::: .. : .. :0::.0 .. :: .. ::0::::0 .. _::. 0 :iL ...... :" 0 .. :_:.:. 0\ 0 ..... 0 ... .. .. 9! I j I) ,;;i.. .... ... .. ,? ... };L t,. 26 27 -------! 2 8 . .. -...... r ..... --------r---............... ........... ---.... .. . . : ............. >J .. : ;_ -. . -.. 8 4 6 3 I .J J I 2 S.. I 2 I I I 2 2 I

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School employee, indicated that a waiting list of approximately 600 students still exists (personal communication, March 12, I 998). Following the opening of the Academy Charter School, Douglas County School District has approved five additional charter applications. Within its six operating charters, three employ Core Knowledge curriculum. In addition to Academy Charter School, the Core Knowledge Charter School and Platte River Academy offer Core Knowledge curriculum. Cherry Creek School District. Cherry Creek District is located in the city of Englewood, a southern suburb of Denver. Cherry Creek District covers 119.5 square miles, has a student enrollment of 38,622 (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, I 998, p. 1), and maintains 3 I elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 4 senior high schools (see Table 4.2). The majority of the students in Cherry Creek, 81.5%, are Caucasian. Black students make up 7.5% of the population and Hispanic students make up 5.5% of the population. Asian students comprise 5.2% of the student population and only .4% of the population are Native Americans ( p. 12). Cherry Creek Academy is the only charter school in the Cherry Creek District and has 342 students (Colorado League of Charter Schools Newsletter, 1996). Adams 12 District. This district is located in a northern suburb of Denver. Located within 59 square miles, Adams 12 School district enrolls 26,723 students (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998, p. I). The district includes 24 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 4 senior high schools (see Table 4.2). Caucasian students comprise 74.2% of the enrollment in Adams I 2 District. The enrollment of Hispanic students is 18.9%. Asian students comprise 3.7% of the population, with Native American and black students totaling 3.3% of the population (p. 9). Adams 12 District has three charter schools. One of the three, Academy of Charter Schools, is the only Core Knowledge School. Westminster School District. Westminster is home to Crowne Point Charter Academy. Westminster is a metropolitan school district encompassing 14.05 miles on 88

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the north side of Denver (p. 1 ). The district has enrolled 11,453 students who are housed in 16 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 2 senior high schools (see Table 4.2). One of the more diverse communities in which a charter school is located, Westminster District serves a population that is 52.8% Caucasian, 34.2% Hispanic, 10.1% Asian, 1.7% black, and 1.2% Native American (pp. 6-7). Littleton Public School District. Littleton District is 29 square miles in the south Denver metropolitan area. The 16,107 students are served in 16 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 3 high schools (see Table 4.2). Littleton's student population includes 90.6% Caucasian, 5.1% Hispanic, 2.5% Asian, 1.4% black, and .5% Native American students (pp. 1-7). At this time, the only charter school in Littleton is the Littleton Charter Academy, a Core Knowledge school. St. Vrain Valley School District. This district is also located in the Denver metropolitan area, is headquartered in Longmont, covers 428.74 square miles, and serves 17,873 students (p. 1). St. Vrain has 17 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 6 senior high schools (see Table 4.2). The student population consists of 79% students who are Caucasian. The Hispanic student population is 18% and the Asian student population is 1.8%. Native Americans and blacks comprise 1.2% of the population (p. 9). Twin Peaks Charter School is the only charter school in St. Vrain School District. This Core Knowledge school opened in Fall 1997 with an enrollment of 377. The school serves students in kindergarten through seventh grades. Northern Districts. To the north of Denver are several school districts that fall into the category of urban/suburban communities. Poudre School District in Fort Collins covers 755 square miles and has a current enrollment of 22,823 (p. 1). Students are enrolled in 29 elementary schools, eight junior high schools, and four high schools (see Table 4.2). Statistics on student ethnicity show that 84.4% of the students in Fort Collins are Caucasian, 10.5% are Hispanic, 2.8% are Asian, 1.3% are black, and 1.1% are Native American (p. 11 ). Liberty Common Charter School is the only 89

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charter school in Fort Collins and it employs the Core Knowledge Sequence. The school opened in Fall 1997 and approximately 392 students are enrolled in the school in kindergarten through seventh grade. Weld County School District 6 is located about 50 miles north of Denver and is an urban/suburban community. Weld County School District 6 spans 72.8 square miles and had a Fall 1997 enrollment of 14,199 students (p. 1 ). The district currently operates 13 elementary schools, seven middle schools, and two senior high schools (see Table 4.2). Student ethnic makeup includes 58.6% Caucasian students, 38.7% Hispanic students, 1.1% Asian students, 1% black students, and .7% Native American students (p. 8). Weld County School District 6 currently has two charter schools. Both of them opened in the Fall 1997 and both have adopted the Core Knowledge sequence. An elementary school, the Core Knowledge Charter Academy, is open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The elementary enrollment at the time the school opened was 274. Union Colony Charter High School is open to students in ninth through twelfth grade. At the time it opened in Fall 1997, 160 students were enrolled. Southern Districts. To the south of Denver and outside the metropolitan area four urban/suburban districts have adopted charter schools. Three districts are in the Colorado Springs area located in El Paso County. Academy District 20, Colorado Springs District 12, and Lewis-Palmer 38 School District all sponsor Core Knowledge charter schools. The fourth Core Knowledge school is located in Rural District 70 in Pueblo. Academy District 20 had a Fall 1997 enrollment of 15,283 students. It is located on 129.5 square miles in the northern part of Colorado Springs (p. 1). Academy District has 13 elementary schools, three junior high schools, and three senior high schools (see Table 4.2). The student enrollment is predominantly Caucasian, with 88.3% of the students falling into that category. Less than 5% of the students comprise any other 90

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ethnic group with 4.3% Hispanic, 3.3% black, 2.8% Asian, and 1.3% Native American (p. 6). The Classical Academy opened in Academy District 20 in Fall 1997. It is the only charter school presently open in this district. The current enrollment of this kindergarten through fifth grade school is 403. Colorado Springs School District 12 covers 49.63 square miles. This year its enrollment is at 3,617 students (p. 1 ). Colorado Springs School District 12 is a small district, also refened to as El Paso School District 12, with six elementary schools, one junior high school, and one senior high school (see Table 4.2). The majority of students in the school district are Caucasian with 89.4% of its students falling in this category. Colorado Springs School District 12 has a 5% Hispanic population and a 3.5% Asian population. Black students make up 1.8% of the population while only .4% of the students are Native Americans (p. 4). Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy has been open for several years and serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The enrollment at the time of the last evaluation study stood at 291 students. Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is located in the community of Monument, near Colorado Springs. This urban/suburban district covers 131.5 square miles and has an enrollment of 3,948 students (p. 1). Lewis-Palmer has four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one senior high school (see Table 4.2). The ethnic distribution is 94.7% Caucasian, 2.2% Hispanic, 1.1% black, 1.6% Asian, and .5% Native American (p. 3). Lewis-Palmer Chatter Academy employs the Hirsch Core Knowledge curriculum. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Pueblo District 70 is an urban/suburban district east of Pueblo. Covering 847.5 square miles it has an enrollment of 6,087 students (p. 1). The district has eight elementary schools, seven middle schools, and two senior high schools (see Table 4.2). Ethnic composition of the district includes 74.9% Caucasian, and 23.1% Hispanic, and Native Americans, Asians, and blacks comprising the remaining 1.7% 91

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of the student population (p. 5). Swallows Charter Academy is a middle school for students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. In Spring 1997, 60 students were enrolled in the school. Other Districts. Three school districts located in outlying cities or towns have approved charter schools based on the Core Knowledge sequence. Mountain View Charter School, a Core Knowledge school of 125 students, is located in Canon City southwest of Colorado Springs. This district covers 680 square miles (p. I). Canon City's 4,172 students attend one of the district's ten schools that include seven elementary schools, one middle school, one senior high school, and one charter school (see Table 4.2). The population of Canon City is largely Caucasian with 88.9% of its students falling in this category. Other students are 7.1% Hispanic, 2.7% Native American, 7% Asian, and a .6% black (pp. 4-5). Summit School District is located in Dillon, a small community in the mountains west of Denver. This small district covers 518 square miles and has an enrol Jment of 2,435 students (p. I). Summit District has six e.lementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school (see Table 4.2). Most of the students in this district are Caucasian (92.8% ). Hispanic students make up 5.6% of the population. The student population includes 22 Asian children or .9% of the population. Black students make up .5% of the population while Native Americans make up .2% of the population (p. 4). Alpine Charter School is a Core Knowledge school that serves students in sixth through tenth grade. In Fall 1997, 46 students were enrolled in the school. The third district with a charter school in an outlying city or town is the Montezuma Cortez District located in Cortez. This small community is located near the Four Corners area in the southwest corner of the state. The district stretches 729 square miles and the district enrolls 3,436 students (p. 1). A community with considerable ethnic diversity, Montezuma-Cortez has a student population that is 66.5% Caucasian, 21.3% Native American, 11.4% Hispanic, .6% Asian, and .3% black (pp. 4-5). 92

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These students attend nine elementary schools, one middle school, or one high school (see Table 4.2). Battle Rock Charter School is a Core Knowledge elementary school which serves 26 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. One rural school district, southeast of Denver, has chartered a Core Knowledge school. Elbert County School District is a district encompasses 160.5 square miles between Denver and Colorado Springs and has 2,465 students (p. I). Elbert County School District has two elementary schools, one middle school, and one senior high school (see Table 4.2). Students are 93.3% Caucasian, 3.9% Hispanic, I% Native American, I% black, and .9% Asian (p. 3). Elbert County Charter School is a Core Knowledge school serving I45 elementary-age students. As these data show, Core Knowledge schools are found to have appeal to people living in metropolitan settings, in urban/suburban areas, in outlying cities and towns, and in rural communities. Core Knowledge charter schools range in size from the Battle Rock Charter School with 26 students to Academy of Charter Schools with 700 students. As might be expected, charter schools in smaller locations usually have smaller numbers in attendance. Most of the schools range in size from 200 to 400 students. In most cases, less than 5% of a district's population is enrolled in a Core Knowledge charter school. Individualized Learning Charter Schools. The second type of charter school emphasized in Colorado is one in which instruction is designed based on the needs of each individual child. Schools selecting this orientation list components such as individualized learning contracts, student-centered and self-directed learning projects, interdisciplinary teaching units, critical-thinking skills instruction, focus on learning styles, multi-age grouping, and off-campus learning opportunities. While some schools not on the list may consider themselves individualized learning schools, only those indicating a primary focus of one of the previously attributes was selected as a representative school. 93

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Of the first 50 Colorado charter schools, approximately 22%, or 11 of the charter schools opened with emphasis on the individualized learning (Charter Project Organization, 1998, pp. 1-6). One feature of schools that emphasize individualized learning programs is that an (ILP) Individualized Learning Plan is often written for each student. As is true of Core Knowledge schools, those emphasizing individualized learning are found in communities of varying sizes and with differing ethnic compositions (see Table 4.3). Denver Public School District. Schools that emphasize individualized learning have been adopted in different communities throughout the state. Seven of the eleven schools listed are located in the Denver metropolitan area. Denver Public School District is home to two of these schools. Denver, the capitol of the state, covers 111.3 square miles in the center of the state. It is home to 67,858 students (p. I). Denver Public School District operates 81 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, and 11 senior high schools. The greatest percentage of students, 48.5% are of Hispanic descent. Caucasian students comprise 25.3% of the population, and black students comprise 21.5%. Students of Asian descent make up 3.5% of the student population, while 1.3% of the students are Native American (pp. 28-29). P.S. 1 was approved by the Denver Public School District in 1994. Located in the heart of the city, P.S. 1 is a school that has been designed as an urban learning community. The director, Rex Brown hopes the school will bring families back into the city and wants students to have the opportunity to work in businesses and engage in community service projects as a part of their educational experience (personal communication, September 29, 1993). Pioneer Charter School opened in Fall 1997 in the northeastern part of Denver. The school is designed to meet the needs of Denver's disadvantaged youth. The school serves 325 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The program offers flexible grouping, integrated learning, creative thinking, and character education. Personal 94

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TABLE4.3 lNDIVIDUALIZED LEARNlNG CHARTER SCHOOLS School Location Students DENVER :METROPOLITAN AREA P.S. I Denver 165 Pioneer Charter School Denver 450 Community Involved Charter Jefferson County 420 EXCEL Academy Jefferson County 126 Renaissance School Douglas County 225 Stargate School Adams 12 District 226 Horizons K-8 Alternative Charter Boulder 284 URBAN/SUBURBAN CIV A Charter School El Paso County II 129 OUTLYING CITIES AND TOWNS EXCEL School Durango I23 Community of Learners Durango 128 RURAL Crestone Charter School Crestone 47 95

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learning plans are developed for each child (Colorado Department of Education Charter Project, 1998, p. 6). Jefferson County School District. Jefferson County School District is the largest district in Colorado (see Table 4.2). With more than over 140 schools, Jefferson County School District faces the challenge of meeting the needs of many students and their families in a variety of locations. Between 1993 and 1997, eight charters had been approved in the district. Despite this large number, only 1,067 students were enrolled in charter schools in Fall 1997. That number constitutes less than 2% of the district's population. More detailed data on ethnicity and the number of schools at each level can be found on page 90). The Community Involved Charter is located in Lakewood and is one of two individualized learning schools in Jefferson County School District. The school serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and offers open education and experiential learning oppmtunities. Students are provided an individualized learning plan and are assisted in developing the skills necessary to become self-directed learners. The largest charter in Jefferson County, the Community Involved Charter has an enrollment of 420 students (p. 1). The second individualized learning charter in Jefferson County School District is the EXCEL Academy which is located in Arvada. The school is an elementary school that serves 126 students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Each student at EXCEL Academy is placed on an Individual Guided Plan. This plan helps staff, students, and parents provide a personalized educational program. The school emphasizes an integrated curriculum and a challenging educational environment. Students are taught to be critical thinkers and independent learners (p. 3). Douglas County School District. Douglas County is one of the most rapidly growing districts in the state (see Table 4.2). Another district in which charters are popular, Douglas County currently has only two fewer charter schools than does 96

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Jefferson County District despite its smaller size. Three of the charter schools in Douglas County embrace Core Knowledge Curriculum. One of the remaining charter schools is a Montessori school and the final charter school uses the Paideia teaching philosophy. Renaissance Charter School is the only charter in Douglas County School District that is based on the practice of emphasizing individualized learning. The school offers different experiences designed to promote the joy children have for learning. Classes are multi-aged, personalized to meet the needs of individuals, and multi-lingual. The school serves approximately 225 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade (p. 2). Adams 12 School District. This district is home to three charter schools (see Table 4.2). Star Gate Charter School serves 226 students in first through seventh grade. Each student at Star Gate has a personalized learning plan. The school offers classes that are multi-age and designs programs that are interdisciplinary and competency based. The school makes off-campus learning opportunities available to its students on a regular basis (p. 2). Boulder Valley School District. Boulder Valley School District is located in the city of Boulder and the surrounding 494 square mile area. Boulder is considered a Denver metropolitan school district and has a student population of 26,192 students (p. I). Boulder has 34 elementary schools, ten middle schools, and seven senior high schools. Students are predominantly Caucasian, with 82.7% of the students listed in that category. Hispanic students comprise I 0.1% of the population, Asian students make up 4.6% of the population, and black students make up 1.7% of the population, and Native American students make up .9% of the population (p. 16). Horizons K-8 Alternative Charter School is one of two Boulder charter schools. The school has been designed to provide students in kindergarten through eighth grade with a rich, integrated curriculum. Using the teachings of William Glasser, the school 97

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maintain high academic and behavioral standards for its students (Fordham Foundation Newsletter, 1998, p. 4). Colorado Springs District 11. In urban/suburban areas, only one charter school has been created with a focus on individualized learning. Colorado Springs District II is the district in which CIV A Charter School is located. Colorado Springs District II incorporates 69.9I square miles and serves 32,815 students (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998, p. 1). This school district has 38 elementary schools, nine middle schools, and seven senior high schools. The ethnic composition of students in the district are 73.1% Caucasian, 14.5% Hispanic, 9.1% black, 2.2% Asian, and 1.1% Native American students (pp. I5-16). The school district currently has five charter schools. CIV A Charter Schools is one of the newest schools and the one that emphasizes a program based on the individual needs, talents, and aptitudes. Staff members feel it is important to understand family background information when a learning plan is being developed. Character education is key to the goals of the school (Fordham Foundation Newsletter, 1997-1998, p. 2). Outlying School Districts. Two charter schools located in areas designated as outlying towns. Durango is in the southwestern corner of Colorado, near the border of New Mexico. The district covers 56 square miles and has a student population of 4,785 (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998, p. 1 ). Durango has seven elementary schools, four middle schools, and one senior high school. The student composition is 85% Caucasian. Hispanic students comprise 10.2% of the population and Native American comprise 3.7% of the population. Black and Asian students each make up .5% of the population (p. 6). Only two charter schools operate in Durango. Both emphasize individualized learning programs. One of the first charter schools to open in the state, EXCEL Charter School is also one of the few charter schools to work in conjunction with a college. Working with Fort Lewis College, EXCEL Charter School emphasizes high 98

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standards, individual success, and learning contracts for students. The program was established for students in sixth through ninth grade. It has now expanded to include tenth and eleventh grade. The school serves 123 students (Fordham Foundation Newsletter, 1998, p. 4). The Community of Learners School is also located in Durango. This school serves 128 students in kindergarten through twelfth grades. The school develops individualized learning plans with students designed to integrate service learning into the curriculum. Connections between the students and natural and human communities are fostered (p. 3). Moffat County School District. One rural school has adopted an individualized learning focus. Crestone Charter School in Moffat School District has done so. Moffat County School District is a tiny district in the northwestern corner of the state. The district encompasses 662 square miles, yet its student population is only 214 students (Colorado Department of Education District Profiles, 1998, p. 1 ). The district has one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school (see Table 4.2). Crestone Charter School enrolls students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Student demographics include 80.4% Caucasian, 11.2% Hispanic, 3.7% Asian, 2.8% Native American, and 1.9% black students (p. 3). Crestone Charter School has 45 students and pulls from the communities of Crestone and Baca. The school offers multi-age classrooms with a strong emphasis on high quality academic instruction, experiential learning, and integrated curriculum. Tutoring, mentoring, independent study, and travel are offered as a part of the program. Students are on individualized learning plans (Fordham Foundation Newsletter, 1998, p. 3). Core Knowledge schools and schools that focus on individualized learning are on opposite ends of the ideological continuum. Core Knowledge schools emphasize the content of the instruction while individualized learning schools emphasize the learning 99

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needs of each of its students. It is interesting to note that both types of charter schools have been approved in Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Adams 12 School districts. Also worthy of note is that most Core Knowledge schools tend to have larger populations of students than do most schools that emphasize individualized learning. This may be due to the desire to more intimately know the students in.the schools focusing on individualized learning. While Core Knowledge charter schools and charter schools that focus on the needs of individuals represent the vast majority of charter schools in Colorado, there are schools that were created for other reasons. Charters designed to make it possible for small communities to have their own schools have been implemented in several towns, a school form minority students was established in Denver, a school for deaf children exists in Jefferson County, and a for-profit charter school is up and running in Colorado Springs. Clearly, charter schools in Colorado have been started for a variety of reasons and families in many communities are now able to choose a type of school not previously available. Community Preservation Schools. Several charter schools were initiated based on needs far different than a preference for one form of curriculum or instruction. These schools address the needs of a community or meet the needs of at-risk student populations. At least five schools have been chartered in an effort to preserve schools in a small communities. Two schools already mentioned, Crestone Charter School and Battle Rock Charter School have met the needs of their small communities through chartering their own schools. Parents appreciate having schools located in or near the communities in which they live and children have shorter commutes to school. In addition to these two schools, Marble Charter School in Gunnison Watershed has been designed to meet the the needs of the small community in which it operates. Marble Charter School serves approximately 30 students in kindergarten through fou1th grades. It is the first school to operate in Marble in decades (p. 5). 100

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Aspen Community School in Roaring Forks District serves 146 students in two locations. One school is in Woody Creek, the other in Carbondale (p. 1). Lake George and Guffy Elementary Schools are two isolated schools in Park County. These two communities have converted to one charter school that meets in two locations (p. 4). In addition to preserving small community schools, these schools often incorporate experiential learning and multi-age classrooms and emphasize individual achievement. At-Risk Students The Colorado Charter School Law was written with the intent that the needs of at risk students be better met. The law expressly prevents discriminatory practices by prohibiting schools from excluding students based on such factors as race or color, religion, national origin, or specialized educational needs. The requirement for open enrollment clearly was incorporated into the Charter School Law and all Colorado charter schools, except Stargate, claim to employ a first come, first served enrollment policy. In addition to prohibiting discriminatory practices, the original version of the law also required that at least 13 of the 50 charter schools would be granted to schools designed to increase the educational opportunities of at-risk pupils. Included within this category are minority students, those on free or reduced lunch, Title I students, those speaking English as a second language, special education students, homeless students, migrant students, gifted and talented students, and students suspended or expelled from school. Advocates of charter schools believe that the needs of at-risk and minority students are being met in charter schools. Charter school proponent Joe Nathan maintains that "many charter schools are being established to serve students who have not succeeded in traditional schools" (Nathan, 1996, p. 133). He further states that more than half of 101

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the charter schools that participated in a 1995 survey reported that their schools focused on at-risk students. In a recent study of the accountability of charter schools, the authors reflect on the acceptance of at-risk students in charter schools in their statement that, "The most remarkable -and to some, surprising -finding of our study is that charter schools are not havens for the 'best and brightest.' Rather, they are serving large numbers of poor, troubled, and minority children" (Finn, Bierlein, & Manno, 1997, p. 9). They further state, over half of the charter school students are minority students as compared with only about 30% in other public schools. Race and Ethnicity. Bierlein's research report lists the minority composition of charter and public schools from five states. In her report she asserts that "In most states, charter schools are attracting an overproportion of such students relative to state averages" (Bierlein, 1996, p. 4). However, these statistics do not hold true in Colorado (see Table 4.4). Bierlein's statistics on minority attendance in charter schools indicates that Colorado public schools attract more blacks and Hispanic students than do charter schools. Bierlein's research does show that Colorado's public schools and charter schools have a similar ethnic composition. The public schools have a 5% black student population as compared with a 3% black population in charter schools. Colorado public schools enroll a 17% Hispanic population as compared with 13% in charter schools. This research does indicate that 4% percent of Native Americans attend charter schools and only 1% of Native Americans attend public schools ( p. 4). Bierlein has taken her data from 14 of 14 charter schools operating in Colorado prior to 1995 (pp. 1-4). A list of the schools included in the analysis was not included in her study. Using a chronological list prepared by the Colorado Department of Education of the first 14 charter school approved and their opening enrollment figures, it would appear that 3,298 students would have been enrolled in charter schools at the 102

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Charter Schools Public Schools TABLE4.4 RACIAL AND ETHNIC ENROLLMENTS BLACK AMERICANS 3% 5% HISPANIC 13% 17% NATIVE AMERICANS 4% 1% time this data was collected. From this information it can be extrapolated that 99 black students, 429 Hispanic students, and 132 Native American students were in attendance at Colorado charter schools. Based on these data, Colorado's charter schools appear to meet the needs of their minority students quite well. The percentages of black and Hispanic students being served in charter schools closely approximates the numbers in other schools while the number of Native Americans in charter schools exceeds the number in other schools. Minority students fair even better in a more definitive accounting, SAl 97-3007 A Study of Charter Schools: First Year Report. based on ten states that passed charter legislation in the early 1990s (see Table 4.5). This table shows detailed statistical information on charter schools in during the 1995-1996 school year including both percentages of students and numbers of students in each category. The table also shows state statistical information on public schools during the 1993-1994 school year. Data is reported on 22 charter schools (U. S. Office of Educational Research and Improvement, May, 1997, pp. 20-21). At the time of this report, the entire number of Colorado students attending charter schools was 1 ,588 students as compared with the total state population enrolled of 625,062 students. The authors of the report caution that, with such a small number of students enrolled in existing charter schools, placing too much emphasis on the results of the report may be faulty at best. An increase or decrease in the student population 103 I

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TABLE4.5 ENROLLMENT BY RACE AND ETHNICITY Percent in Number in Percent in Charter Schools Charter Schools Public Schools White 56.9% 904 74.1% Black 22.5% 357 5.4% Hispanic 1.5% 24 17.1% Asian 10.2% 162 2.4% Native American 8.9% 141 1.0% from one year to the next may drastically alter the percentages of minority students (p. 21 ). It is clear that, during the 1995-1996 school year, a number of charter schools offered educational programs to students in a racial minority or were located in neighborhoods that were inviting to black, Asian, and Native American students. The most impressive statistic is the percentage of black students attracted to charter schools as compared to the state average. A high percentage of Asian and Native American students have been enrolled in charter schools as compared with other public schools. Charter schools did less well in attracting Hispanic students than did other public schools throughout the state. It would be interesting to note which of the Colorado charter schools were included in this study. Bierlein reported collecting data on 14 Colorado charter schools that were open prior to 1995. If statistics from Colorado Department of Education on the first 14 charter schools are used to tabulate charter enrollment, the enrollment figure would be 3,298 students. The number of students included in the U.S. Department of Education study has the 1995-1996 enrollment of 22 charter schools at I ,588 students. Clearly these data do not correspond. 104

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Despite the discrepancies in data on minority enrollment between the two studies, it is evident that Colorado cha1ter schools are attracting some minority students. However, the success of the appeal of charters to minority families throughout the state and the sustainability of these results can not be demonstrated at this time. At-Risk Factors. More definitive information on Colorado charter schools has been made available in two evaluation studies of Colorado charter schools. Both studies were prepared by the Clayton Foundation. The first was made available in March I 997. Included in this study were data obtained from the first 14 charter schools that had been operating in the state at least a year as of Spring I 996 (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. 10). At that time, the enrollment figures of students in the schools evaluated was 2,859. Data on percentages of minority enrollment, however, are based on the total charter school enrollment of 6,941 students (see Table 4.7). Student enrollment of schools that had not been in operation for at least a year were added to the enrollment figures of those schools evaluated to get this higher number (p. ii). The second report is the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study which was published in January I 998. This study reports on the progress of 24 Colorado charter schools that had opened to serve the needs of 4,532 students during the 199697 school year (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 8). Both evaluation reports, while including statistics on ethnicity, move beyond a look at minority students and includes other factors contributing to identifying a student as one who is at risk. In both reports, two other categories listed were numbers of students those in special education programs and those on free or reduced lunch (see Table 4.6). Several generalizations can be made using the data from both reports. The first report reviewed 14 charter schools with a combined enrollment of 2,856 students (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. 14). By the time the second evaluation had been conducted, 24 charter schools with a combined enrollment of 4,532 students were included (p. 8). 105

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TABLE4.6 AT-RISK STUDENT POPULATIONS Statistics reported in thee Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, 1997, p. 18. Students of color Free or reduced lunch Special education IN COLORADO IN CHARTER 27.50% 15.60% 10.50% SCHOOLS 21.31% 12.24% 6.15% Statistics reported in 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, 1998, p. 16. Students of color Free or reduced lunch Special education 27.98% 21.78% 9.85% 18.41% 10.62% 6.18% Charter schools were located in nine different school districts in the 1997 report. In the study, district demographic information was reported with that of the charter schools. At-risk needs in these districts spanned Douglas County School District where only 6.5% of its students are considered those of color, 2% of its students are on free or reduced lunch, and 8.8% of its students are in special education programs to Denver Public Schools where 72.9% of its students are considered those of color, 53.1% of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 12.3% of its students are in special education (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. 18). Five of the fourteen schools in this report had a minority population equal to or greater than that of the sponsoring district. With a 91.5% minority population, Clayton Charter School in Denver had a significantly higher percentage of children of color than did the Denver Public School District with a minority population of 72.9%. Community of Learners in Durango also reported a higher percentage of minority 106

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students than the sponsoring district. Community of Learners had a minority population of 20% as compared with a district figure of 13.8%. The Community Involved Charter School served 17.9% minority students as compared with 13.4% in Jefferson County School District (p. 18). On the other hand, several charter schools had far fewer minority students than did the sponsoring district. For example, Stargate School reported 11.3% of its students were in the minority in a district with an average of 23.9% minority students. Eagle County Charter School listed a minority population of 15.6% as compared with a district average of 27.8%. The district in which the greatest discrepancy occurred is in the Montezuma-Cortez District. The Battle Rock Charter School has a minority population of 6%, while the district lists its minority population at 31.2%, a difference of 25.2% (p. 18). While no indication of blatant discriminatory practices are in evidence in any of these schools, it is curious that several schools are not in alignment with district percentages. Students on free or reduced lunch are representative of families in a lower socioeconomic status. Of the fourteen schools in the 1997 study, three did not offer a free or reduced lunch program for students. No free or reduced lunch program was offered for students in Eagle County Charter School. Eagle County School District has 15.4% of its students participating in the federal lunch program. Connect Charter School in Pueblo does not offer a free or reduced program, while Pueblo District 70 has 20.1% of its students who qualify for this opportunity. A free or reduced lunch program is not offered in Montezuma-Cortez. In this school district, 33.4% of the students are on free or reduced lunch (p. 18). Most charter schools reported the percentage of student on free or reduced lunch was similar to those of the sponsoring district. In several situations, the number of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch exceeded the district averages. This occurred in Denver where the average percent of students on free or reduced lunch was 107

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53.1 %. Clayton Charter School had 68.8% of its students qualify for the program. Douglas County School District averaged only 2% of its students on free or reduced lunch. Academy Charter School was also on the low end with 6.7% of its students qualifying for free or reduced lunch in 1996. The Community Involved Charter School had 20.8% of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch as compared with 9.9% in Jefferson County (p. 18). Four of the fourteen charter schools included in the first report did not offer or did not have students who qualified for special-education support. In seven of the charter schools, the percent of special education students in the charter schools was smaller than the percent of students in the sponsoring districts. Three of the charter schools listed a higher percentage of students than the district averages. These schools included the Academy Charter School with a special education population of 13.3% as compared with a district average of 8.8%. Durango School District averages 9.4% of their students in special education. Community of Learners Charter School listed a population of 26.6% receiving special education services, and Jefferson County School District has approximately 9.0% of its students in special education programs. The SciTech Academy has 12.1% of its students in special education programs (p. 18). By the time data were collected for the 1998 study, fifteen school districts had charter schools. While the number of school districts increased, the percent of minority students and students on free or reduced lunch being served decreased. Although the percent of students receiving special education support was slightly higher (see Table 4.6). Clayton Charter School continued to serve a high percentage of children of color. The minority population remained at 91% as compared with a minority population percentage of 91.5% from the preceding year. During the same time period, the district average of 72.9% increased to 73.9% in Denver Public Schools. Community of Learners Charter School in Durango had a minority population of 20% in the 1997 108

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report. This percentage dropped to 12.6% in the 1998 evaluation information. At 12.6% it slipped below the Durango minority population average of 14.7% (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 16). Three new charter schools with high numbers of minority students opened and had been in existence for at least a year by the time the 1998 report was published. Community Prep Charter reported a minority population of 45.3% as compared with the Colorado Springs District 11 average of 26.7%. The Renaissance Charter listed a minority population of 11.8% as compared with the Douglas County District average of 7.1 %. Moffat Consolidated District Number 2 has an enrollment of 18.9% children of color. Crestone Charter School has a minority population of 28.9%. Other charter schools listed in the report have an equal or smaller percentage of minority students than do their sponsoring districts. The Community of Learners and Community Involved Charter Schools both had a higher percent of minority students than did their sponsoring districts the first year and that the minmity populations of both schools decreased by at least 5% the following year putting these schools below the district minority average (p. 16). It may be in the interest of the district to monitor future minority enrollment data. At the time of the 1998 report, nine of the twenty-four charter schools did not offer a free or reduced lunch program. Of the nine, five have been approved in districts where the percentage of students on free or reduced lunch is at 10% or higher. Ten of the schools have a smaller percentage of students on free or reduced lunch than do their sponsoring districts. Several schools listed higher percentages of students on free or reduced lunch than did the districts in which they exist (p. 16). Both Clayton Charter School in Denver and the Community Involved Charter School in Jefferson County continued to provide services to a higher percentage of students on free or reduced lunch than did their sponsoring districts. In addition, the Community Prep Charter School lists 29.9% of its students are on free or reduced 109

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.lunch as compared with the district average of 24.6% in Colorado Springs District 11. Cheyenne Mountain Charter in Colorado Springs District 12 has a higher percentage of students on free or reduced lunch. Cheyenne Mountain has 12.2% on free or reduced as compared with the district average of 3.6%. Academy Charter now serves a population that includes 3.9% on free or reduced lunch. Douglas County District averages 1.8% (p. 16). Special Education. Special education students currently constitute 9.85% of the Colorado student population. Students may qualify for a variety of services including those for speech and language disorders, learning disabilities, physically handicapping conditions, mentally handicapping conditions, and emotional disabilities. This figure translates into 67,342 students who qualify for special education services throughout the state. Charter schools report that 6.3% or 437 students within the charter school population receive special education services. The types of disabilities being addressed in charter schools may or may not be representative of those found in other public schools. As is true of public schools, a separate facility for special education students does not exist with one exception. The Magnet School of the Deaf is a school for thirteen deaf children between the ages of three and nine. The report published in 1998 shows that four of the twenty-four charter schools do not offer special education programs. With the addition of ten schools during the year between the 1997 and 1998 reports, all of the new charter schools do offer special education services. Charter schools that do not offer special education services are located in rural school districts. Schools without special education services are Eagle County Charter, Crestone Charter, Battle Rock Charter, and Aspen Community Charter. Seven of the twenty-four schools in the 1998 report have higher percentages of special education students than do the districts in which the charter was approved. The Community of Learners Charter is the charter school with the greatest percent of 110

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difference between the district and itself. Community of Learners has 18.9% of its students in special education programs. Durango School District has 8.7% of its students participating in special education. Jefferson County School District averages 8.5% of its students in special education. Two of its charter schools have higher averages of special education students. The Community Involved Charter has 14.6% of its population in special education while the SciTech Charter has 11% of its students in special education (p. 16). Community Prep Charter School is in Colorado Springs District 11. Colorado Springs District 11 averages 9.4% of its students in special education, while the Community Prep Charter has 14.5% of its students in special education programs. Clayton Academy in Denver has 13% of its students who qualify for special education services. Denver Public Schools average 10.9%. Douglas County School District has 8.8% of its population in special education programs. Of the students enrolled at the Academy Charter School in Douglas County, 11.7% are in special education. Marble Charter School has 13% of its students in special education programs. It is located in Gunnison Watershed, a district with a special education population of 8.1 %. Special Populations. Some statistics reported in the first Charter Schools Evaluation were not outlined in the 1998 report (see Table 4.7). These data include statistics on students in special populations such as Title I, English as a second language, and gifted and talented programs. Other data left out was information on migrant and homeless students (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). Title I. As statistics between the state and charter schools are compared, it is evident that few charter school students receive instructional support through Title I. At the state level, 7.9% of the students in Colorado are in Title I programs, while on .3% of the charter school students are in Title I programs. This may be due to the fact that schools, not individuals, must qualify for Title I based on the documentation of the number of impoverished students attending every given school. A common source of 111

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TABLE4.7 1995-1996 SPECIAL POPULATIONS Title I students English as a second language Identified as homeless Migrant students Gifted and talented State Schools 7.90% 3.30% 0.48% 0.48% 7.50% Charter Schools 0.30% 0.10% 0.03% 0.04% 5.40% data used for this purpose are the numbers of free or reduced lunch students at each school. Using data on free or reduced lunch in Table 4.6, it is clear that a number of charter schools do not participate in the federal free or reduced-food program. Therefore, unless a different source for verifying students in poverty is used, these schools may not be able to qualify for Title I. This may account for part of the discrepancy or it may be an indication that charter schools have a population of students from a higher socioeconomic status than the populations that would be found in the average public school. ESL. A dramatic difference is apparent when looking at the statistics for (ESL) students speaking English as a second language. In Colorado, 3.3% or 22,233 students, qualify for supportive instruction in English. In charter schools, .1% or seven students qualify for this language support (see Table 4.7). Providing instructional support for those speaking a language other than English at home is important to ensure the success of these minority students. To a small degree, charter schools are attracting students speaking English as a second language. Due to such small numbers, charter schools may or may not have the ability to hire qualified staff to 112

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assist so few students in academic and social endeavors. If services are not provided, ESL students may have more programmatic options in schools where district services are available. Homeless and Migrant Students. Students who are considered homeless and migrant students are also viewed as at risk. While less than one half of one percent of the population in Colorado falls in each of these categories, 3,233 students are considered homeless and another 3,233 students are listed as migrant students. The transiency rate for students in both categories make them unlikely candidates for charter schools. This statistic is substantiated by the fact that in charter schools, .03% or two students are homeless and .04% or three students are listed as migrant students. It was feared by some that charter schools would become elitist ventures enticing some of the states brightest students and reducing the numbers of gifted and talented students in public schools by significant numbers. The numbers reported in the first Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study do not support that charge. While 5.4% or 375 of the students attending charter schools are considered gifted and talented, Colorado public schools retain a higher percentage of gifted and talented students than do charter schools. Colorado public schools report 7.5% of their population in the gifted and talented range. It has been true that charter schools are under scrutiny based on the belief that they will skim off the best and brightest students. The fact that there are more charter school students in this category than any other identified special population is a statistic worth monitoring. Increase in Involvement An increase in the involvement of educators, parents, and community members in creating, implementing, and volunteering in charter schools is an outcome that was intended in the legislation. Data that supports that more involvement has occurred are somewhat ambiguous in nature. Included in this section are applicant categorical 113

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information, governance board composition, and the reported hours or percentages of volunteers in the schools. Governing Boards. Of the 32 charter schools listed in the 1997 Charter Schools Evaluation (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 1), 27 applications were submitted by parents, teachers, and/or community members. A breakdown of the number of educators, parents, and community members has not been differentiated. In addition, one charter application was submitted by a non-profit foundation, one was submitted by a university, and one was submitted by a city. Certainly those involved through the non-profit foundation, university staff, and City Council members would demonstrate involvement of individuals not usually affiliated with school development. It is clear that a number of individuals are involved in the governance of cha1ter schools. Twenty-four charter schools were operational for at least two years as of the end of the 1996-1997 school year (p. 4 ). Within the twenty-four schools, several groups of individuals have taken ownership of the governance process. Governing board membership varies in most charter schools. Certain responsibilities are held by most governing board members. Governing boards have decision-making authority over such issues as curriculum, budget, hiring and firing, salaries, calendar, and all other conditions of the charter. Governing boards do not have a one size fits all profile. Data show that in nineteen of the twenty four schools, or 79%, parents hold the majority of governing board positions. Yet, data collected show that several configurations have been used to determine the composition of each governing board. Configurations are shown in Table 4.8. Parent Volunteer Hours. A second factor to be considered when looking for evidence of an increase in parent participation in schools is the amount of volunteerism that takes place in each school. When submitting their annual reports, charter schools were required to include the number of hours of volunteerism accrued during the 114

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TABLE4.8 GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERSHIP Parents/Staff/Community Equal representation Parent majority Community majority Parents and Staff Parent majority Parents and Community Parent majority Parents Other Parents Only Governed by Director of Community Services City of Colorado Springs 3 7 1 4 5 3 school years in which they had been in operation. Information collected in the first year study were reported in percents and in hours. These data were difficult to analyze due to lack of congruence between reporting styles. Similar difficulties were found to be included in the data in the 1998 report. Some schools reported information in total hours while others reported information in percents. Due to the lack of clarity as to what the percentages mean, only hours of volunteerism appear in Table 4.9. Schools that reported data in percentages, monthly hours, or other descriptive manners were Cherry Creek Academy, Stargate, Community Prep, P.S. 1, Marble Chatter School, and Connect Charter School. Data on these schools are not analyzed at this time. Several observations of the data on volunteerism are worthy of note. First, schools that reported that volunteerism was not applicable during 1995-1996 were schools that 115

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TABLE4.9 PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN HOURS SCHOOL 1995-96 HOURS 1996-97 HOURS ENROLLMENT Academy of 10,000 19,000 783 Charters GLOBE 3,000 1,600 11 I Cheyenne Mt. 8,000 4,500 297 Clayton 1,500 100 Academy Chart. 10,700 8,500 333 Core Know ledge 10,700 7,760 244 Renaissance 11,000 13,676 289 Community of 2,953 5,017 Ill Learners EXCEL 3,200 2,086 133 Eagle County 3,500 4,500 122 Community 1,350 1,200 328 Involved Excel Academy 8,878 128 Jefferson Acad. 7,325 9,121 281 Sci-Tech 3,066 136 Crestone 1,520 38 Battle Rock 4,000 300 25 Pueblo Arts/Sci. 19,059 16,870 399 Aspen Community 2,000 2,000 115 116

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did not open until the following year. It is quite likely that considerable volunteer time was spent in preparing the charter and presenting the charter to members of the community and local board of education members. Volunteer hours were not reported until the school opened. Second, the hours of volunteerism the first year for eight of the schools went down the second year. This may be due to a decline in interest in the school. More likely, perhaps, is that many hours of volunteerism are required in opening a school. The same number of hours may not be required in subsequent years. In schools where the number of volunteer hours increased, it would be interesting to note whether the enrollment greatly increased the second year or if another critical element was added to the scenario such as a new building or change in program. Third, without examining the number of hours based on enrollment figures it is difficult to tell which schools have high volunteerism as related to their student populations. By dividing the number of hours by the enrollment number an average number of hours per student was determined. To determine the rate of volunteerism to sustain the charter schools, these data were tabulated using second year statistics for schools that reported volunteer hours for 1995-1996 and 1996-1997. Hours of volunteerism per pupil ranged from 3.66 hours at the Community Involved Charter School to 47.32 hours at the Renaissance Charter School. The average number of hours volunteered per student in the fifteen schools used in this analysis was 25.27 hours. Curriculum and Instruction Development of curriculum and instruction to surpass the norms in existing public schools is another outcome of the charter legislation. To that end, each of the charter schools must submit, "a description of the school's educational program, pupil performance standards, and curriculum which must meet or exceed any content 117

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standards adopted by the school district in which the charter school is located" (Colorado Charter School Act, 1993, p. 5). Those evaluating the data submitted by charter schools found the educational programs to be extremely diverse in nature. A list of criteria regarding educational programs was developed based on the reports of the 24 schools being evaluated. The criteria and their incidence of inclusion follows: thematic or interdisciplinary instruction (14), technology as a major focus (4), Core Knowledge curriculum (7), community as a classroom (11), individualized learning plans (19), multi-age groupings (12), focus on specific subject matter such as science or mathematics (2), character instruction (9), hands-on learning (13), extended academic day (6), foreign language (10), block scheduling (9), year round calendar (3), and community service learning (8). A comment from the reviewers indicates that, while many Colorado schools include similar features the duration and intensity of the instruction afforded at charter schools may be different than that afforded at other public schools (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 22-23). Accountability. Pupil performance standards are referred to as perfmmance goals. As in other public schools, performance data is collected and falls into several different categories including norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests, and pe1fmmance assessments. Norm-referenced tests measure the performance of an individual or group with the performance of others taking the test. Criterion-referenced tests are tests developed to reflect students understanding of a set of content objectives. Performance assessments measure understanding through the completion of a task or development of a project or product. Charter schools were allowed to select the tests to be administered. In the norm referenced test category, schools selected from tests including the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the California Achievement Test, the DALT, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, Degrees of Reading Power, the McCarthy Scale of Developmental Abilities, the 118

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Terra Nova, Tests of Achievement and Proficiency, the Nelson-Denney Reading Test, and the Survey of Basic Skills. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills was the most frequently cited norm-referenced assessment tool used. This test was used by fifteen of the twenty four schools listed in the 1997 Charter Schools Evaluation. One other norm-referenced test was used by more than two schools. That test was the Terra Nova which was used by five charter schools (pp. 33-34). Criterion-referenced tests included the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, the Stanford Achievement Test, the Stanford Writing Assessment, the CAP Assessment of Writing, District Content Standards Assessments, the Brigance Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, the Woodcock Johnson, or the High Scope Child Observation Record. Sixteen of the twenty four charter schools evaluated administered at least one criterion-referenced test. The criterion-reference tests most frequently administered were those developed to measure standards in sponsoring districts. The Woodcock-Johnson was administered in four charter schools (pp. 33-34). Performance assessment included individualized learning programs, portfolios, student exhibits, and work samples. Fourteen charter schools administered at least one performance-based assessment. Seven school reported using individualized learning programs. Ten schools indicated that they had used portfolios. While, eight schools used student exhibits and work samples as evidence of student growth (pp. 33-34). It was encouraging to note that all of the charter schools have developed an assessment program and are administering assessment measures designed to determine how well their students are performing. Clayton Charter School, Stargate, the Community of Learners Charter School, EXCEL School, Eagle Charter School, and Jefferson Academy administered assessments in all three categories during the 1993-94 school year. Three of the schools evaluated, the Community of Learners Charter School, the 119

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Community Involved Charter School, and the Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences have created their own assessment tools that are aligned with the performance goals of the school. During the 1994-1995 school year, Renaissance Charter School, P.S. 1, Crestone, and Aspen Community Charter School joined the ranks of those schools administering norm-referenced tests, criterion-reference tests, and performance assessments (pp. 33-34). The evaluation team used student achievement data and weighed it against the goals outlined in each charter, achievement scores of the sponsoring districts, and pertinent demographic information. From this data evaluators determined that nine of the schools submitted data to show that they have exceeded the expectations that they defined for performance at their school. Fifteen schools provided data that demonstrates they have met the defined performance expectations. None of the schools in the study failed to meet or exceed their selected performance goals (pp. 36-37). Cunicular specialization was referred to in the applications for several chatter schools. The most frequent curriculum identified was the Core Knowledge curriculum as outlined in a sequence for content by E. D. Hirsch. In the initial twenty four schools reviewed, seven of the schools subscribe to Core Knowledge curriculum, a content rich sequence of information "based on a national vocabulary and arranged in a definite sequence" (Hirsch, 1996, p. 139). Two schools have adopted the Paideia model for academic excellence described by Adler. The Paideia curriculum addresses the acquisition of knowledge, the development of intellectual skills, and the enlarged understanding of ideas and values of the learner (Adler, 1977, p. 285). The schools selecting this form of curriculum are the Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences and the Community Prep School (Charter School Bulletin, 1996, pp. 2-4). Clayton Academy has adopted the High/Scope Curriculum. The curriculum is based on the premise that learners must "construct" their own meaning through actively 120

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engaging with materials to take in new information, make it their own, reshape it and transform it with relationship to other levels of understanding (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 50). The curriculum stresses developing a relationship between the parents and the school. High levels of parental involvement including home visits and working with family social services are targeted for at-risk primary students (Colorado League of Charter Schools Newsletter, 1994, p. 2). Innovative Schools Policy makers are placing heavy bets that the public educational system is beyond rescue. The perception is that nothing can be done within the parameters of the existing system that will change public education in significant ways. "The charter school movement rests on the diagnosis that existing school systems are inimical and intractable to innovating and achieving improved educational outcomes" (Sarason, I 998, p. I 20). Therefore, the creation of new and innovative schools and programs outside the traditional system are at a premium. The law makes it possible for and in fact encourages innovative practices to occur. Unfortunately, defining what makes a school, program, or practice innovative is difficult at best. Materials or practices that may be common place in one school or district may be perceived as unique in another school or district. The previous section on curriculum and instruction lists many practices and curricular programs to which charter schools have subscribed. Most of these practices have been tried in other public schools in the state of Colorado. Perhaps the exception to this observation would be the adoption of Core Knowledge curriculum. Core Knowledge schools have largely made their way to Colorado through the impetus of the charter school movement. Yet it stands to wonder whether 22 out of 50 charter schools subscribing to the same curriculum and practices places the opportunity for innovation at risk. Did the legislature intend that almost half of the 121

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innovative charter schools be cookie cutter models of one another? Further information from the schools in which these programs and practices are in place will be necessary before determining whether materials, instructional techniques, or other program components are being implemented in innovative ways. If charter schools do prove to be research and development sites for innovation, steps must be taken to share the results with other schools. "It is inconceivable that these schools have nothing to give or take from each other" (p. 122). In fact, it is inconceivable that these school have nothing to share with the public education system. Yet only a few avenues for sharing and interchange have been put into place. The Colorado League of Charter Schools is one organization that is endeavoring to provide an infrastructure for assistance and support in Colorado. Under the leadership of Jim Griffin, a newsletter, conferences, and legal counsel have been made available. These services have been of great value to many charter schools. For schools that subscribe to Hirsch's Core Knowledge sequence, the Core Knowledge Institute has been established and will lend its support. While these organizations provide assistance to charter schools or schools of choice, little evidence of the emergence of organizations designed to share charter innovations with the public school system has been seen. If these schools are to bring about a change in the system of public education as we know it, an organized effort to share ideas will need to be established. Legislators' Preferred Outcomes Many legislators in the state of Colorado have been in support of the Charter School Law before or since its adoption in 1993. The support of several of the legislators was evident in interview responses. Support has also been documented in articles published in several Denver-area newspapers. Information on legislators' beliefs about school choice and charter schools follows. 122

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Interviews with Legislators In Spring I 994, interviews with several sponsors of the Charter School Law were conducted by three graduate students from the University of Colorado at Denver. Those conducting the interviews were interested in determining how the legislation had come to be recommended in Colorado and what intentions the sponsoring legislators had in mind. As the interviews progressed, several important observations were made. These observations are reviewed in the following sections. John Irwin Inspired. One of the most interesting facts discovered during this research were the responses to the question about how the legislation had been enacted. For many years, Representative John Irwin strongly advocated for changes in the public education system. As late as I 992, Representative Irwin and Senator Bill Owens sponsored HB 92-1299, a call for the establishment of the Colorado Independent Public School District. The creation of this separate school district would make it possible for schools to move from the jurisdiction of the district in which the school was located. Instead, the school would be governed by the State Board of Education. This move would make it possible for the school to be somewhat autonomous, would provide the school with the Per Pupil Operating Revenue (PPOR) based on enrollment figures, would be able to charge tuition, would be able to contract with the district for services rendered, and would be able to negotiate with the district to lease a school building (House Bill 92-1299, I 992). The bill did not pass, but may have paved the way for the ensuing development of the bill which proposed that Colorado join Minnesota and California in passing a charter school law. John Irwin died of a heart attack in December during the same year in which this bill had been introduced. During the interviews, three legislators mentioned that one reason the charter school bill had been introduced at all was in an effort to "Do it for John" (Huston, Jansen, & Reimer, 1994). In other words, there was a rallying call to pass legislation as an honor to their deceased peer. With much 123

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enthusiasm the idea caught on. Thus the stage was set for the introduction of the charter school legislation. Other questions that were included in the survey included such factors as the role of the legislator played in the adoption of the charter legislation, perspective on local control issues, and legislators' thoughts on vouchers. Among the questions asked were several designed to determine legislators' preferred outcomes and concerns regarding the current state of educational affairs. Legislators' Roles. The legislators interviewed were from those listed as sponsors of the bill. The bill was supported by members of the Senate and the House. There were 13 sponsoring Senators including Owens, Trujillo, Bird, Blickensderfer, Johnson, Roberts, Ruddick, Schaffer, Meiklejohn, Mutzbaugh, Norton, and Tebedo. In addition, 17 Representatives sponsored the bill including Kerns, Agler, Anderson, Reeves, Adkins, Berry, Coffman, Dryer, Foster, Hagedorn, Jerke, Kaufman, Lawrence, May, Owen, Ratterree, and Sullivan. Made up of both Democrats and Republicans, the bill had true bipartisan sponsorship. When discussing their specific role in the development of the bill, all but one of the legislators questioned indicated that writing of the bill was one of the tasks in which he/she had engaged. All substantiated that they had in fact sponsored the bill. While unsubstantiated, one of the interviewees claimed that she was one of the originators of the idea to write the bill and that she had done major "clean up" when another writer had an illness in her family (p. 17). Legislative Outcomes. While twelve questions were asked of each interviewee, two of the questions seem to most specifically address the preferred outcomes. In one question, legislators were asked to identify issues they felt were important considerations in their decision to sponsor charter school legislation. Those interviewed often cited outcomes expressly identified in the law. While not every legislator mentioned each outcome determined from the legislation, the cumulative 124

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responses included all of the intentions identified early on in this chapter including: (a) a variety of different types of schools would become available offering more choices to families; (b) at-risk students would be able to attend schools developed to better meet their needs; (c) an increase in involvement of educators, parents, and community members in creating, implementing, and volunteering in charter schools would occur; (d) charter curriculum and instruction would develop that surpass the norms in existing public schools; and (e) the establishment of new and innovative programs would lead to more risk taking. The second question asked legislators to identify current concerns regarding education that had brought about the belief that charter schools were necessary. Although some responses included item such as increasing accountability and providing more choices, other responses to this question moved beyond the rationale for charter schools enacted in the legislation. Interviewed legislators stated that they were optimistic that charter schools would address areas of concern that had been expressed in the press, through lobbying groups, and by the community at large. The two concerns were mentioned most frequently by legislators. The first related to anticipation that charter schools would result in improving student performance. Legislators hope that changes in charter schools would bring about improved test scores and better prepare students for the 21st century. All charter schools are required to develop and implement an evaluation plan that is sanctioned by the sponsoring district. Second was that legislators also believed that a reduction in the power base of educators was possible as a result of charter legislation. Among the specific examples stated was that based on the legislation, charter schools would be able to move outside the parameters traditionally found in negotiated agreements. Items specific to this category include that those not trained as educators could be hired to teach in charter schools. In addition, charter schools would be able to adopt pay for performance plans 125

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and move teachers out of a traditional plan that pays for length of service and accrued credit hours. Also mentioned, but less frequently, was that charter school legislation makes it possible for schools to change their organizational structure. Different governance models can be put into place in different schools and the amount of parent decision making authority may be strengthened in some. Legislators liked the fact that chatter schools would be able to change performance parameters such as the amount of time one is required to attend school, the length of the school day, and the length of the school year. In addition, one legislator believes that charter schools will be instrumental in bringing new resources to public, government owned schools. These resources include money from grants and human resources made through community connections. Legislators have been subjected to demands to bring about changes in the public school system since the early 1980s. Introduction of the now famous 1983 report, A... Nation At Risk, by the National Commission on Excellence in Education portrayed the American educational system in a new light. This report stated that, "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people .... It went on to say, "We must dedicate ourselves to the reform of our educational system for the benefit of all" ( 1983, p. 1). Efforts at educational reform had been underway for ten years between the publication of A Nation At Risk and the adoption of the Colorado Charter School Act. During that period educational reforms have occurred. However, one legislator interviewed believes reforms have been taking far too much time. He anticipates that charter legislation will greatly decrease the time it takes to reform public schools. The charter legislation would, therefore, decrease the amount of criticism lobbied at public schools and legislators and might in fact ward off vouchers, according to this legislator. 126

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Legislators' Words To the Press The Charter School Law has been a hot topic in the press over the past few years. Highly supportive of the legislation, several Colorado legislators have indicated their support for the law. One of the most vocal charter schools advocates has been Governor Roy Romer. Romer signed the charter school bill into law on Thursday, June 3, 1993. Following the signing the Rocky Mountain News reported that he stated, "We are starting, I think, a very major reform in education in Colorado" (Sanko, June 4, 1993, p. 4A). On the same day, the Denver Post quotes the Governor as saying, "The charter schools bill enables schools within a district and parents and communities ... to experiment with different ways to educate. He went on to say, "Though the effort will be experimental, it will be controlled experimentation with accountability." He felt that "There may be risk, but we need to mn that risk" to assure greater learning (Gavin, June 4, 1993, p. 2B). On October 24, 1993, the Governor predicted that charter schools would invigorate the public educational system and would preempt efforts to bring vouchers to the state. He described public school as, "too rigid a monopoly." He believes that charter schools open the door for educational innovation. Romer compared the charter school movement with efforts to break the sound barrier. He said, Remember when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier? The first time he tried it, he fell out of the sky. They had to reconfigure the plane several times before it worked. That's what happens when you try new things (Broderick, p. 30A). Senator Bill Owens, R. Aurora, was a co-author of the charter schools bill with Representative Peggy Kearns, D-Aurora. He has been a strong charter advocate since the inception of the bill. Owens spoke to a reporter of the Rocky Mountain News on the day the bill emerged from the Senate Education Committee. Acknowledging that bill had been heavily rewritten, he still felt the bill was in good shape. He said, the bill still "provides the essentials for successful charter schools. It is a major reform move" (Sanko, March 19, 1993, p. 33). 127

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Several weeks later other changes were made in the bill. The original bill made it possible for the applicants to start with no regulations. On April 12, 1993 in an editorial article, it was stated that changes to the bill meant that all regulations would apply except those waived by the applicants. In response to this new action, Senator Owens said he felt the bill was weakened, but indicated that technical assistance would be provided to help applicants. With respect to the provision of only 80 to 90% of the per pupil operating revenues, Owens argued that less overhead and greater operating efficiency in charter schools will make the resources go farther (p. 48A). Other legislators came out in support of the charter bill in an article in the Rocky Mountain News. On May 12, 1993, Representative Peggy Reeves, D-Fort Collins said, "What we are attempting is to allow creativity, to set up a learning eiwironment that will allow for growth and greater education" (Germer, p. 4A). In the same article, Representative Diana DeGette said, "Our constituents are crying out for education reform. This is a good first step" (p. 4A). Representative Doug Friednash, D-Denver, voted against the measure and and when asked if the bill was the answer to problems in education, stated, "I don't think so, but I think this deserves a chance" (p. 4A). Other legislators were unsure of the effects of charter school legislation and expressed concerns. Senator Regis Groff, D-Denver, shared his beliefs with Rocky Mountain News reporter Sanko. He stated that the bill is not a panacea and will not cure the social or economic ills facing our public schools. "This isn't getting at all of those masses of kids who bring test scores down, who come out of single parent homes. This is going to be an approach to help sophisticated, well -educated parents who want something different," he said (Sanko, April 21, 1993, p. 4A). In a Rocky Mountain News article on May 12, 1993, Representative Tony Hernandez, D-Denver, also expressed concerns about minority representation. He stated that, One of the fears of charter schools is that it becomes elite. in other words, lily white" he recommended starting next year and not making a mistake this year (Germer, p. 4A). 128

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Senator Al Meiklejohn, R-Arvada, expressed concerns about some of the financial aspects of the bill. He warned that, "the easiest way to prevent the success (of a charter school) is to underfund it" (Sanko, April 21, 1993, p. 4A). While Representative Glenda Swanson Lyle, D-Denver, warned, "On the backs of public dollars, you are creating a private school situation. We are creating a monster that is going to come back and eat us up" (Germer, May 12, 1993, p. 4A). Representative Vi June, D-Westminster, insisted that the bill was going in the wrong direction. In a Rocky Mountain News article she is quoted as saying, "This all kind of reminds me of an ugly little girl whose mother dresses her up and put a bow in her hair and calls her beautiful. You can't make a bill beautiful just by dressing it up with a bow" (Germer, p. 4A). Perhaps it was Pandora to whom Ms. June referred. With or without a bow, Pandora has aiTived in Colorado and has made her presence known. She has brought with her a new set of possibilities and has made it possible for those dissatisfied with what has come before to have hope for a new tomorrow. As some embraced her, did they find the outcomes all they hoped they would be or did they also find that she brought with her a box filled with unanticipated pleasures and problems? 129

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CHAPTERS LATENT OUTCOMES: A GIFT FROM PANDORA When Pandora was brought to earth, all who saw her were awe struck by her incredible beauty. Under her spell, men reached out to embrace her. They were unaware that she had brought with her a box that contained many things that they had not previously experienced. Soon after her arrival, Pandora opened the container, released its contents, and forever changed the world (Roberts, Roberts, & Katz, 1997, p. 28). What escaped from the box may be considered as latent outcomes of Pandora's presence. Latent outcomes often result when individuals or members of organizations come together and engage in interactions with one another. Each participant brings to the interaction a unique set of values and perspectives. When a decision is made, it is human nature that the values and perspectives of individuals are presented in a manner that results in posturing for power. In this situation, the outcomes of a decision may trigger consequences that were never anticipated by those who made the initial decision. While not the first to discuss manifest and latent outcomes, Merton ( 1957) was one of the first to recognize their importance in the study of social decision making. In his writings, he described manifest outcomes as those consequences for an individual or group that contribute to its well being in a manner that was prescribed. Latent outcomes were those consequences that were not intended or unexpected, nor were they easily recognized (p. 63). Merton believed that making the distinction between the two types of outcomes was critical in understanding why decisions often resulted in a reality that surprised those who developed the policy or were the recipients of a policy 130

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decision. He stated that it is through the analysis of latent outcomes that what may appear to be irrational social actions can be understood and clarified (p. 64). When Pandora opened the box, fear, greed, lust, and hatred were unleashed upon the world. Unlike the outcomes of Pandora's decision to open the box, the latent outcomes of charter school policy have not all been negative. Some latent outcomes have resulted in positive changes in educational programs for students and in the school districts in which they are located. Some latent outcomes have been detrimental to the charter schools or applicants for a charter school and for the school districts to which they have applied, and some latent outcomes can been designated as neither positive nor negative, yet are quite interesting to examine. This chapter examines the latent outcomes that probably were not intended by the policy makers who developed and supported the Colorado Charter Schools Act. Legislative manifest outcomes as identified in Chapter 4 are described in the context of national research and Colorado charter school experiences. The intent of this research is neither to advocate for nor deny the importance of the charter legislation. Rather, it is to document the ramifications of policy development and recommend careful thought about possible consequences be considered in future educational policy development. Legislative Outcomes The Colorado Charter Schools Act was enacted on June 3, 1993. The concept of school competition such as that promoted through a charter law was promoted as a panacea (Chubb & Moe, 1990, p. 217). A charter school law is a drastic reform in the current system of public education that add an element of free enterprise without the institution of vouchers. This perspective was in evidence through examination of legislators' preferred outcomes. Colorado charter legislation identified three intentions, three principles, and eight purposes of the law. In Chapter 4, these intentions, principles, and purposes were 131

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summarized to reflect five manifest outcomes of the legislation. The manifest outcomes included premises that (a) more choices to families would become available as a variety of different types of schools were chartered; (b) at -risk students would be able to attend schools with programs designed to better meet their needs; (c) an increase in involvement of educators, parents, and community members performing different roles in different capacities would occur; (d) charter curriculum and instruction would develop that would be far superior to those in existing in most of our public schools; and (e) increasing numbers of innovative programs would result from the establishment of charter schools. Using these same categories, latent outcomes of the legislation are examined. More Choices At this writing, almost the full compliment of charter schools allowed by law have been established in the state of Colorado (Colorado Charter School List, August 1997). As was anticipated, charter schools in several different locations have elected to offer programs that are not found in the district in which they exist. The first two schools that were approved in the state were quite different from the programs that had been in place in their sponsoring districts. These schools were the first charter schools in Colorado that began to increase program diversity. The Connect School in Pueblo County School District 70 was the first charter school in the state. The school emphasizes the use of community resources in educating sixth through eighth-grade students (CASB Agenda, 1993, p. 12). The Academy of Charter Schools in Douglas County was the second charter school approved in Colorado. At this school, parents and staff members champion the use of the Hirsch Core curriculum. The school serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade (Charter School Bulletin, 1996, p. 2). In addition to community-based learning environments and Core Knowledge 132

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schools, other charter schools that advocate different choices within school districts have opened in recent years. Choices offered in subsequent charter schools include the adoption of the teachings of Maria Montessori, High Scope curriculum, a focus on technology, curricula emphasizing science and/or mathematics, and community-based learning experiences. Based on these examples, it is apparent that several new choices have become available to different communities resulting from the enactment of the Charter School Act. What has been less evident is that offering choice to some of a district's constituents may bring about consequences to those who have chosen to attend charter schools and other community members. While these issues may not have surfaced in all charter schools, most have occurred in more than one school district. Among the concerns that have arisen are whether (a) the design of the existing charter schools brings about enough program diversity; (b) resource allocations are well handled, including the process of negotiating each charter school's funding, securing of facilities, obtaining adequate funding for start-up costs, providing district transportation, and reducing staffing or funding to neighborhood schools; (c) enrollment conditions have changed due to the increase in numbers of students now being brought into the public education system, disproportionate numbers of students leaving some neighborhood schools to attend charter schools, and conditions that make it necessary for neighborhood schools to market themselves; and (d) fragile community relations have arisen between charter proponents and opponents. Diversity. One reason school choice has become so popular in many states and districts is because students have different needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles. Instructional methodology, curricula, and teaching styles can affect the learning of different students. For some students, a back-to-basics or content-driven approach may be best. Other students learn better with an individualized program of instruction, while others may benefit from open education or cooperative learning approaches 133

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(Young & Clinchy, 1992, p. 15). It is clear that a one size fits all model of education is no longer the best approach to providing a quality educational program for all students and many parents clearly want what they perceive to be best for their children. Choice allows public schools to diversify and maximize their efforts through limiting the number of areas each school addresses. Alternative and magnet schools are able to offer specialized programs designed to meet the needs of a specific clientele. The narrow focus of these schools makes it possible for them to concentrate on what they do best rather than trying to be all things to all students (p. 16). These sentiments are supported in the report, Time for Results (National Governors' Association, 1983): Experience with public alternative schools shows that many have the distinct shared philosophy, mission, and faculty agreement called for in the literature on effective schools. Indeed, many outstanding schools share certain characteristics of effective corporations. One of the similarities is clear, distinct, focused mission. When schools are permitted to develop some specialization, their effectiveness increases. (p. 69) Schools that serve a specific population or offer a specific program have a greater chance of reaching agreement between staff, parents, and students about the philosophy and practices of the school. Mutual values and beliefs held by the participants provide a greater likelihood for meeting the needs of individuals and of groups thus avoiding opportunities for alienation (Young & Clinchy, 1992, p. 17). By their very design, charter schools are able to make changes that far surpass those of alternative and magnet schools. Altemative and magnet programs are often required to use the same standards, curriculum, assessments, or instructional practices that are used in other district schools. On the other hand, charter schools promise to release teachers from many of the conditions that can prevent effective teaching (Wells, 1993, p. 125). One advantage of starting a charter school is that the applicants are able to determine the form that the school will take. "Charter schools do not represent a particular curricular or pedagogical philosophy," states Nathan (March 1998, p. 502). He says 134

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further that charter applicants.should review "best practice" before they start a charter school. While this is sound advice, it is more likely that the focus of a charter school is based on the preexisting beliefs and values of the individuals who first suggest starting a charter school. These individuals then attract like-minded disciples to carry forward the idea. By 1997-1998, 50 Colorado charter schools were operating and the amount of diversity in the educational programs of these schools was more limited than what the legislators may have intended. The distinctive components of educational programs in charter schools as identified in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 22-23) are thematic/interdisciplinary study, a focus on technology, Core Knowledge curriculum, community as a classroom, individualized learning, multi-age instruction, character instruction, focus on a specific content, hands-on learning, and foreign language instruction. In addition, a number of schools offer extended-day or extended-year programs, block scheduling, year-round calendars, and community service components. Of all of the Colorado charter schools that were evaluated in 1997, each school had more than one of these components. For the purpose of this research, a primary emphasis for each school will be selected based on newsletter information provided by the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Colorado Department of Education. Of the 50 Colorado charter schools in operation by 1997, two types of schools have been predominant. The most popular type is one that has adopted a "Core Knowledge" curriculum. Core Knowledge schools are 22 in number and are found in metropolitan, urban/suburban, outlying cities, and rural areas (see Table 4.2, p. 87). Hirsch (1996) espouses that a successful Core Knowledge school is one in which: All teachers at our school have not only pedagogical training but also a detailed knowledge of the subject matter that they teach. We instill in all children an ethic of toleration, civility, orderliness, responsibility, and hard work. Our staff has agreed on a definite course of knowledge and skill that all children will attain in each grade. We make sure that every child learns this core, and 135

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gains the specific knowledge and skill needed to prosper at the next grade level, thus enabling knowledge to build upon knowledge. Our teachers continually confer with their colleagues about effective ways of stimulating children to learn and integrate this specific knowledge and skill. (p. 62) Academy Charter School was the first Core Knowledge school to be chartered in Colorado. The school is located in the Douglas County School District in a town that is about 25 miles south of Denver. When the charter was first suggested, the superintendent and one assistant superintendent demonstrated that they were willing to listen, and they gave the parents the chance to start the school (Nathan, 1996, p 42). Nathan (p. 43) observes that the Academy Charter combines innovative instructional practices with conservative ideas about curriculum. The parents and teachers believe in teaching phonics, spelling, and penmanship. Periodic spelling bees are held. Rules for capitalization and punctuation are stressed in students' writing. The Saxon math program has been adopted as a vehicle for teaching math skills. Various teaching approaches are used in classrooms with a student-teacher ratio of 18 to 1. Students are grouped for instruction to provide opportunities to challenge students and provide them with individual attention. The second most popular type of charter school in Colorado is tied to instructional practices rather than curricula. These schools subscribe to a more "individualized learning" approach. The ten schools that fall into this category are also found in metropolitan, urban/suburban, outlying cities, and rural areas (see Table 4.3, p. 95). Schools that promote an educational focus on the individual child are in direct opposition to those which see the curricular content as the focus of instruction. Advocates of individualized instruction would most likely agree with Emerson that in effective education, "the scholar is the cause, not the effect" (Perkinson, 1976, p. 106). He continues, stating individualism is the new political importance given to a single person. Thus, when people feel the world is theirs and learn to treat others with respect a union between people and a greatness results. 136

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The Community of Learners Charter School is one of the schools that subscribe to the advancement of an individualized-learning environment. The school is located in Durango in the southwest corner of the state. The school enrolls 111 students and features student-centered and self-directed learning, individual learning plans, and community-based learning experiences. Students are expected to develop school-wide sensitivity toward others and a sense of responsibility for the community. The school promotes continuing parent, teacher, and student involvement. The Mission of the Community of Learners is "to provide a positive, mutually respectful environment in which students, parents and teachers share a commitment to an experience of optimal, individualized learning that leads to a lifelong love of learning, as well as a high level of personal achievement" (Community of Learners Application, 1994, p. 4). Both Core Knowledge schools and individualized learning schools are proving to meet the needs of the families in the districts sponsoring the schools. What is disconcerting is that charter legislation limited the number of charter schools to 60 and many of the schools that have already been approved appear to have reduced the amount of diversity possible through shear numbers of schools that are quite similar. In reading the descriptions of the educational programs in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study (Clayton Foundation, 1998), similarities between schools of the same type become evident. In the statements from Core Know ledge charter schools are phrases such as back-to-basics, mastery of facts, Core Knowledge sequence, direct instruction and character development. In schools with an emphasis on individualized instruction, phrases such as personal learning plans, individualized assessments, student's interests, integrated curriculum, and learning styles can be found. That is not to say that none of the Core Knowledge schools have individualized learning plans or that none of the individualized learning schools have a set of curricula. In a number of cases, the statements of educational programs between the two types of schools are somewhat blurred. 137

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To be able to use charter schools effectively as research and development sites, a variety of innovative programs is warranted. To recreate the same school in 10 or 20 locations across the state defeats much of the purpose of the legislation, for the lack of diversification in Colorado's charter schools will limit the reform opportunities in which other public schools may avail themselves. Resource Allocations. One of the precepts that makes charter schools different than other schools of choice like magnet schools, schools-within-a-school, or alternative schools is that the funding follows the student. In a state-by-state comparison, different states have established different guidelines for determining funding amounts, whether fiscal autonomy exists, and what start-up funds are available. Ten states were included in the Study of Charter Schools: First Year Report (1997) conducted by the U. S. Department of Education. Information about the same states has been obtained from the Center for Educational Reform (see Table 5.1 ). In the ten states included in this table, funding issues are handled quite differently. In six of the states, charter schools automatically receive 100% of the (PPOR) Per Pupil Operating Revenue. The PPOR is a combination of state and local dollars that would be available for the student if the student were enrolled in a neighborhood school. Charter applicants in Georgia and Wisconsin must negotiate with the charter sponsor to determine the amount of funding that will be made available. In Minnesota, charter schools receive 100% of the funding from the state, but do not receive any local district funds. In Colorado, the law states that a charter school may receive between 80% and 100% of the district's PPOR. Colorado is the only state of the ten examined that sets a minimum funding amount. A designated percentage of the combined state and local funds is sent to the charter school through the district. With these funds, the charter school is able to pay for goods and services from a budget that they control (Nathan, 1996, p. 214 ). Often, the charter school applicants will contract with the district to 138

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TABLES.! CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING Amount Fiscal Start-U1::1 Funds Arizona 100% Automatic $1,000,000 annually Federal charter funding California 100% Negotiated No state funding Federal charter funding Colorado 80-100% Negotiated No state or federal funds Georgia Negotiated Negotiated $5,000 to 10 schools Federal charter funding Hawaii 100% No No state or federal funds Massachusetts 100% Automatic State planning grants Goals 2000 and federal $ Michigan 100% Automatic Federal charter funds Minnesota State funds Automatic $50,000 start-up grants Federal charter funds New Mexico 100% Negotiated Federal charter funds Wisconsin Negotiated Negotiated No state funds Federal charter funds 139

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"buy back" services that the district is able to provide more economically than the private sector. Most of the states in this report were granted fiscal autonomy or the ability to make financial decisions on their own behalf. The only state in which no fiscal autonomy is granted is Hawaii. Charter schools in Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota have complete control over their budgets. California, Georgia, New Mexico, and Wisconsin negotiate with the charter sponsor to determine the level of autonomy that will exist. This is true in Colorado, as well. Negotiating for charter funding. While in five of the states reviewed charter funding is automatically granted at 100% of the PPOR, that is not the case in Colorado. The Colorado Charter Schools Law has made it possible for charter school applicants and local school board members to negotiate for the amount of funding that the charter school will receive. Negotiating begins with how much money will follow each child, and incorporates deciding what resources will be shared, what services will be provided, and what cost will be attached to physical and human resources. The 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study breaks down the amount of PPOR negotiated for by each school included in the report (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 88-89). Only five of the charter schools negotiated for 100% PPOR. What is not surprising is that none of these schools are contracting with the sponsoring district for any services. It is often the level of contracted services that reduce the charter allocation. Two other charter schools that have no sponsoring district services provided negotiated for less than 100% funding. One of the schools receives 92.4% funding and the other receives 90% funding. Thirteen schools negotiated for between 80 and 87% funding. These schools are contracting for various services including, but not limited to, legal services, payroll and accounting services, district insurance, food services, professional development programs, maintenance, transportation, and special education services. 140

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One manifest outcome of the negotiations process is that two charter schools have secured more than 100% of the PPOR. GLOBE Charter School in Academy District 11 negotiated for 101% funding and receive special education services, student assessment services, and access to the district purchasing office. Marble Charter School in Gunnison Watershed District has negotiated for approximately 120% PPOR. The school contracts with the district for insurance, payroll services, accounting services, special education services, district surplus furniture and equipment, and access to the district purchasing office. In districts with available facilities, the district must allow the charter school to reside at the available site and are unable to charge rent for the space. In this case, it would make sense for the district to negotiate that a smaller percentage of the PPOR be granted. In districts where no building is available for charter use, the charter applicants have to pay rent on a commercial site. For this reason, some charter advocates believe that a higher percentage of funding should be awarded. Site expenditures are not the only ones that must be addressed in deciding how to fund a charter school. Charters may also wish to avail themselves of services such as payroll, personnel, enrollment and attendance services, assessment, and mail delivery services. Determining the costs associated with these services is a task full of ambiguity. It is difficult to predetermine how much time and how many resources will be required in each contracted area. No legislative guidelines were developed to assist school districts and charter applicants, and district personnel have had to network with other district personnel or have had to make informed estimates of service costs. A balance between the needs of the charter school and district resources and time must be established. These costs must be considered when districts and charter schools negotiate a contract. Scarcity of Facilities. Finding a facility in which to house a charter school is difficult in many states across the nation with the exception of states like Georgia, 141

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Hawaii, and New Mexico where all charter schools are conversions of preexisting schools and new facilities are not needed. Yet, many states do not address facility needs in their legislation at all or do so in a manner that may not prove to be helpful to those hoping to start a charter school. Of the remaining ten states reviewed, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin do not address facility issues at all. Arizona requires that the department of education publish a list of all state-owned buildings that are suitable for schools. Minnesota allows charter schools to rent space from public, private, and non-sectarian organizations. With approval from the department of education, a charter may be granted permission to rent from for-profit or sectarian organizations. Unfortunately, all space is not created equal, and charter schools have run into some problems determining what space will be acceptable. In some cases, charter applicants have started the process of looking for a facility and talking with realtors without a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do with reference to obtaining space. In several states, the law has prescribed limitations on the types of facilities charter schools may use. While leasing is acceptable in all states, until 1993 Minnesota did not allow charter schools to rent space in a parochial setting. Other legislation in some states prevents the purchase of a facility (Nathan, 1996a, p. 104). Nathan (March, 1998b, p. 504) points out that many charter schools share space in nontraditional sites such as grocery stores, YMCA buildings, and city recreation buildings. He says that "Sharing or rehabilitating space, as many charters are doing, is a sensible option that federal and state policies should encourage." In Colorado, the Charter School Act (1993, p. 4) stipulates that charter school applicants must not be charged rent for any space which is deemed available and that maintenance and operational costs are to be negotiated. While some districts do have vacant space in which to house a charter school, many districts do not have that luxury. 142

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In fact, procuring a suitable space is often one of the greatest challenges facing Colorado charter school applicants. In the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, it is noted that 19 of the 24 charter schools included in the study were unable to secure space in a district facility. For 79% of the charter schools in the state renting space or having space donated at a nominal cost was necessary (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. xi). Table 5.2 shows the charge for space in charter schools and the percentage of the operating budget reported by the charter schools (p. 90). Eight of the charter schools have been able to find a site where no rent is charged. Five of the schools are housed in buildings owned by the sponsoring districts. Two rent space from non-profit organizations and one uses a city facility. Two charter schools have been able to obtain space for $1.00 per year. One school rents from an non-profit organization, the other from a private source. Of the schools that have had to rent facilities from the city or private owners the rent prices vary dramatically. The least expensive rent charged is $10,000 annually and the most expensive is $305,113 annually. Obviously, the location, the size of each facility, number of students, and size of budgets are quite different and make it logical that costs would cover a broad span. Perhaps more telling is the range of percentages of school budgets that are devoted to rent. Of the schools paying more than $1.00 for a facility, Eagle County Charter only expends 1.5% of its budget on rent while the Community Involved Charter expends 13.9% of its budget on rent (see Table 5.2). Start-Up Costs. Start-up costs must be planned in addition to facility rental costs for some charter schools. If the facility to be used is not a district facility, renovation needs are bound to exist. This may mean expansive internal remodeling, including putting up walls, laying carpet, painting, adding restrooms, putting in a kitchen (to be able to offer a school lunch program), and bringing the building up to code. External renovations may also be needed. The school may have limited access for students to be dropped 143

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TABLE5.2 CHARTER SCHOOL FACIT...ITY COSTS Facility Owners Rent %of Budget Academy of Charter Schools Public $305,113 11 Stargate Charter School City 35,000 2 Cherry Creek Academy Private I 0 Community Prep City 0 0 GLOBE Charter Private 78,000 7.6 Cheyenne Mountain Private 92,000 6.5 Clayton Charter School Non-profit 0 0 P.S. 1 Private 37,500 4 Academy Charter School Private 151,752 10 Core Know ledge Charter Private 91,712 8 Renaissance Charter Private 140,000 9.5 Community of Learners District 0 0 EXCEL Charter School District 0 0 Eagle County Charter Non-profit 10,000 1.5 Marble Charter School Non-profit 1 0 Community Involved Private 170,000 13.9 Excel Academy Private 38,000 7.7 Jefferson Academy District 0 0 SciTech Academy Private 60,000 11 Crestone Charter School Private 14,100 6 Battle Rock Charter District 0 0 Pueblo Arts-Sciences District 0 0 CONNECT Charter Private 46,000 8.1 Aspen Community Charter Non-profit 0 0 144

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off and picked up from school, may need to build a fence; if an elementary site, the school may need to construct a suitable playground for the students. Building codes have been a challenge to some charter schools. A case in point is the requirement in some states that all fiveand six-year-old children must be housed on the first floor of a building (Nathan, 1996, p. 163). Charter schools must comply with the building specifications required for students with disabilities, asbestos removal, and safety codes. This means that they must often improve the facility in which they will be housed. Without state provisions for start-up costs, school officials may find themselves facing additional costs once the school has been approved and a facility has been obtained. The charter schools in Colorado have incurred costs of $570 at the Community of Learners School in Durango to $284,000 in facility improvements at the Cherry Creek Academy (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 90). Once structural needs have been met, other expenditures must be made to prepare the school for opening. Chairs, tables, desks, computers, library books, and textbooks must be purchased. Unfortunately, the Colorado Charter School Law did not make provisions for start-up costs for charter schools and cash-flow problems often occur. When this sort of problem occurs, it then becomes necessary for the charter school to find external sources of funding. This places the charter applicants at a distinct disadvantage. In addition, charters do not have boundaries and are not able to levy taxes and are unable to issue bonds. As a result, they must either raise private funds or develop a relationship with a lending institution and obtain a loan. If a loan is sought, the school must sequester some of their budget for this purpose. Frequently lacking collateral and because charter schools rarely have been in existence for more than five years, it is often difficult to find willing lenders (Finn, Manno, & Bierlein 1996, pp. 34-35). To exacerbate matters further, in most states a substantial delay occurs between the approval of the school and the receipt of state money. Some states do not release any 145

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funding to the charter school until the students first arrive at the school. Some apportion funds based on the enrollment of the previous year, while others wait until after the October count date to verify enrollment (p. 4). In fact, it may be between three and twelve months after approval that state funds arrive at the charter schools (Nathan, 1996, p. 160). In some states and districts, funds may be allotted in an uneven manner making it difficult for schools to depend on a consistent funding schedule (Finn et al., 1996, p. 35). Transportation. In the state-by-state summary information from the Center for Educational Reform ( 1997), transportation is addressed in the charter legislation. With the exception of the public school conversion states of Georgia, Hawaii, and New Mexico, the first 29 states to pass charter school legislation have addressed transportation issues in different ways. Arizona allows local school boards to determine whether transportation will be provided by the district. California and Massachusetts laws require transportation for children attending charter schools. In Michigan and Minnesota, transportation services are not required. However, if a district does provide transportation for any of its students charter school students must be transported. In Minnesota, parents or other transportation services may be paid to transport students attending charter schools. Wisconsin does not address the issue in its law. No restrictions have been specified in the Colorado law. Charter applicants and districts are able to negotiate whether transportation services will be provided. While it is possible that some districts do provide transportation, it is incumbent on the parents of some charter school students to transport or secure transportation for their own children (p. 12). When families must rely on their own means of transporting children to school an impact on the ability of some students to attend a school of their choosing results. "Providing transportation is important to increase access to schools for students in low-income families" (Nathan, 1998, p. 502). The fact that 146

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transportation is not guaranteed is a factor that prevents many students from attending a charter school. Several personal conditions may affect a student's ability to get to a charter school. First, whether the child lives with both parents or in a single-parent home may be a factor. In a single parent home, the need to be at work or providing child care for siblings during the times the student is to be transported may prevent the parent from transporting the child him or herself. Second, the socioeconomic status of the family may be at issue. Some families are unable to procure a second vehicle to use to transport the child to school. Third, in communities where either of these conditions occur and no public transportation is available, a student may be unable to attend a school of choice. Last, a system of car pooling may be possible to arrange. In the case where no other school attendees live in the same neighborhood, car pools may be unlikely. Reductions in staffing or funding to neighborhood schools. Yes, it is true that charter schools do cost districts more money and at times bring about reductions in staffing in neighborhood schools. While early rhetoric was that charters would cost no more to sponsoring districts, some of those who have closely studied charter schools no longer believe this assertion. In their treatise, Charter Schools in Action: What We Have Learned (Finn et al., 1996, p. 63), the authors charge policy makers to accept the fact that charter schools will ultimately have a negative impact on their sponsoring districts. They recognize that this is due in part to the fact that charter schools often attract students from a variety of neighborhood schools. When three or four students are taken from an existing site, the neighborhood school is not able to decrease expenses even though the students are no longer being educated at that site. The situation may be further exacerbated when, as a result of students going to a charter school, a site loses a whole or half-staffing unit when relatively few students, spanning several grade levels, leave. 147

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Medler ( 1997, p. 1) believes that many school districts that hoped to save money in approving charter schools have discovered that they are unable to do so. Even when a charter is not given 100% of the PPOR, districts are finding that charters still bring about an increase in what must be spent. Due to having expenses that other schools do not have, charter schools find that they often must educate their students at a lower rate than those in neighborhood schools in the same district. One factor that has brought about an increase in costs are the students who are entering the system from private or home-school settings. States have a set educational budget and now find that 10 to 15% more students are entering the system. Those students represent a corresponding increase in the cost of public education, a burden that must be assumed by the districts. That concern is also voiced by Hawley (April 10, 1996, p. 6). He feels that choice will increase the number of private school students entering the public system. With that increase, public school dollars will be stretched further and will bring about a decrease in funds available for other public school students. In addition, he believes that, through decentralization of funds on a per pupil basis and a greater concentration of students with special needs, the funds available for allocation to students with special needs will decline. Enrollment Conditions. The disillusionment with the public educational system has fostered different recommendations in an effort to "fix" public education through offering more school choice. While various choice solutions have been proposed, the most common solution offered has been to develop different options from which parents choose the educational program most closely aligned with their beliefs and values. To this end, school choice is perceived as a "meta-reform" that deeply touches the fundamental issues of the American family. Because many Americans believe that our schools have failed, school choice has become a means to address anxiety about our 148

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economic competitiveness. These people believe that choice will again make us "number one" with respect to our educational system and the world market (Cookson, 1994, p. 69). As a result, enrollment conditions continue to make dramatic shifts as more states and more districts embrace choice opportunities. These conditions include an influx of students who had been in non-public school settings such as private schools or home school students, changes in enrollment figures in neighborhood schools due to attrition, and an increased emphasis on public-school marketing. Students in Non-public School Settings. For many years, some American citizens have been unhappy with the system of public education in this country. Evidence of their displeasure can be seen in letters to newspaper editors, the defeat of mill-levy efforts in some communities, and families "voting with their feet" choosing to relocate or to enter the system of private education. A loss of 15% or 1.2 million students to private schools occurred in the sixty largest school districts in the nation between 1967 and 1986. Approximately five and a half million children now choose to attend private elementary and secondary schools in this county (Henig, 1994, p. 29). Cummins (1998, p. 1) reports that since 1989 enrollment in private schools has increased by 40%, nearly double the increase for public school enrollment during the same time. Last year, 48,768 Colorado students were enrolled in 385 private schools throughout the state. This is 19 more private schools than existed in 1989. Private school tuition ranges from a few thousand dollars a year to $12,000 or more. In Colorado's public schools, 687,167 students (a 22% increase) were enrolled in 1,544 public schools in 1997. Parents who have enrolled their children in private schools or are home schooling their children have made the choice to do so for a various reasons. Cummins (p. 1) finds that the most important reason parents give for choosing private schools is smaller class size and the second most important reason is concern for safety. Parents like the 149

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idea that a private school is able to expel a student for disciplinary reasons much more easily than in the public school system. Some parents also feel that the small size of the school reduces the chances of gangs and drugs in school. These reasons are consistent with those cited by families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where educational quality, smaller class sizes, and safety issues were also mentioned. When parents who send their children to public schools were asked the same question, only 15% stated academic quality, 11% mentioned smaller class size, and 3% cited good teachers (Carnegie Foundation, 1992, p. 14). As charter schools have been able to offer different academic programs, smaller school and class size, and environments parents perceive to be safer, many have been quite successful in attracting families that were previously enrolled in private schools or were home schooling their children. The reasons parents are opting for charter schools and are leaving private schools may also be financial in nature. As private schools lose students, their operating costs are not likely to be significantly lower. This means that many private schools must raise tuition to be able to meet their needs. As tuition costs rise, private schools are likely to lose more students, perpetuating the tuition-increase cycle (Hawley, 1996, p. 7). For parents no longer able to afford the costs of private education, charter schools may provide a viable alternative. In Charter Schools In Action: What Have We Learned? (1996, p. 15), information on where students in seven states were being educated before attending a charter school is revealed. A total of 8,388 students were included in this study (see Table 5.3). These data are significant for several reasons. First, the number of students attending the 34 charter schools listed have come predominantly from the public school system. A total of 6, 770 or 81% of the students came to the charter schools from public schools. Second, given that private school numbers do not approximate those in public schools, a substantial number of students have come to charters from the private sector. Private school students total 660 or 8% 150

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of the charter school population. Third, while not as large a number, students have been brought into charter schools from those that have chosen to home school their children. In this study, 179 or 2% ofthe charter school population come from home school settings. Fourth, charter schools are bringing in students who are not currently enrolled in school. This number includes 301 (4%) students who were former drop outs and 478 (6%) students enrolling in kindergarten or those who are new to the United States. Disproportionate Numbers of Students Leaving Some Schools. Choice is a means for promoting accountability because schools no longer have a captive audience (Young & Clinchy, 1992, p. 12). When families are unhappy in their assigned school, they are free to select from another school in the same district, a school in a different district, or an alternative school (in some districts). Added to the ranks of choice opportunities, 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico now offer charter school legislation making it possible for those who have become disenfranchised to create their own school (U. S. Charter Schools Organization, 1998). Charter schools do entice students from the public system of education (see Table 5.3). In the study, 6.770 or 81% of the students that attend charter schools come from the other nearby public schools (Finn et al., 1996, p. 15). What has not been addressed are the large numbers of students leaving some neighborhood schools and the ramifications for those schools as charter schools and other public schools compete for students. The reasons a disproportionate number of students leave a given school may be varied. A charter school may have been established in close proximity to a traditional public school, and parents in that neighborhood may find the location of the school more convenient or may want to exercise their right to choose the school that their child will attend. Applicants from the charter school may reside in one neighborhood and hold meetings with other neighbors in an effort to convince them to join the cause. The 151

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TABLE5.3 WHERE CHARTER STUDENTS COME FROM State Number in Public Private Home Notln Number Charter Schools Schools Schools Schooled School of Charters AZ 988 913 14 5 56 5 CA 3,647 3,184 98 61 304 7 co 1,159 857 127 56 119 5 MA 1,029 718 247 3 61 5 MI 971 717 163 29 62 5 MN 445 277 11 15 142 5 WI 149 104 0 10 35 2 passion of this individuals may be one determining factor in successfully convincing their neighbors to try the charter school. Nathan (1996, p. 138) encourages charter applicants to recruit students by holding evening meetings at private homes, churches or synagogues, family or community centers, libraries, or local businesses. The parents applying for the charter may have similar beliefs, educational and occupational backgrounds, and values to those of the charter applicants. Parents may choose to have their child attend a charter school due to personnel issues that exist at their neighborhood school. Parents may believe that the administrator or members of the staff are not open to their ideas, are not willing to allow them to engage in meaningful site-based management decisions, or may dislike a staff member. These beliefs may send a family to the open arms of the charter school. When a large number of students leave from one site, educational ramifications are bound to surface. The school will lose staffing resulting in a decrease to site-based budgets. When this happens in elementary schools, grade-level teachers are often reassigned to equalize the number of students in each classroom. Where elementary 152

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staffing issues become more complex are when art, music, physical education, and media/technology teaching staff is reduced. In most cases, this results in the need to split specials teachers between two or more sites. At the secondary level, elimination of teachers in specialized areas or sharing teachers of specialized content between sites also occurs. Travel time must be included in the schedules of these shared teachers, thus reducing the amount of time teachers spend with students. Increased duty assignments and reduced planning time for classroom teachers is another outcome that may result from reducing the time specialized teachers have in each site. Special education staffing will also be necessarily reduced in buildings with declining enrollment. A district's special education staffing often remains static from year to year. As charter schools enter the public system, the special education staffing from buildings with declining enrollments will likely be reassigned to the charter schools. Again, travel time between schools will reduce the amount of service available at each of the schools. Some advocates of school choice feel that these problems are worth the cost. They believe that the fear of student exodus from a school or district to another school can be an incentive for schools and districts to evaluate themselves and make decisions about ways to improve. When schools have to prove themselves to parents and accept greater responsibility for the quality of education they produce, education will improve (Young & Clinchy, 1992, p. 12). Public Schools Must Now Market Themselves. To prevent mass exodus, personnel and parents in public schools have found themselves in the business of marketing their school. This is true whether the schools are traditional neighborhood schools or charter schools. Recruiting is time consuming and requires knowledge and skill if it is to be done properly. While addressing the needs of charter schools, Nathan ( 1996, pp. 138140) lists several recruiting measures that should also be undertaken by other public schools. He suggests holding meetings in a variety of locations to talk about the 153

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purposes of the school and to answer questions. He indicates that contacting the news media is an important means for advertising the school. He believes that radio, newspapers, and television stations should all be contacted to run stories on the school. Often, the media will charge lower fees for advertisements or publish more stories about non-profit organizations according to Nathan. Nathan also suggests that school personnel should design and print flyers that highlight different aspects of the school. These flyers should include the name and telephone number of a contact person. He finds that local businesses may be willing to post flyers about the school in a window or on a community bulletin board. Some agencies that work with at-risk children, low-income families, or minorities are often willing to distribute flyers to clientele. Real estate agents are often in contact with families who are interested in knowing about the schools in the community. For this reason, school personnel should make sure to keep them informed about the school. For many public schools, marketing has become a major responsibility. It is often a huge investment in time and energy for those schools dropping in enrollment. In addition to the strategies listed, existing schools have held open houses, conducted neighborhood home visits, and held neighborhood events to bring in those with no children in the school to learn about what the school has to offer. School administrators are spending time being interviewed by prospective parents and giving building tours, perhaps in lieu of other pressing issues. The market system has definitely brought about changes in the way all schools must promote themselves. Whether this is for the betterment of public education remains to be seen. Fragile Community Relations Prevail. Many citizens in democratic societies have evolved a love-hate relationship with government and its concentration of power. Inventive policy-makers, in an effort to rise above both the overly-friendly and overly caustic relationships with government, try to create new and unique solutions to the problems that are facing many communities (McArthur et al., 1996, p. 1). These 154

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relationship issues have been at the center of public education reform proposals for several decades. Following the enactment of legislation approving post-secondary options and inter and intra-school choice opportunities a substantial number of community members became more knowledgeable about choices that were afforded to them. By 1991, almost one-fourth (23%) of parents surveyed said that they would leave their child's neighborhood school if they had the ability to do so, and even larger percentages expressed an interest in switching schools within the public sector (Elam, Rose, & Gallup, 1991). By 1993, almost 6 million families were sending their children to a school of choice outside their neighborhoods. This phenomenon was not just the case for those in the upper income brackets. Fifteen percent of parents making under $15,000 a year chose a public school other than their neighborhood school. About the same percent of parents making more than $50,000 a year chose private schools. Minnesota led the way to the next permutation of choice when State senator Ember Reichgott introduced charter school legislation in 1990. Although the law was not passed until 1991, Reichgott had quite a following of national, state, and local policy makers advocating for the legislation. California followed suit with similar legislation in 1992 and Colorado came on board in 1993. By 1998, 32 states had charter laws on the books (Fuller & Elmore, 1996, p. 3). Democrats and Republicans have expressed support for charter school legislation. In his 1997 State of the Union Address, President Clinton vowed to expand the number of charter schools to 3,000 by the year 2,000. He said that we should make it possible for more parents and teachers to work in charter schools where competition and innovation exist, high standards have been established, and the schools survive only if they are able to demonstrate goal attainment (Newquist, 1998, p. 1). Rallying behind the charter school movement, policy makers such as Ted Kolderie, 155

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Joe Nathan, Louann Bierlein, and Chester E. Finn, Jr., have garnered national, state, and local support for charter schools. The opinions of Nathan, Bierlein, and Finn have been given much credence by those who support charter schools. Kolderie (1997), an early champion of the charter movement, holds similar views. Kolderie, in support of school choice, reflected on the words of Albert Shanker when he stated that if schools are given no reason to improve, they will not improve. He finds it absurd that districts are not trying hard to improve themselves. Instead, he feels that they are having to be forced into change by legislative action such as the initiatives for charter schools. Equally vocal, but on the side of caution have been policy makers, academics, and educators who are concerned that charter schools may give rise to systemic problems. Seymour Sarason (1998) is concerned that charter schools will revisit the sins of the fathers. He believes that as Clinton and others push for more and more charter schools they will be releasing themselves from one prison only to lock themselves up again in a self-defeating repetition of past efforts that have plagued other initiatives in educational reform (p. 131). Amy Stuart Wells, in Time to Choose: America at the Crossroads of School Choice Policy (1993, p. 125), cautions that equity issues will arise as additional charters are granted. Her concerns are not for the students who leave neighborhood schools to attend charters, but for the students who are left behind. Researchers such as Wells recognize that some parents can't or won't make a change to a school outside their area of residence. It is feared that these are the parents who are often uninvolved with their child's education in other areas. John Witte (1990), a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has been studying school choice for a number of years. He has voiced equity concerns similar to those of Wells. While he agrees that arguments supporting choice are compelling, he is concerned that the proponents of choice aspire to bring about equity changes that are larger than issues the public-school system can address (p. 43). 156

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In a paper presented at the April 1996 conference of the American Educational Research Association, Witte described the school choice movement as: A small dog, constantly nipping and yapping at the heels of a large and slow-moving person who can't kick fast enough or often enough to do in the annoying beast. It is probably even more accurate to describe it as a pack of terriers, swarming around their lumbering prey. At the national level, considerable rhetoric has been displayed by charter school authorities. These discussions and disagreements also occur at the state and local level. Colorado is not immune to this debate. As people recognize that they have the option to create and implement programs and practices not found in their local school districts, some are beginning to board the bandwagon with much fan fare and fervor. Those who feel disenfranchised by their school district or neighborhood school are most likely to embrace charter schools. Charter school laws have provided an oasis for parents and teachers who have felt that the system of public education is failing or for those frustrated because an educational program, an instructional methodology, or a particular system of governance has not been incorporated into the system. When frustrations have mounted, some individuals or groups have taken the initiative to start a school where their ideals will be appreciated. Usually, those who start a charter school are impassioned about what they are doing and espouse their beliefs to colleagues, friends, neighbors, at school board meetings, and to the press. These comments are not always made in a manner that is complimentary to the school district: in fact, they are highly critical at times. This passion may lead to three additional latent outcomes. First, parents of unhappy or disillusioned families once in a charter, have been "removed from the hair of public school administrators." A study by Rofes (1997, p. 6) found that those attracted to charters were often families with a long history of complaints against the schools district and students who have had disciplinary problems. He quotes an advocate of charters in Colorado as saying, "This is taking 157

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care of those pain-in-the-ass parents or that pain-in-the ass part of our district or those artsy parents that we've been hearing from for fifteen years now. Now they're happy because they've got their school." Rofes' research concurs with my own findings that districts often find that charter school legislation serves as a release valve making it possible for districts to move children of parents dissatisfied with the system. Second, Rofes finds that the grass is not always greener in a charter school. He states that, "Many of the disgruntled families quickly became disillusioned with the charter school and returned to the traditional public school district." It appears that over time, many charter school originators lose confidence in the charter school and move their children back to other public schools. While he observed that one Colorado principal found "return gripers" to be less antagonistic toward the public school system, he reported that other principals found return parents to be equally vocal (p. 7). Perhaps most alarming is the third latent consequence that when those parents dissatisfied with the public system move to a charter school, the system loses a key incentive for continuous school improvement He states that "Districts may find themselves losing articulate voices which kept school personnel alert and responsive" (p. 7). This finding could be the antithesis of what those who introduced the charter school concept had in mind. At-Risk Students. The term "at-risk students" came into use shortly after the release of A Nation at Risk, in 1983. In response to the charges that the system of education in our country was mediocre at best, educators and academics pointed to the issues facing children and their families (Brandt, 1992, p. 3). These students must fear more than not learning academic subject matter, although those conditions are problematic as well. They are at risk of their own lives, of soul as well as body, of morality and spirituality, of neglect and abandonment, of abuse and poverty, and of crime (Finn, 1991, p. 274). 158

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In Savage Inequalities (1991) and Amazing Grace (1995), Kozol describes the abhorrent conditions of some of America's urban schools. He fills us with tales of urban districts across the nation where school buildings are falling down, classrooms have no books or equipment, bathrooms are not usable, rats run through the school buildings, and certified teachers often are not available. He remarks that these schools often are underfunded and falling down when nearby schools such as Stuyvesant High School in New York have been allocated in excess of $150,000,000 dollar facility budgets (p. 153). Alex Molnar ( 1996) also views school funding to be a critical issue in improving education for all students. In an article on charter schools, Molnar cautions that the efforts of free-market zealots, in arguing for educational experiments, are missing the true means to improve our children's education, increased resources. With reference to addressing the needs of our nation's poorest children, he states that, "No amount of entrepreneurial zeal will make up for lack of sufficient resources to provide for them" (p. 15). While reform advocates such as Kozol and Molnar are calling for more money to address educational concerns, others feel money is not the answer. McGroarty ( 1996) disputes the claims that the ills in public schools are brought about by insufficient funding. He states that between 1960 and 1991 public school enrollment rose from 36.1 million to 41.2 million students, the number of teachers increased from 1.4 million to 2.4 million, and the pupil-teacher ratio fell from 25.8 to 1 to 17.3 to 1. He says that, unfortunately, during the same period of time expenditures in public schools rose from $15.6 billion to $228.9 billion. This represents an increase of202%. In addition, per-pupil spending rose from an average of $2,147 to $5,872, according to McGroarty ( 1996, pp. 14-16). McGroarty, Finn, and others believe that throwing money at the system of public education is a mistake. They feel that addressing the needs of at-risk students in our 159

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country will require different solutions. School choice proposals and charter-school legislation, in particular, has been designed to address the issues of at-risk students. Of the first eight states in which charter legislation was passed, four states made reference to at-risk students in the body of the law. California indicated that its charter schools should target low-achieving students. Missouri law made provisions for one school to target students performing above average, one school for average students, and one school for below-average students. Wisconsin's law called for schools to serve children at risk. Colorado was more specific in its requirements. Thirteen of the 50 schools allowed in the original law were to focus on at-risk students (Bierlein & Mulholland, 1993, p. 21). Students can be designated at risk for different reasons. One of the major considerations is the race or ethnicity of the child. Other at-risk factors include socioeconomic status, participation in Title I, homeless and migrant children, students speaking English as a second language, gifted and talented students, students suspended or expelled from school, and those receiving special education support. The participation in charter schools of students in these categories are addressed. Race and Ethnicity. In the Equality of Educational Opportunity report by Coleman et al. (1966), the authors report that higher minority achievement takes place in integrated schools. Data in this report have been used to substantiate that student achievement is affected by the racial composition of a school. For this reason, among others, Coleman et al. believe that it is essential to maintaining integration in our schools. As choice opportunities have become more commonplace, concerns about the continuation of desegregation efforts have been voiced by many researchers (Clune & Witte, 1990, p. 148). With this concern in mind, the ability of charter schools to promote or forestall desegregation efforts is examined. Several educators who have expressed concerns that choice programs such as a charter schools may be harmful to the desegregation efforts of past decades are Bruce 160

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Fuller, Susan Vernal, and Jonathan Kozol. Fuller (1996, p. 38) believes choice does little to break down ethnic enclaves of families and in fact may serve to resegregate schools. It can even reinforce racial separation. As examples, he reports that nearly all of the students in Milwaukee's Urban Day School are black and most of the students at the Bruce-Guadalupe Community School are Hispanic. Vernal (1998), while stating that fears about ethnocentrism ultimately may not be realized, cites the case of several schools where it appears segregation is at issue because these schools attract students in minority groups at a disproportionate rate. Academy of the Pacific Rim in Boston focuses on Asian languages and cultures. It is likely that this school attracts a majority Asian population. She further states that both the City Academy in Minnesota and the W.E.B. DuBois School in Detroit have attracted a large proportion of minority males to their schools (p. 2). Kozol ( 1993) speaks to the Massachusetts choice program in an interview in Common Cause magazine. He states that, in towns with a great number of black or Hispanic families, the only people who are using choice are white, middle-class families. In neighborhoods where parents opposed bussing efforts 20 years ago, families are putting kids on buses for up to two hours a day to flee minority children. He says further that unless white and middle-class individuals are enrolled in inner-city schools, the students will never gain equality (Kemper, 1993, p. 27). Other researchers believe that it is necessary you establish schools of choice to improve educational opportunities for minority students. In the Hudson Institute Study (Finn, et al., 1996, p. 30), the authors report that almost two-thirds of the students in charter schools represent minority groups. Bierlein's research in 1996 indicated that, in most states with charter laws, charter schools are attracting an overproportion of minority students as compared with state averages (p. 4). Early data show that charter schools are attracting high numbers of minority students across the nation (see Table 5.4). The U. S. Department of Education Report 161

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TABLE5.4 NATIONAL CHARTER ENROLLMENT BY RACE, 1995-1996 White, not of Hispanic origin Black, not of Hispanic origin Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander American Indian or Alaskan Native 51.6% 13.8% 24.8% 6.3% 3.5% (1997, p. 4) indicates that on the average, the racial composition of charter schools is most often similar to the racial composition of other schools within the state. These data were determined by "sorting charter school students into the racial classification and computing the percentage of the total enrollment in charter schools that number represents" (p. 19). In Table 5.5, the top number in each pair reflects the number of students in charter schools, the bottom number reflects the percent of students in other public schools in each state. These data are interesting to consider when examining minority inclusion in charter schools, but a word of caution is in order. First, these charter school data were collected in 1995-1996, and the national data were collected in 1993-1994, thus direct comparisons may be misleading. Monitoring these data over time might substantiate whether the higher representation of minorities in some schools and states remains consistent. Second, it is important to note that the different states included in this study have different representation of minorities in charter schools based on their state racial composition. A higher representation of some minorities in charter schools in a given state may not be due to the offerings of the charter school: rather, the representation of minorities is probably more reflective of the total racial mix. For example, a 40.3% representation of Hispanic students in charter schools in New Mexico is similar to the 162

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TABLE5.5 STATE COMPARISON OF CHARTER PERCENTAGES BY STATE, 1995-1996 Caucasian Black Hispanic Asian/ American Pacific Indian/ Alaskan Islander Native Nation (1994-1995) 51.6 13.8 24.8 6.3 3.5 California 47.5 12.0 31.6 7.9 1.0 42.2 8.7 37.0 11.2 1.8 Arizona 53.5 10.8 20.2 0.7 14.8 59.7 4.2 27.6 1.6 6.9 Michigan 47.3 43.9 2.7 1.4 4.7 78.1 17.1 2.4 1.4 l.O Colorado 82.1 4.0 11.1 1.6 1.2 74.1 5.4 17.1 2.4 1.0 Minnesota 56.9 22.5 1.5 10.2 8.9 88.7 4.2 1.7 3.5 1.9 Massachusetts 51.4 12.3 25.3 6.1 4.9 79.2 8.1 8.8 3.7 0.2 Wisconsin 81.1 12.8 4.1 0.9 1.1 84.3 9.1 2.9 2.4 1.3 New Mexico 41.3 6.4 40.3 4.8 7.2 40.6 2.3 46.0 0.9 10.2 Georgia 80.9 15.5 1.3 2.2 0.1 59.8 37.1 1.5 1.4 0.2 Hawaii 34.1 3.7 2.5 58.4 1.3 23.7 2.6 5.0 68.4 0.3 Percentages in charter schools ( 1995-1996). 163

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Hispanic composition of the state's other public schools at 46% and the 1.4 % Asian charter school population in Michigan is identical to that in its public schools. Third, it is essential to remember that, while charter schools are growing in number, the number of students in charter schools is still relatively small. In the U. S. Department of Education Report four states had five or fewer charter schools at the time of this study. Wisconsin had five charter schools New Mexico had four charter schools, Georgia had three, and Hawaii had only two charter schools when these data were collected. A total of 58,620 students were in charter schools in the ten representative states. In other public schools in the same states, the total number of students was 12,397,502 (1997, p. 20). Using these statistics, it is evident that only .0047% of these states' students are enrolled in charter schools. For this reason, an addition of or withdrawal of a few students in each racial category could change the enrollment percentages significantly. In three states, charter schools were found to have a higher percentage of minorities than did the state as a whole. In Michigan, 52.7% of the charter population was composed of children of color. Minority children in other public schools comprise 21.9% of the total school population. Minnesota enrolls 43.1% minority students in its charter schools, while the state has a minority enrollment of I 1.3%. The minority representation in Massachusetts' charter schools is 48.6%. In the public school enrollment figures, 20.8% of the students are minorities. Arizona, California, and Colorado were found to have similar minority populations to those reported in their public schools. Arizona has attracted higher percentages of Black and Native American or Alaskan Native students than its other public schools. California has higher numbers of Caucasian and black students than other public schools. Colorado's largest populations are Caucasian and Native American or Alaskan Native students. While no exclusionary practices are in evidence in any of the states in the study (p. 164

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24), it is worth noting that in both California and Colorado only one minority group is represented to a higher degree than percentages represented in other schools in each state. In California, 12% of the students in charter schools are Black and in other public schools only 8.7% of the students are Black. In Colorado, the number of American Indian or Alaskan Native children are the only minority population more highly represented in charter schools and percentage of difference is minimal; 1.2% of the charter students are American Indian or Alaskan Native and 1.0% of the other public school students fit this category. Generally, Colorado charter schools have been less successful than their counterparts in other states when it comes to attracting minority students. Some speculate that this is because the Denver Board of Education has been so conservative in approving charter schools. At the time of the 1997 Charter Schools Evaluation Study, the Denver Public Schools had only two approved, yet the majority of the minority students live in the Denver metropolitan area (Denver Public Schools Educational Excellence Report, 1998, p. 3). The data on minority attendance in charter schools indicates that a significant number of minorities are being included in many of Colorado's charter schools (see Table 5.6). Of the 24 schools included in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, ten of the schools have at least one minority population with greater than 10% representation. Hispanic students are the minority group that most often is represented in these charter schools. At Academy of Charters, 18% of the students attending are Hispanic. The Community Involved Charter School has a 10.1% Hispanic enrollment. GLOBE Charter School has a 10.8% Hispanic population as does the Community of Learners Charter School. Connect Charter School has an Hispanic enrollment of 15.6%. At the Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences, Caucasian and Hispanic student populations are similar in number. At this school, 49.9% of the students are Caucasian and 45.9% of the students are Hispanic. At Crestone Charter School, Asian 165

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TABLE5.6 MINORITY ATTENDANCE IN COLORADO CHARTER SCHOOLS Caucasian Asian Black Hispanic Native Am. Academy of Charters 77.1 1.4 2.9 18.0 0.5 Stargate Charter 88.0 9.0 0.0 3.0 0.0 Cherry Creek Academy 94.1 2.3 1.3 2.3 0.0 Community Prep 54.7 1.7 18.8 24.8 0.0 GLOBE Charter 82.0 0.9 6.3 10.8 0.0 Cheyenne Mountain 88.2 0.3 3.0 8.4 0.0 Clayton Charter School 9.0 4.0 75.0 12.0 0.0 P.S. 1 59.4 1.6 14.8 19.5 4.7 Academy Charter School 94.0 2.7 0.0 2.1 1.2 Core Know ledge Charter 95.5 2.0 0.4 0.0 0.0 Renaissance Charter 88.2 3.5 2.4 4.5 1.4 Community of Learners 87.4 0.9 0.9 10.8 0.0 EXCEL School 88.0 0.0 1.5 8.3 2.3 Eagle County Charter 91.8 0.0 0.0 8.2 0.0 Marble Charter School 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 Community Involved 87.8 0.3 0.3 10.1 1.5 Excel Academy 96.1 1.5 0.8 0.8 0.8 Jefferson Academy 92.9 2.1 1.1 3.6 0.4 SciTech Academy 94.1 0.7 2.2 1.5 1.5 Crestone Charter 71.1 21.1 2.6 5.3 0.0 Battle Rock Charter 84.0 8.0 0.0 0.0 8.0 Pueblo Arts-Sciences 49.9 0.0 2.0 45.9 2.3 Connect Charter 82.8 1.6 0.0 15.6 0.0 Aspen Community 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 166

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students are the minority group with the highest enrollment. At Crestone, 21.I% of the schools' population are of Asian descent. Three of the charter schools that were evaluated in 1997 have more than I 0% of two minority groups in attendance. Community Prep Charter enrolled I8.8% black students and 24.8% Hispanic students. P.S. I enrolled 14.8% black students and 19.5% Hispanic students. Clayton Charter School had the largest representation of minority students of any of the schools represented in this study. The school was so rich in minority students that only 9% of the students enrolled at the Clayton Chmter School were Caucasian. Hispanic students represent I2% of the population and 75% of the students were black. In some schools, minority populations were not represented. Native Americans or Alaskan Natives were not enrolled in I3 of the charter schools. This number is not surprising given that only I% of Colorado's student population are Native Americans or Alaskan Natives. Five of the charter schools report no Asian or Pacific Islanders. Again, the number of Asians in charters parallels the state statistics with 2.4% Asian students in Colorado's schools. Statistics that were surprising were the number of schools reporting no Hispanic or black students in attendance at their charter school. While in Colorado schools, the Hispanic population is at I7 .I%, four of the Colorado charter schools report 0% Hispanic participation. In Colorado's other public schools, black students comprise 5.4% of the student population. Yet in Colorado's charter schools, no black students attend seven of the 24 schools evaluated. Lack of minority attendance in these schools is of concern. In only five of the charter schools were all four minority groups identified in attendance (see Table 5.6). These schools and their total minority representation include P.S. 1 (40.6%) with the greatest percentage of minorities of the five, the 167

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Community involved Charter (12.2%), the Renaissance Charter (11.8%), the Sci-Tech Academy (5.9%) and Excel Academy (3.9%). Only six of the 24 charters had greater than 20% minority students. From fewest to greatest minority populations were Academy of Charters (22.9% ), Crestone Charter (28.9%), P.S. 1 (40.6%), Community Prep (45.3%), Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences (50.1 %), and Clayton Charter School, with an amazing 91% minority enrollment. From these data, it is clear that only 25% of the evaluated schools had a minority population greater than 20%. In fact, two of schools in the study had no minority students at all. This information is shown in a somewhat different light in Table 5.7. Using information on district enrollment from the Colorado Department of Education Network and information from the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study a comparison of Caucasian enrollment in charter schools and their supporting districts has been created. In addition, more detailed information on the ethnic composition of each district can be found in Chapter 4. Nineteen of the charter schools listed had a higher percentage of Caucasian students than did the districts in which they are housed. Several schools had a population that had a 20% or greater Caucasian population than the district. The greatest discrepancy between a charter school and the sponsoring district was found in Denver's P.S. 1 Charter School. In Denver Public School District only 25.3% of the students are Caucasian. Yet at P.S. 1, the Caucasian students comprise 59.4% of the school's enrollment. Therefore, a 34.1% minority difference was found to exist. Eagle County Charter School has a greater Caucasian population than does its sponsoring district. The charter school reported 21.1% more Caucasian students than did Eagle County School District. The district's Caucasian enrollment is 70.7% while the charter school's Caucasian enrollment is 91.8%. 168

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TABLE5.7 CAUCASIAN ATIENDANCE RATES IN COLORADO CHARTER SCHOOLS School District Academy of Charters 77.I% Adams I2 74.2% Stargate Charter 88.0% Adams 12 74.2% Cherry Creek Academy 94.I% Cherry Creek 81.5% Community Prep 54.7% Colorado Spr. II 73.I% GLOBE Charter 82.0% Colorado Spr. II 73.1% Cheyenne Mountain 88.2% Cheyenne Mt. 89.4% Clayton Charter School 9.0% Englewood 78.3% P.S. I 59.4% Denver 25.3% Academy Charter School 94.0% Douglas Cty. 92.2% Core Knowledge Charter 95.5% Douglas Cty. 92.2% Renaissance Charter 88.2% Douglas Cty. 92.2% Community of Learners 87.4% Durango 85.0% EXCEL School 88.0% Durango 85.0% Eagle County Charter 91.8% Eagle Cty. 70.7% Marble Charter School IOO.O% Gunnison 95.2% Community Involved 87.8% Jefferson Cty. 85.2% Excel Academy 96.I% Jefferson Cty. 85.2% Jefferson Academy 92.9% Jefferson Cty. 85.2% SciTech Academy 94.1% Littleton 90.6% Crestone Charter 7l.I% Moffat 80.4% Battle Rock Charter 84.0% Montezuma/Cortez 66.5% Pueblo Arts-Sciences 49.9% Pueblo 60 43.3% Connect Charter 82.8% Pueblo 70 74.9% Aspen Community 100.0% Summit Cty. 92.8% I69

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Four districts had between 10% and 20% differences between the averages of the district and its charter school. Battle Rock Charter School enrolls significantly more Caucasian students than does the Montezuma/Cortez School District. The district has a Caucasian population of 66.5% and 84% of the charter school's population is Caucasian, a difference of 17.5%. The Caucasian enrollment of Stargate Charter School (88.0%) and Adams 12 School District (74.2%) is discrepant by I3.2% and at Cherry Creek Academy (94. I%) and Cherry Creek School District (81.5%) the difference is 12.6%. Excel Academy had slightly over IO% difference between the charter school and the district. Jefferson County School District's Caucasian population includes 85.2% of the students while the Excel Academy's demographics include 96.1% Caucasian students, a difference of I 0.9%. Sixteen of the charter schools fell within a range of 10% more or 10% fewer Caucasian students than the sponsoring districts. Thirteen of the charter schools had a greater percentage of Caucasian students than did the partner district. Three schools had a Caucasian population between 1% and I 0% smaller than their respective districts. These schools were Cheyenne Mountain School with 88.2% Caucasian students and Cheyenne Mountain School District with a Caucasian population of 89.4%, a difference of 1.2%. Crestone Charter School had 9.3% fewer Caucasian students than did Moffat County School District. The charter school enrolled 71.1% Caucasian students and the district enrolled 80.4% Caucasian students. The Caucasian population differences between Douglas County School District (92.2%) and Renaissance Charter School (82.2%) was exactly 10%. Two schools had a difference of more than 10% between the Caucasian population at the charter school and the school district. One school with a significant difference between the sponsoring district and itself was the Clayton Charter School. This school enrolled only 9% Caucasian students as compared with its host district, Denver Public Schools, with a 25.3%% Caucasian clientele. In 1996-1997, this charter school 170

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enrolled 16.3% more minorities than did the local school district. Unfortunately, Clayton Charter School, one of the most racially diverse charter schools in the state closed its doors in June 1997. In Colorado Springs District 11, 73.1% of the students enrolled are Caucasian. At the Community Prep Charter School only 54.7% of the students fall in this category. An 18.4% difference between the school and the district exists. While no evidence suggests that discriminatory practices in student enrollment procedures in Colorado's charter schools exist, an unanticipated outcome of efforts to design charter schools is that most failed to enroll higher percentages of minority students than did their public school counterparts. Why this is the case in Colorado and not in other states with charter legislation is not clear. Colorado charter law requires schools to adopt an enrollment plan similar to enrollment systems in place in other states. All but one of the schools have an open-lottery system to determine enrollment status. Stargate Charter School, a school for gifted and talented students, has an enrollment examination to assist in validating student potential. Colorado charter schools are located in communities that have different minority profiles, and in some cases, transportation is provided. As more and more charter schools are approved, observation of the schools' effectiveness in attracting minority students would be well advised. Certainly, given the small number of students in charter schools, duplicating district enrollment statistics may not be possible. However, if the discrepancy between sponsoring districts and charter schools widen with reference to minority attendance then use of such measures as implementing attendance incentives, ensuring adequate transportation options are available for all students, or enforcing of minority quota fulfillment practices may be in order. At-Risk Factors. Certainly, minority status does not automatically place one at risk, nor are minority students the only students at risk in our schools. At risk can mean 171

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many things to different people and different schools. As a part of the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, charter school directors were asked to define at-risk students. Definitions were quite varied in nature and included students working below or above grade level, students who were unsuccessful in other schools, and to some directors, all students. One school does not use the term "at risk" for any of its students preferring that all students be given equal footing (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 115). Students identified in both Clayton Foundation reports list special education students and students on free or reduced lunch as students greatly at risk (see Table 4.6, p. 106). Students who qualify for special education services will be addressed in the next section. Students in free or reduced lunch programs are examined in conjunction with Title I students in the following section. Special Education Students. Based on federal regulations, each state must plan in place to ensure that all children with disabilities have a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Each state plan must include policies and and procedures the state will undertake to make sure that FAPE is available for all children with disabilities aged three through twenty-one (Educational Law Network, 1998, p. 1). States have numerous regulations that are used to ensure that the needs of its disabled children are met. Among these regulations are that all children with disabilities must be identified, located, and evaluated. Students must be placed in the environment that is least restrictive. Records of information on specific students must remain confidential. A public agency in each state is responsible for maintaining records on identified students including a copy of each child's individualized educational plan (IEP). This includes children in private and public school settings. Qualified personnel must be hired to provide instruction. Programs and individual student's progress toward meeting goals must be documented annually. Critics of charter legislation maintain that charter schools fail to serve disabled 172

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students effectively through refusing to enroll disabled students or through failure to meet the needs of disabled students. This allegation has marshaled political clout of special education in an effort to slow or halt the movement (Finn et al., 1996, p. 55). In some ways this charge has been rewarded. Special education laws and regulations are often exempt from waivers. This is the domain in which charter schools have the least flexibility and freedom. In one school, modifications in the way special education students' needs are being met are through student service agreements. This agreement takes the place of a traditional IEP and allows the school to contract for special education services rather than have a special educator or educators on staff. Programs of this nature offer families an alternative to the special education programs offered in most schools. Of interest is that in many states by law charters must adhere to traditional special education practices, yet what attracts parents of many disabled students to charter schools is the ability of the charter to offer something different to their child (p. 55). In Colorado, students with disabilities must be able to attend charter schools, if they desire. Charter schools are then required to implement the provisions in IDEA according to the law. On an average, 10% of the state's students qualify for special education support. In 1995-1996, 10.5% of the state's students qualified for services. That number dropped slightly in 1996-1997 when 9.85% of the students qualified. In a state with approximately 675,000 students, roughly 67,500 students are served in special education programs. In charter schools, the number of special education students served is smaller. In 1995-1996, in the 24 charter schools reviewed, the total charter enrollment was 4,245 students. Of those students, 6.15% of the charter school students (261) received special education support. In 1996-1997, the total charter school enrollment had increased to 7,016. Within this population, 6.18% or 434 of the charter students were enrolled in special education programs (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. ii). 173

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From the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, a profile of charter schools' special education enrollment and that of the sponsoring districts was created (p. 16). These data show that seven charter schools had populations of special education students that were higher than that of the districts in which the schools reside (see Table 5.8). The school with the highest percentage of special education students also had the greatest percent of discrepancy between the school and the district. Community of Learners reported 18.9% of its students were receiving special education services. The Durango School District indicated that 8.7% of its students are in special education, a difference of+ 10.2%. Community Involved Charter School and Community Prep reported more than 14% of their students receive special education support. Community Involved Charter served 14.6% of its students in special education programs as compared with 8.5% in Jefferson County. Community Prep indicated that 14.5% of its students were served in special education. Colorado Springs District 11 provided special education services for 9.4% of its students the same year. Other schools that served special education students at a higher rate than 10% were Clayton Charter School (13%), Marble Charter School (13%), Academy Charter School (11.7%), and Sci-Tech Academy (11 %). Of the districts sponsoring these schools, only Denver Public Schools (home to Clayton Academy) had more than 10% of its students in special education programs. A difference in percentages of +2% to +3% existed between the other charter schools and their respective districts. Eleven schools had statistically lower percentages (3% or greater) of special education students than did the sponsoring districts. Three of the schools where the greatest discrepancies existed reported no special education students in their evaluation reports. While no special education students attending Battle Rock Charter School it is located in a district that reports 10.4% of its students receive special education support. Eagle County Charter has no special education students, while Eagle County School 174

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TABLE5.8 SPECIAL EDUCATION COMPARISONS Charter School District Academy of Charters 4.3% 10.8% Stargate Charter 4.0% 10.8% Cherry Creek Academy 7.9% 9.6% Community Prep 14.5% 9.4% GLOBE Charter 9.0% 9.4% Cheyenne Mountain 2.4% 5.7% Clayton Charter School 13.0% 10.9% P.S. 1 3.9% 10.9% Academy Charter School 11.7% 8.8% Core Knowledge Charter 4.9% 8.8% Renaissance Charter 6.2% 8.8% Community of Learners 18.9% 8.7% EXCEL School 6.8% 8.7% Eagle County Charter 0.0% 7.8% Marble Charter School 13.0% 8.1% Community Involved 14.6% 8.5% Excel Academy 6.3% 8.5% 1 efferson Academy 6.0% 8.5% Sci-Tech Academy 11.0% 8.5% Crestone Charter 0.0% 3.9% Battle Rock Charter 0.0% 10.4% Pueblo Arts-Sciences 2.8% 8.6% Connect Charter 1.6% 7.3% Aspen Community 0.0% 7.5% 175

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District serves a special education population of 7.8%. Aspen Community Charter School in Roaring Fork School District provides services to no special education students in a district that has programs for 7.5% of its students. Five schools had 5% to 7% percent fewer special education students than did their adoptive districts. P.S. 1 had 3.9% of its students qualify for support in a district that averages 10.9% special education students. Stargate Charter had only 4% and Academy of Charters had on 4.3% of its students in special education in Adams Twelve Five Star District with an average of 10.8% of its students being served. Pueblo Atts and Sciences Charter had 5.8% fewer students in special education than did its sponsoring district. Connect Charter School had a similar discrepancy of 5.7% between the school and Pueblo School District 70. Crestone Charter School, Cheyenne Mountain Charter School, and Core Knowledge Charter had between 3% and 4% fewer special education students than the districts that had approved their charters, while Renaissance Charter School, Excel Academy, and Jefferson Academy had between 2% and 3% fewer students than their sponsoring districts. Only three charter schools fell within a+ or2.0% of their respective districts. Colorado charter legislation specifically targeted at-risk students when the law was written. A large percentage of at-risk students are those in special education programs. Across the state, an average of 9.85% of the state's children receive special education support. In the schools evaluated in 1996-1997, the average percent of charter students in special education programs was 6.8%. It is clear that Colorado charter schools serve a lower of percentage of students with disabilities than do other public schools. Yet, why this is the case is not as easy to discern. Evaluators could find no evidence that discriminatory enrollment practices had been used in any of the schools. It is of concern that four of the charter schools offer no special education services. If no special education services are offered because no students that qualify for services 176

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enrolled that is one matter. If however, the charter applicants made it known that no special education services would be provided, enrollment discrimination has, perhaps unknowingly, been put into effect. The characteristics of special education students were not contained in the Clayton Foundation report. For this reason, it is not possible to determine whether the variety of programs offered in other public schools are also afforded in charter schools. Because different disabilities require different facility needs, amounts of time for service, specialized training for instructors, and materials, a way to assess whether charter schools are able to adequately meet the special education demands that might befall them does not exist. In school districts or through Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, special education services can be provided in a more efficient manner than what they could be in a solitary school. For example, if in one charter school two students have severe physical handicaps--one student is hearing impaired, one student is visually impairedtwo students have emotional or behavioral difficulties, and six students have learning disabilities, a total of twelve students would require special programs. To address those needs most effectively, teachers with specialized training in five different areas would be needed. In all likelihood, these teachers would be hired for only one hour or two hours each day. Finding highly qualified personnel willing to work so few hours daily or to spread them out in several locations might prove difficult and would certainly be costly. In a district, programs for learning disabled students are housed in the majority of schools, but programs for hearing impaired, visually impaired, and emotionally disturbed students often pull from schools across a district, consolidating costs and services. Unless a cooperative relationship and/or the ability for the charter school to contract for special education services exists between the special education department of a school district and its charter school, the ineffectiveness of economy-of-scale 177

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issues would most certainly prove challenging. Perhaps of greater concern is that the potential for less effective services exists as a result, an outcome very few people can tolerate. Programs are quite varied and include those for students with learning disabilities, hearing impairments, speech and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, occupational therapy needs, physical handicaps, and mental impairments. Schools and school districts offer programs in which trained personnel work to meet the needs of the students. Under most circumstances, programs for students other than those with learning disabilities are district-wide programs and students are transported to the location where the program is housed. Special Populations. Categories assigned in the Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study (1997, p. ii) as populations at risk are students in Title I, (ESL) English as a second language, homeless, migrant, suspended, or expelled students. Gifted and talented students have fallen under the umbreUa of students at risk as we11 (see Table 4.7, p. 112). Unfortunately, data for students in most of these categories was not available in the evaluation study published in 1998. Despite that, latent outcomes for each of the listed categories have been identified. Free or Reduced Lunch. Free or reduced lunch data are often used as evidence of student need. Based on parental income and the number of people living in a home, it is one factor used to determine whether students are impoverished or not. The designation of impoverished is not an end in itself. However, this designation is one that is helpful when additional federal funding is provided to a district. This funding is used to provide Title I services in many districts (see Table 5.9). Title I. Title I is a program that has been established by the Federal Government for underprivileged children. Participation in Title I is based on the total percentage of students in the district that are determined to be impoverished. Most often districts used the number of students eligible for free or reduced lunch as the criterion for making that 178

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TABLE5.9 FREE OR REDUCED LUNCH COMPARISONS Charter School District Academy of Charters 15.7% 15.0% Stargate Charter 0.0% 15.0% Cherry Creek Academy 0.0% 4.7% Community Prep 29.9% 24.6% GLOBE Charter 10.8% 24.6% Cheyenne Mountain 12.2% 3.6% Clayton Charter School 68.0% 53.4% P.S. 1 22.7% 53.4% Academy Charter School 3.9% 1.8% Core Know ledge Charter 1.6% 1.8% Renaissance Charter 0.0% 1.8% Community of Learners 7.2% 13.6% EXCEL School 2.3% 13.6% Eagle County Charter 0.0% 14.0% Marble Charter School 0.0% 6.6% Community Involved 15.2% 9.8% Excel Academy 2.3% 9.8% Jefferson Academy 3.6% 9.8% Sci-Tech Academy 0.0% 9.8% Crestone Charter 26.3% 38.3% Battle Rock Charter 0.0% 34.3% Pueblo Arts-Sciences 33.3% 41.0% Connect Charter 0.0% 19.3% Aspen Community 0.0% 10.4% 179

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distinction. In 1996, a family of four with an annual income of $20,080 or less qualified for the free and reduced lunch program (p. 14). In a conversation with a Title I specialist at the Colorado Department of Education, it became clear that other information may be used by a district to determine the socioeconomic status of families in their attendance area. School districts may choose to use the number of families on Medicaid, receiving T ANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the equivalent of AFDC), or U. S. Census data in place of free or reduced lunch figures. Districts must use the same data source for all schools and are not able to mix and match student-identification criteria. Once percentages of impoverished students in each building in a district (including its charter schools) have been determined, district personnel order the schools and determine the district poverty average. Any school with the same average or exceeding the district average qualifies for Title I support. Districts are required to serve identified schools unless a waiver is approved. In schools receiving Title I support, specialized educational programs are often put into place. Title I staff members generally provide different instructional support to targeted students in core subjects such as reading or mathematics. In Title I schools where more than 50% of the students are socioeconomically disadvantaged, participation in a school-wide program is possible. The entire student population is then eligible for services (personal communication, Iris Hogue, July 29, 1998). In Colorado, 0.3% of the students in charter schools participate in Title I programs. Across the state, 7.9% of the students in other public schools participate (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). By the time the second evaluation was conducted, a comparison of the charter school and district percentages of students on free and reduced lunch was made (1998, p. 16). Seven schools in the study (using+ or-2 percentage points) had equal to or greater than the percentage of free or reduced lunch students as the sponsoring district. 180

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Of these seven schools, both Community Prep Charter School (+5.3%) and Community Involved Charter School (+5.4%) had roughly 5% more students on free or reduced lunch than the districts in which they are housed. Cheyenne Mountain had 8.5% more students on free and reduced lunch. Prior to its closure in June 1997, at Clayton Charter School 68% of the students were on free or reduced lunch while the district had an average of 53.4% of its students on free and reduced lunch, a difference of 14.6%. Conversely, several charters reported no students or few students on free or reduced lunch in districts with substantial numbers of students in the federal school lunch program. Ten charter schools had a student population with at least 10% more students on free or reduced lunch being served by the district. These schools ranged from Sci Tech Academy with the district average at 9.8% to the school serving 0%. A significant difference of 30.7% fewer students at P.S. 1 are on free or reduced lunch than are served by district average. It is possible that in some charter schools the lack of a kitchen at the school or the school's inability to bring the kitchen up to code prevent the school from serving lunch. If this is the case, a free or reduced lunch program may not be offered. Perhaps the schools reporting 0% in the free or reduced program are in such circumstances. While this may seem a small dilemma, if the district has elected to use free or reduced lunch figures to determine which schools will have Title I support some of the charter schools may be eliminated from participation. In that case, some students who would receive Title I support in another public school may miss this service opportunity, a condition that may not have been anticipated. ESL. Students that speak a language other than English in the home may qualify for (ESL) English as a Second Language support. In the Charter Schools Evaluation Study (1997), the percentages of students in Colorado and the percentages of Colorado's charter school students receiving ESL support were listed (see Table 4.7, p. 181

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112). Colorado does not have a large population of ESL students. At the time of the study, 3.3% of the state's students qualified for services. This equates to 22,677 students across the state. At the same time, Colorado charter schools reported that 0.1% or seven of the charter school students receive ESL support. With such small numbers, the reporting of schools of attendance for these students would constitute discriminatory practice. Therefore, the data provided do not reveal whether all seven students attend one school or even one district. If all of these students attend one charter school, ESL instruction may be more fiscally manageable. If the seven students attend seven different charter schools in up to seven separate districts, economy of scale problems or greater costs may be inherent. Itinerant staff members working for a short period of time in a charter school may be required to travel to multiple sites to provide ESL services. When this occurs, valuable instructional time is taken up in travel. In addition, instructional effectiveness might be lost if one instructor is working with only one student in a situations where more than one student could be served as effectively. Charter schools often rely heavily on advertising to share the unique features of the school. This advertising may be done in newspapers, in pamphlet form, or in public presentations. Under most circumstances written information and presentations would be available in English only. When no second language information is provided, those who do not speak English may not learn of the educational opportunities afforded through charter schools. As a consequence, a smaller percentage of ESL students in charter schools might occur. An increase in the number of ESL students and minority students in homes where another language is spoken by the parents is likely to occur if multiple-language information is at hand. Homeless and Migrant Students. Colorado's student population includes children considered homeless. Some of the children live in shelters, on the streets, in abandoned buildings, with relatives, in foster homes, or in vehicles. Yet, the law is 182

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clear that these children do not give up educational rights simply because they are homeless. The McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, as amended 42 U.S.C. 1143111435, was passed to ensure that homeless children have access to a free and appropriate education that is the same as the one provided to other children. The purpose of the law is to remove barriers and facilitate enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children. Homeless children may not be discriminated against or isolated. They are to be provided services comparable to those of other children. Services including transportation and federal breakfast and lunch opportunities are to be made available to homeless children. In addition, programs such as compensatory educational programs for disadvantaged youth, programs for handicapped students, ESL programs, gifted and talented programs, and vocational programs are to be offered. During the 1995-1996 school year, 3,298 Colorado students were considered homeless. Homeless children come from various living conditions. Homeless students include children in foster care, those living in multi-family settings, and students living in shelters or hotels. While only .48% of the Colorado population were homeless at that time, it is a substantial number of children with needs different than those of the general population. Unfortunately, the number of homeless children enrolled in charter schools during the same period was two or .03% of the charter school population (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). Migrant students represent approximately 1% or about 597,000 of the nation's students. In recognition of the needs of these children, Congress authorized the federal Migrant Education Program (MEP) as an amendment to Title I in 1996. Most of the students served are elementary-aged children. Over half of the students have not moved for one to five years. Most of the migrant children in the country are predominantly located in five states including Aorida, Texas, California, Michigan, and Washington. Through MEP programs, issues such as transience, poverty, and 183

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language barriers that characterize the lives of migrant workers are addressed (Federal Register, 1996, p. 2). Migrant children have specialized educational needs. Large numbers of these children speak English as a second language. As a result, they often fall behind in school particularly in the areas of language arts. Although migrant children are often eligible for inclusion in other compensatory programs, participation is often limited. While 80% of the nation's students qualified for Title I, only 24% of the students served by MEP received basic program services. Summer services are extremely important to many migrant children. They assist children in filling in learning gaps caused by moving during the regular school year, allow secondary students to accrue credits toward graduation, and serve as a link between regular school terms (p. 2). Colorado does not have an extremely large migrant population. Of the state's public school-aged children, only .48% are considered to be migrant students. Still, in 19951996 school year, this percentage equated to 3,298 children. During the same period of time, .04% or three of the students in charter schools were from migrant families (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). Why so few homeless and migrant children attend charter schools is unknown. Perhaps parents of homeless and migrant children are preoccupied with other issues and addressing school-choice opportunities is not a priority. Perhaps, the lack of free or reduced lunch programs dissuades parents of homeless and migrant children from attending charter schools. Perhaps the lack of transportation to charter schools in some communities is a deterrent. Perhaps the absence of summer programs or sessions make charter schools less appealing to children who need time to catch up. Perhaps homeless and migrant families are living in areas where charter schools have not yet been established. Perhaps financial compensation to schools enrolling at-risk children with these needs does not offset the costs of educating these children. If charter schools are to become inviting and accessible to homeless and migrant 184

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students, the barriers that prevent these children from participating in charter schools should be determined. Then, measures should be taken to eradicate problems within the control of the charter school or school district. Gifted and Talented Students. Most students of the same age group share similar cognitive and social-emotional behaviors and needs. This is true of students who fall outside the arena of "normal" performance. Students who are significantly different from their age mates on either side of the norm are referred to as exceptional children. In many states, these students include those in special education programs and gifted and talented students. In the Colorado Department of Education State Gifted and Talented Student Education Guidelines, gifted children are identified as individuals between five and twenty-one whose abilities, talents, and learning potential are so far outside the realm of what is offered in regular classrooms that special provisions for their educational program are necessary (Colorado Department of Education, 1995, p. 1 ). These children may exhibit superiority in one or a combination of these categories; general intellectual ability, specific aptitude in an academic area, creative thinking, leadership and human relations skills, visual and performing arts, and psychomotor abilities (p. 2). According to these guidelines, gifted and talented students are rarely in a position in which they can "make it on their own" in society. In schools, gifted and talented students require the support and encouragement of parents, school personnel, and the community if they are to reach their full potential. When students lack the recognition and support of those closest to them, they risk failing to fully develop attributes and abilities to flourish educationally. They may then become at-risk students who underachieve in school and even following graduation. It is, therefore, the obligation of the school system and parents to work together to provide appropriate educational opportunities that will allow each gifted and talented student to develop to his/her potential (p. 1). Districts and schools are charged with the responsibility of providing information on 185

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the identification process to parents and students for whom gifted and talented services are appropriate. Identification data may come from a variety of sources including performance, behavioral characteristics, aptitude-test results, and information from sources outside the school district. Efforts must be made to identify students from a wide variety of backgrounds and conditions. Students who have disabilities, who are economically disadvantaged, qualify for ESL services, are culturally diverse, or are underachieving may not be excluded from services. Students should be identified as early as possible and a plan to meet the specific educational needs of each child should be developed (p. 2). Needs of some high school students in eleventh and twelfth grade are met when students attend colleges in or near their communities to take courses that are not offered at local high schools. The opportunity for students to do so was made possible with the adoption of the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act (C.R.S. 22-35-101 et seq.), adopted in 1989 and last amended in June, 1992. Based on this act, many students are able to earn both high school and college credit for course work successfully completed while they are still in high school. Local school districts are required to pay for the high school students' college or university tuition for up to two courses per academic term (p. 5). Gifted and talented students may be able to avail themselves of other academic opportunities by changing schools within a district or changing schools districts. These options have been made possible through the adoption of inter district and intra district school choice policies. Charter school legislation has given some families additional latitude to choose a charter school with a different emphasis on curriculum or instruction, one they believe to be more challenging to their children. At least one charter school has been designed as a school of the gifted. During the 1995-1996 school year, 5.4% of the students in charter schools throughout the state had been identified as gifted and talented. In other public schools, 7.5% of the students had been 186

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assigned this designation (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). While the percentage of gifted and talented students is more closely aligned with the percentage in other public schools than in any other at-risk category, the charter school percentage is not higher than that of other public schools. Perhaps one of the most controversial charges made about charter schools is that they promote increased elitism in our schools. Schools that attract the best and brightest students do increase the likelihood of a caste system. What may be overlooked by critics is that enrollment inequities have existed in public education for many years. When parents select a neighborhood in which to reside, they often choose to live in a neighborhood where people of similar socioeconomic status and educational backgrounds live. In this situation, children with stronger academic skills may cluster in one or a few neighborhood schools within a district. Neighborhood schools are not socioeconomically or academically balanced. Nationally, the charge that charter schools are "creaming" off the best students has not been realized. According to the Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study (1997), the percentage of gifted and talented students in charter schools was reported as 5.4% as compared with a state average of7.5% (see Table 4.7, p. 112). The gifted and talented population in charter schools the first year of the evaluation study was 229 students. These students were distributed throughout the 14 charter schools included in the study. One charter school was identified as a school for gifted and talented students. Stargate Charter School in Adams Twelve Five Star District is a charter school for students in first through seventh grade. It opened in Fall 1994 with a population of 175 students. If all of Stargate's students were included in the gifted and talented percentages, a balance of 54 gifted and talented students were interspersed among the other 13 charter schools. Unfortunately, the percentage of gifted and talented students in individual schools was not reported and it is not possible to determine if the students 187

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actually attended all of the schools or whether some schools were more successful in attracting gifted and talented students than were others. What is clear is that very few students identified as gifted and talented attended schools other than Stargate. By the following year, percentages of gifted and talented students in charter schools were not included in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study. Having data on gifted and talented students from the Stargate Charter School, several conclusions can be drawn. At Stargate, the enrollment of 200 children in 1996-1997 from a total charter school population of7,016 students would indicate that Stargate's gifted and talented students made up 2.9% of the charter school population. The preceding year, 4.1% of the of the state's charter students attended Stargate. The school's growth is not commensurate with the growth of the charter school population. If other charter schools have not increased their percentages of gifted and talented students, the number of gifted and talented students being served in Colorado's charter schools may have dropped by the end of the 1996-1997 school year. If this is the case, failure of charter schools to attract gifted students may further warrant examination. A comparison of Stargate Charter School's minority enrollment with that of the Adams Twelve Five Star School District is worthy of note (see Table 5.1 0). During the two years reported, Stargate Charter School enrolled fewer minority students than did its sponsoring district. In 1995-1996, Adams Twelve Five Star District had a minority enrollment of 23.9%. Stargate Charter School enrolled less than half of that percentage with 11.3%. An ethnic breakdown was not available for 1995-1996 so a comparison of Stargate students by minority group with those in the district was not possible. Free or reduced lunch program students made up 3% of Stargate's students the first year evaluated as compared with 16.85% of the district's students. Data on the percentage of Stargate's students in special education programs was not available in 1995-1996 (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. 30). In 1996-1997, the majority of Stargate's students were Caucasian students (see page 188

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TABLE 5.10 ST ARGATE' S MINORITY POPULATION 1995-1996 Caucasian Asian Black Hispanic Total minority Free Lunch Special Ed. 1996-1997 Caucasian Asian Black Hispanic Total minority Free lunch Special Ed. Stargate Charter 88.7% 3.6% 0.0% 7.7% 11.3% 3.0% Not available 88.0% 9.0% 0.0% 3.0% 12.0% 0.0% 4.0% 189 Adams Twelve 76.1% Not available Not available Not available 23.9% 16.8% 11.9% 74.2% 3.7% 3.3% 18.9% 25.8% 15.0% 10.8%

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111). While the district reported 74.2% Caucasian students, Stargate reported 88.0% of students in this population. Hispanic students are reported as the highest minority population in Adams Twelve Five Star District. The district enrolls 18.9% Hispanic students as compared with 3.0% Hispanic students at Stargate Charter School. Asian students enrolled in Stargate Charter School at a substantially higher rate than represents the district as a whole. At Stargate, 9.0% of the students were Asian while on 3.7% of the district's students were Asian. Stargate enrolled no black students either year, yet in 1996-1997, the district had a black enrollment of 3.3%. Stargate had no students in the free or reduced lunch program during their second evaluation year. Yet, the district had 15% of its students in this program. In a district with 10.8% of its students in special education programs, only 4.0% of the students at Stargate received special education support (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 40). An outcome that perhaps was unintended is that the minority representation in Stargate Charter School in all areas, with the exception of Asian enrollment figures, is much lower than the district's representation. Hispanic students are greatly under represented given the district's numbers. With the use of a placement test as a criteria for enrollment, an evaluation of the test for minority bias might be in order. If the school is to more closely mirror the population of the district, practices used to inform the public about the charter school may require modifications designed to increase minority appeal. Increase in Involvement In their treatise, Charter Schools in Action, Finn et al. ( 1996, p. 25) quotes from a 1995 report prepared by the Public Agenda Foundation that describes the support for America's public schools as "fragile ... porous ... and ... soft." Nearly 60% of the parents contacted said that they would send their children to private schools if they could afford to do so. These parents are described as parents "poised for flight" from 190

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the public education system unless schools become more responsive to the demands placed upon them. Parents are concerned with safety, higher standards, order, and smaller class sizes. Parental involvement has also been identified as a component of schools that is important to their effectiveness, whether they be neighborhood schools or the schools to which parents choose to send their children. Parents have considerable ability to influence what goes on at a school. Those who support a school and trust school personnel to make informed decisions about best programs and practices can be an asset to a school. Parents who challenge the decisions made at a school may cause problems for the school or may force the staff to rethink their decisions. Parents are able to influence decisions through interactions with the principal and teachers. They can exert external pressure through speaking to the superintendent, central office staff, or members of the board of education. In addition, parents are able to affect the schools through their influence or lack of influence on their own children (Chubb & Moe, 1990, p. 147). Schools that are most effective include school personnel who have taken the initiative to reach out to the parents in a variety of ways. In a study on parental environments and effective schools, those schools that made frequent, high-quality contacts with parents in multiple ways were generally seen to be more effective. Methods of contacting the parents included initiating an above-average number of interactions with parents, holding parent meetings on a variety of topics, holding parent-teacher conferences, welcoming parents to school to visit classrooms, sending a newsletter at least once each semester, notifying parents of absences in excess of two or three days, and informing parents if their child's grades begin to fall (p. 149). A publication of the National PTA on parent and family involvement states that, parent involvement is more than attending a meeting at the school. The authors see parents having a threefold responsibility including serving as the first educators of their 191

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children at home, truly partnering with the personnel of the school, and advocating for all children in our society (National Parent Teacher Association, 1996, p. 1). In this same publication, the benefits of parent and family involvement are outlined for students, schools, and parents and communities. Students benefit from parental involvement because they often perform better than students in programs where less parental involvement has occurred. Children with parents involved at school and who receive assistance from parents at home, out score children of similar aptitude whose parents are not involved. In schools where children have been failing dramatically, performance improves dramatically when parents are called upon to help. Areas of improvement noted in schools with high levels of parental involvement are increased achievement scores, better attitudes and motivation, fewer behavioral problems, the rate of suspensions decreases, improved attendance rates, and higher self-concept (p. 3). Schools benefit when they are able to use involved parents as a cost-effective means to increase students' achievement. Involved parents are often able to serve as tutors or coaches for individuals or small groups of children needing additional support or encouragement. Parents are able to provide assistance in instructional or clerical capacities which may free the teacher up to concentrate on the needs of some students. Parents are able to serve on committees and site-based management teams bringing a different perspective to the discussions and often promoting school change. Staff morale improves when more parental participation at school occurs. Improvement may include greater teaching effectiveness, increased job satisfaction, better communication between families and staff members, and a dramatic rise in community support for schools (p. 3). Parents and communities benefit because when parents become more actively involved in schools they also become more involved in community activities. Gaining a sense of having something valuable to contribute may foster an increase the self confidence of some parents. Parents and children develop skills to help them make 192

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decisions for the future. A sense of empowerment carries over into other aspects of their lives. At times, the education and skill level of parents increases, decision-making skills improve, attitude toward school personnel tends to be more positive, and support for the school is enriched (p. 3). It appears that everyone benefits from increased parental involvement in schools. This is a concept that has been capitalized upon in parent-developed charter schools. In these schools higher percentages of teachers have adopted practices that foster increased parental involvement including making personal contacts with parents, keeping parents informed about curriculum and instruction, and promoting parents and children working together at home. Nathan cites significant findings on parental involvement with respect to these practices. Using data from the 1995 study of Becker, Nakagawa, and Corwin on California charter schools, he reports that in 75% of the charter schools of the teachers regularly discuss how to involve hard-to-reach parents while in 58% of the other public schools engage in this practice. In 54% of the charter schools information explaining lessons is sent home by teachers. Only 24% of the non-charter school teachers report using this practice. In 46% of the charter schools all teachers make suggestions or provide activities for children to do at home. Only 16% of the other schools in the study make this claim. In 61% of the charter schools, 3/4 of the teachers create homework that encourages the parents and children to work together. This only happens in 37% of the regular public schools (1996, p. 152). A growing awareness about the need to increase parent involvement in public schools is evident according to Andrea DiLorenzo, Co-director of the National Education Association's Charter School Initiative. She says that teachers have started to realize that many parents do not feel sufficiently involved with schooling and charter schools have been successful in increasing parental involvement in significant ways. One factor in this success has been the ability of charter schools to require parents to 193

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participate in the school in some fashion. When this happens, parents often begin to become a part of the school community in other ways. An improved partnership exists between parents and staff. While DiLorenzo (1997, p. 1) says not enough evidence exists to show that increased parental involvement raises student achievement, she does acknowledge that attendance improves and retentions decrease with added involvement. Parent participation in classrooms and in schools up and running is very important. Yet in charter schools, the involvement of some parents begins long before the teachers are hired and the school in open. For the visionaries and organizers of the charter school, involvement begins at the inception of the charter idea. In a parent-initiated school, parents' talents and skills are called upon to write the charter application and see it through approval. Parents may also become involved with one or more endeavors such as establishing outreach efforts to promote the school, soliciting resources and securing loans, finding and/or renovating a facility, writing curriculum and evaluation plans, and governing the school. Because these efforts are made by impassioned parents, time and energy abound. Some become zealous in their commitment to the school and its principles. Their time and efforts may manifest themselves in the completion of the tasks previously outlined or they may manifest themselves in conducting the daily operations of the school. In this section, two key elements of parent involvement, volunteerism and governance, are examined. Volunteers Germinate Ideas. A successful teacher, being complimented on the quality of his instruction, was quoted as saying, "The problem with good ideas is that they inevitably degenerate into hard work." That certainly is the case with charter schools (Nathan, 1996, p. 121). Whether the charter is the brain child of educators or of those not in the field of education, charter applicants must be willing to expend a great deal of time in preparation. Often those who decide to start a school lack understanding of the tasks that must ensue. Even with the application in front of them, 194

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few realize that they will live and breathe their charter school before it becomes a reality. The demands that will be placed on their time and on their energy are often unanticipated and may cause unforeseen problems to arise. According to Sarason (1998), among the greatest problems faced by charter school applicants are that the creators almost always underestimate the complexity of starting a project of this magnitude. Frequently, the amount of time that is required to start an effective school is miscalculated and corners may be cut to complete tasks in a given time frame. If time is not taken to adequately address conceptual and interpersonal issues at the time they surface, residual effects may come back again and again. This ultimately adds time and increases the level of stress to those participating in the process (p. 121). It must be frustrating to those who wish to start a charter school that so much time must be invested in the application preparation with no guarantee that the school will be approved. In Colorado, the law outlines eleven components that must be included in the original application including a school mission statement; a list of the goals, objectives, and performance standards that will be implemented; a statement demonstrating the need for the charter school; evidence of parental support; a description of the school's educational program; a plan for pupil evaluation; a financial plan including a list of contract services and employee and student displacement recommendations; a description of the school's governance plan; an employee agreement; a liability proposal; and a description of transportation arrangements. Districts may add additional components to the application requirements (Colorado Charter Schools Act, 1993, pp. 4-5). In 1996, an additional requirement was added. Charter applicants are required to include a description of the enrollment policy of the school and any criteria for enrollment decisions (Colorado Charter Schools Act, Appendix A, 1996, p. 4). Discussion of each of the components and consensus building must occur before the 195

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written application is completed. While this may seem a simple task, parents impassioned enough to start their own school may bring strong beliefs and ideas to the table. As each element of the application is addressed, lengthy discourse may take place. Resolving disagreements between those who wish to start a charter school may be quite laborious and time consuming. When a parent believes his/her ideas are best for the children, it may be difficult to convince him otherwise. This very challenge is one that has plagued public school educators when engaged in confrontation with conflicting parental wishes. Public presentations of the charter request are required in states such as Colorado. The law requires that community meetings be held so that the board of education gains information to assist in its decision about approving or denying the application (Colorado Charter Schools Act, 1993, p. 6). If the application is denied, the applicants may decide to reapply the following yc;ar. Modifications to the application may be required and those involved in the application process may have to spend additional time making revisions. If the application is approved, volunteers will need to increase efforts toward implementation. Preparations Involving Volunteers. After jumping the first hurdle and sighing with relief following the approval of a charter school, work must begin in earnest. To accomplish the tasks necessary to open a school requires many hours of voluntary time. The examples listed are far from inclusive. The items mentioned are indicative of responsibilities shouldered by volunteers in many charter schools. It may be necessary for the charter school applicants to locate a facility if a district site is not available and often times this is the case (see Table 5.2, p. 144). If a non district site must be obtained, it may be one of the most time-consuming responsibilities for the charter volunteers to address. Those selecting a facility for a charter school must often spend hours working with realtors, contacting private foundations or businesses hoping they will donate a site, and looking at real estate in an effort to select 196

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the best location for the school. State legislative requirement related to the facility can create additional obstacles to quick resolution of this issue. Once a facility has been procured, remodeling necessary to make the building student ready often falls tp charter-school volunteers .. Adjustments may need to be made to bring the building up to code. Some of these adjustments may required contracted services. Others may fall to volunteers. In addition, cosmetic and functional modification may be required. Charter school personnel report having volunteers cleaning, putting up walls, painting, laying carpet, building shelves, installing playground equipment, building fences, and even landscaping the school. Some charter schools are responsible for obtaining their own furniture and equipment. Among the items necessary for the school to function are teacher and student desks and chairs, tables, classroom shelves, computers and computer stands, audio-visual equipment, library shelves, and coat racks. Rather than buy everything new, charter volunteers may choose to contact private schools, colleges or universities, libraries, and bookstores to buy used items or have items donated. Transporting materials and equipment to the new site often falls to volunteers. At times, cleaning and restoration of items is needed. Curriculum and assessment tools may need to be written before school starts. Supplies and materials need to be acquired. It is likely that textbooks, library materials, office supplies, and teacher supplies will need to be ordered. Due to budget limitations, donations for these items may be solicited. Library books are often a huge chmter school need. Purchasing all new library books may be cost prohibitive. Book drives and donation requests are means used to address this need. All of these endeavors take time and organization on the part of charter-school volunteers. While usually under the auspices of the governing board, hiring is another time consuming responsibility that is done by some volunteers. An administrator or headmaster is frequently selected first. As staff selection teams are formed, parent 197

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volunteers often participate. Due to the unique nature of some schools and positions, extensive personnel searches may be required. Time to review applications, conduct reference checks, and interview individuals are some of the most important charges to complete. As charter schools documented the hours of volunteerism that occurred during the first year, six of the thirteen charter schools reporting hours during 1995-1996 indicated that volunteers had spent more than 8,000 hours at their school (see Table 4.8, p. 115). While a breakdown of volunteer hours was not made, reported hours may have included activities such as the ones previously mentioned. Other hours of volunteerism most certainly were accrued when volunteers spent time in the schools performing instructional and clerical tasks. Volunteers in Charter Schools. Charter schools offer volunteers opportunities to help in the schools in much the same way as do many other public schools. Volunteers may be recruited to answer the telephones, do filing, prepare mailings, and other office or teacher clerical activities. Volunteers may perform instructional tasks like working with individual students or small groups of students, teaching special classes, or circulating in a classroom to help students with work. Lunchroom, playground, and bus duties may be provided by volunteers. Colorado charter schools have benefited greatly from the time volunteers devote to the school. Two schools, Crestone Charter School with 38 students and Excel Academy with 128 students, reported that they had had 100% family participation in some type of volunteer activity during 1996-1997. Academy of Charter Schools reported 99% participation of their families as volunteers. Their volunteer hours increased from 10,000 in 1995-1996 to 19,000 in 1996-1997. In a school with 783 students, this is a remarkable accomplishment. Four schools that reported volunteer time in percentages had greater than 90% participation. Three additional schools reported greater than 80% of their 198

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constituents volunteer. Five schools report 30% or fewer families volunteer at the schools. Of these five, Connect Charter School has only 7% participation and Connect Charter School has only 5% of their families volunteering. Neither Community Prep Charter School nor P.S. 1 have listed hours or percentages of volunteer time (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 26-27). Many charter schools in Colorado are affording families opportunities to be involved in different activities and it appears that families report that they are pleased by the level of involvement they have. Twenty-three of the charter schools in the study have administered a parental satisfaction survey on a regular basis. Each survey is developed by those involved with the governance of each charter so it is not possible to make comparisons across schools. (Without seeing the questions used to determine the responses in this report, it can only be assumed that the questions relate to parents' level of satisfaction with respect to involvement.) Only one charter school does not report parental satisfaction. That school is Connect Charter School with less than 100 hours of volunteerism reported (pp. 26-27). Using the data in this report, it is not possible to make comparisons between the charter volunteer hours and percentages and those of other public schools in the same districts. While the numbers appear high, without that information it is impossible to say that an increased level of volunteerism is occurring in charter schools. Another question that must be asked is whether the level of charter involvement is more meaningful in nature. A number of parents at each charter school do become involved in actions that go beyond the daily activities in the school. They are the ones who take part in the decisions made about curriculum, personnel, budget, and other facets of the school's operations. This is accomplished through participation on schools' governing boards. Governing Boards. Parents are often attracted to charter schools because they are able to have more decision-making authority in the day-to-day functioning of the school 199

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as well as long-range planning and visioning. Charter schools afford parents and staff members an opportunity to get beyond many of the bureaucratic conditions that plague other public schools. While this sounds wonderful in theory, parents may not foresee the potential difficulties that may result from a poorly structured governance plan. In one edition of the Charter School Bulletin, Bill Windler stated that, "if there is one issue that can bog down the efficient operation of a charter school, it is governance!" (Colorado Department of Education, 1996, p. 1). Problems may first arise when the charter school applicants begin to address critical elements of the way the school will be governed and by whom. Some charter schools have established themselves as non-profit corporations. In these schools, a self selected and self-perpetuating group establishes itself as the board of directors. The board serves as the hiring and firing authority and supervise the members of the staff. In other schools, a professional partnership exists with some combination of parents, staff members, and at times, members of the community or students serve on the board (Nathan, 1996, p. 146). Understanding both organizational models and selecting the model that is best for the school is critical and one that may take interested parents more time to resolve than they anticipate. Understanding what the state's charter school law will allow must be researched before a governance plan is developed. While most states have made it possible for the charter schools to make this decision, states such as Minnesota and Michigan have mandated some aspects of the board's membership (pp. 146-147). If the state law does not specify how charter schools will be governed, parents would be advised to find out some information about governing bodies in the public and private sectors. Bill Windler recommends that charter applicants identify successful non-profit organizations to determine what policies and procedures they have adopted and that they modify those practices to meet their needs. He further suggests that well-functioning boards keep accurate records of meetings, develop a 200

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policy book, implement policies consistently, evaluate the board's director and the board itself in writing each year, create a rotation system for members of the board, and design an effective means of informing others about the actions of the board (Colorado Department of Education, 1996, p. 1 ). In addition, information on policies and procedures available from the local board of education, boards in adjacent districts, and the state's school board association are advantageous to have in deciding what the board will and will not do. As the reference materials are reviewed, a list of key decisions about policies and procedures will need to be generated. At a minimum, before the school opens, board members should anticipate making decisions about goals, curriculum, personnel, budget, facility, faculty evaluation, student evaluation, legal representation, liability issues, insurance, accounting services, fund raising, public relations, advertising, and deciding ways to involve families (Nathan, 1996, p. 147). Before the charter school opens parents on the governing board will dedicate many hours to create and refine the best plan. After the school opens, governing board members will still find they must devote a substantial amount of time to school decision-making issues. In Charter Schools in Action: What Have We Learned?, Finn et al. (1996, p. 41) found that, despite the time and energy involved in setting up a governance process, many schools still face problems. In three of thirty-five schools in the study, serious governance problems were observed. Ten of the other schools had governance problems that were somewhat serious in nature. Most frequently, problems arose from personnel issues. These involved conflicts between members of the board and staff members. Not all of the conflicts faced were alike. Some conflict involved disagreements between board members and teachers who faced off against the administrator. In some cases board members and administrator were in opposition with a staff member or staff members. From time to time parents were in an adversarial role with a member of the board 201

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member. In a few cases, the conflict lead to the replacement of an administrator or staff member within the first two years of the school's existence. No matter the level of the conflict, the altercations resulted in huge expenditures of time and emotional trauma on the part of participating board members. In Colorado, the majority of schools evaluated following the 1996-1997 school year had governing bodies that were comprised of a majority of parents. Nineteen of the schools in the evaluation study, or 79%, of the boards were primarily parents (see Table 4.9, p. 116). Parents, staff members, and community members are on the boards of eleven charter schools. Four schools have both parents and staff on the board, but parents are in the majority. Three schools are governed by parents only. In five schools, only parents and community members are on the board. No staff representation exists. Community Prep Charter School has a unique governance system. The school is managed by the Director of Community Services, City of Colorado Springs (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 24). A multitude of governance issues have been present since shortly after the opening of the first charter schools causing some original board members to resign. Excluding Community Prep Charter School where this is not applicable, 12 of the remaining 23 charter schools had a change in board structure between the time the school opened and the evaluation study in 1997. In five of the schools--Core Knowledge Charter, Renaissance Charter, Crestone Charter, Connect Charter School, and EXCEL Schoolonly one board member left. Two board members left Academy of Charter Schools, Stargate Charter School, and GLOBE Charter School, while three members left Academy Charter School, Marble Charter School, SciTech Academy, Pueblo Arts Sciences, and Excel Academy. Four board members left Battle Rock Charter School. However, the greatest level of attrition occurred at Cherry Creek Academy where eight board members left. Two charter schools held an initial orientation meeting for board members. At 202

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Clayton Academy, no board member turn over occurred in this school and no change in board structure was instituted. At Crestone Charter School a change in board structure occurred and one board member left the board. Jefferson Academy was the only charter school in which formal training for board members was provided. No board members have left that board, but changes in board structure have been made as those on the board have become more familiar with the governance process (pp. 25-26). Another interesting dynamic that has developed is the change in leadership that has taken place in many charter schools. Over half of the schools evaluated had had more than one director of the school since its opening. Nine of the charter schools have each retained their initial headmasters, deans, or administrators since their opening. Renaissance Charter School opened with two administrators and has kept both of them. Five of the charter schools had hired their second administrator before the end of the 1996-1997 school year. Five schools had hired three different directors during their history. Cherry Creek Academy, Cheyenne Mountain, Academy Charter School, Core Knowledge Charter School, and EXCEL School had hired three directors each, the most significant administrator attrition (pp. 25-26). Clearly, the legislation did not intend that the turn-over rate of governing board members or school directors be so high. The amount of time that is required of governing board members may have been a factor in the number who left the school. Those who wish to start a school and are on the board may not have the training or expertise necessary to make it function well. Boards need to be unified in their representation and need to have clearly in mind their roles and responsibilities. A clear delineation of expectations for members of the board and the individual hired to direct the school are clearly needed. In some situations, the person with the vision to start the school was also hired to run the school. Several charter school boards learned that having a vision for the school and possessing the leadership skills necessary to effectively run the school are not inherently the same. 203

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Although not all aspects of parental involvement have been put into place without problems, the efforts appear to have paid off. It is abundantly clear that many parents want to be involved in their child's school. It is also clear that the better informed and more closely involved parents are with their child's school, the more they are engaged in the decision-making process, and the more they feel their concerns have been heard, the more supportive of the educational system they become. The ability to become involved with the education of their child is a feature that incites many parents to choose a school other than their neighborhood school. Curriculum and Instruction Curriculum and instruction are the heart of a school, and it is most frequently the substance of charter founders' interests (Manno, Finn, Bierlein, & Vanourek, 1997, p. 5). A study by the Goldwater Institute showed that the number one reason parents choose to leave a previous school was curriculum (Gifford, 1996, p. 2). In this section curriculum, instruction, and accountability are addressed. Curriculum. Two issues are at the center of the curriculum concerns of some parents and educators. First is the recognition that in many states schools and school districts are able to develop their own curriculum. This often occurs in isolation from curriculum development in other districts. Second is the belief that problems are inherent with the content the curriculum and that students are not held to high learning expectations. In early schools, the curriculum was often based on whatever books were available in the school. Materials such as the readers of McGuffey included works of masters like Byron, Shakespeare, Scott, and Wordsworth (Tyack, 1974, p. 20). By the mid1800s, a design for a uniform course of study and standard examinations had been adopted in many schools (p. 45). The first true curriculum was published in 1862 and was entitled A Graded Course of Instruction with Instructions to Teachers in which the 204

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content and specific teaching methods were outlined (p. 46). Textbooks published in subsequent years became a mainstay of public school instruction. Through use of these books, schools would expose children to as much content information as possible. This policy was later replaced when school districts developed their own curricula. Generally, the curricula consisted of goals and objectives that teachers would teach. In teaching these lists of goals and objectives, teachers have been required to "cover the curriculum" with their students. Most districts have authority to develop their own curricula. The degree of autonomy given a district to decide its own curriculum without regard for the curricula of other districts has been one area of concern that has been heavily debated by public school critics across the nation. In addition, in recent years, concern over the depth of the knowledge in the curriculum has been expressed by those who believe that knowing a little bit about many things may be less valuable than determining what is important and knowing that information well (Conley, 1993, p. 126). The discussion of depth versus breadth has been the subject of many individuals and groups who are dissatisfied with the content of the curriculum at their neighborhood school. Instruction. As parents have become better informed about current school practices, instructional strategies employed have been the target of some dissatisfied consumers. Constructivist learning is one trend that has been of interest to some families. Constructivism is based on the belief that people learn best when they are able actively to construct their own knowledge (p. 142). Constructivist practices appear in schools that have embraced cooperative learning, personal goal setting, simulation lessons, role-playing, and project-centered learning (p. 149). Other parents have expressed concerns that learning confined to schools establishes a learning environment that is too restrictive in nature. They believe that learning should take place in multiple environments. One manner of broadening the learning 205

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environment is through community-based learning. Community-based learning is achieved in several ways. Through service-learning projects, students spend time outside the school setting and take part in projects that are designed to help improve the community. These experiences impress upon students the importance of their roles in a democratic society and of their obligation to others. Another form of community-based learning occurs when the community becomes the classroom and students learn from their experiences in the community. Apprenticeships are a foundation stone of the learning that takes place. These schools-without-walls have been desired by some as an alternative to traditional classroom instruction (p. 174). A more dramatic form of community-based learning is afforded when the school is moved into the community. A consortium of districts in Minnesota have constructed a school in a shopping mall. Planners of the school included a preschool with after school child care, an early-grade elementary, a learning center for high-school students that is linked to part-time jobs in the mall, adult learning with vocational training and college courses, and an exploratorium (pp. 176-177). Some parents have seen the traditional grade leveling in schools as a deterrent to learning. These parents have pushed for non-graded schools or multi-age classrooms. Non-graded programs are often most highly touted in the primary grades (K-3). In a non-graded or multi-aged settings, those who believe that it is not useful to organize children into instructional groups, based on age, do group children in flexible ways using factors other than the ages of the children. The curriculum is often designed to address needs and interests of the children at a particular stage in their lives (p. 166). Charter Curriculum and Instruction. The curricular and instructional interests of parents and educators have fallen on fertile ground with respect to charter schools. Charter applicants are able to select from preexisting curricula and instructional practices or to design their own curriculum and teaching practices. Across the nation, charter schools are opening with different curricula in place. Some schools have 206

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elected a back-to-basics curriculum. Others have adopted a Core Knowledge curriculum such as the one developed by E. D. Hirsch. An International Baccalaureate curriculum has been selected by some secondary schools. A new primary International Baccalaureate curriculum is bound to be chosen by some elementary charter schools. The High-Scope curriculum has been implemented in some charter schools. Other charter schools have selected different content areas and have designed curricula that emphasize science, mathematics, technology, and the arts. Different instructional methods are emphasized in charter schools. Some charter schools offer a non-graded or multi-aged system of organizing students. Hands-on instruction and interactive learning activities are offered in other charter schools. The philosophy of Maria Montessori is incorporated into some schools. A school-to-work manufacturing academy has been opened between Lansing and Flint, Michigan. Several schools have chosen the Coalition of Essential Schools model. Others have elected constructivist learning, home-based learning, and independent-study models. In Colorado, despite the fact that 50 charter schools had been approved by 1997, few different curricula have been put in place. Many charter schools use district and/or state standards as the foundation of their curriculum. The non-district curricular choice cited most often is the Core Knowledge curriculum (see Table 4.1, p. 85). By the end of the 1997-1998 school year, Core Knowledge had been implemented in 22 charter schools in 17 different districts. Other curricula adopted by Colorado charter schools includes High-Scope, curriculum that focused on a specific content area such as science or literacy, the Paideia model, and the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Vast differences in curriculum being selected for use in charter schools does not frequently occur. The introduction of the Core Knowledge curriculum established new curricular horizons at the outset. The replication of this curriculum in so many other schools has limited the number of charter schools that are available to try other curricular models. At issue is whether the legislators intend that only a few curricular 207

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options evolve in the state's charter schools or whether they intended that a variety of curricular options become available. Certainly, the latter result has not materialized to date. More differentiation occurred with respect to instructional practices. Most of the charter schools have selected more than one instructional element to incorporate in their schools. In 19 of the charter schools, according to the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, individualized learning plans were incorporated. Integrated or interdisciplinary instruction was reported in 14 charter schools. Hands-on or active learning appeared in 13 schools. Multi-age grouping methods were adopted in 12 charter schools. A community as classroom philosophy appeared in II schools and community service learning was included at eight charter schools. A number of schools extended instructional time through block scheduling, extending hours, or going to a year-round school calendar (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 22-23). Accountability. Accountability is advanced as a means to strong educational reform. The term refers to mechanisms used to furnish parents, community members, policy makers, and educators with accurate information about how well students are learning and how well they are learning over time. Holding schools accountable for learning can a powerful tool, because it measures elements of instruction that have been identified as important. It focuses on not only what students are taught, but also on what students have learned. Accountability boils down to the results demonstrated by schools (Finn, 1991, p. 41 ). Accountability data are usually based on tests, often high-stakes tests. Test scores are used to determine the effectiveness of a school or program through comparisons with other schools. Tests such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the California Achievement Test, and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills are often administered in districts across the nation. District results and individual school results are often published in local newspapers. Laymen think that they understand the scores, believe 208

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the tests are fair determinants of the effectiveness of a schools, and see them as a legitimate basis for giving professionals more school autonomy (p. 46). The level of confidence in schools performing well on accountability measures has dovetailed beautifully with charter school legislation. Charters are given license to make programmatic changes and waive the restrictions that bind other schools in exchange for increasing students' achievement, knowledge, and overall capabilities. Policy makers and laymen then want to know whether the freedom afforded charter schools brings about better results than those produced by other public schools. These same measures are used to determine whether an individual charter schools should be renewed or terminated (Finn et al., 1996, p. 64 ). While several criteria are generally used to make sure charter schools are publicly accountable, it is the academic achievement criterion that have been addressed here. Charter schools must demonstrate an acceptable level of progress toward the goals that have been established for their students. Many charter school laws require that the schools produce an accountability report for the state on an annual basis. A statewide evaluation of how charter schools are progressing is also required in many states. Initially, the state evaluation systems were found to be wanting with most states developing the systems along the way. While more interest is being paid to accountability, continued progress is needed in this area. Evaluative tools to determine how well students are progressing toward standards of knowledge and skill must be developed. Tests that will inform charter schools about how well each individual child and each school is performing are needed. A set of real consequences for everyone involved should be put into place. This means not promoting or graduating students who do not achieve the standards; and rewarding or penalizing teachers, principals, superintendents, and other responsible adults for the quality of progress or lack there of (p. 65). In Colorado, sponsoring districts have the primary responsibility for evaluating how 209

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well the charter schools are doing. Most charter schools have taken up the gauntlet of accountability in much the same fashion as other schools within their districts. In 1996-1997, 92% of the sponsoring district reported that almost no differences exist between charter school accountability reports and the reports of the district's other schools. Charter schools in nine of the districts are required to conform the district practices such as establishing a site accountability committee and writing a school improvement plan. In several cases, the sponsoring district requires its charter schools to participate in the same testing during the same time frame as other schools in the district (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 7). Colorado faces many accountability challenges that may not have been anticipated by those who wrote the legislation. In states with a single agency sponsoring its charter schools, a uniform process for evaluating schools can be put in place. This makes it possible for comparisons across charter schools and between charter schools and other public schools to be conducted. In Colorado, this type of evaluative process is not possible. Charter schools are required to set performance standards and measurable objectives, but schools have free reign in deciding what tests and other evaluative measures will be used (p. 29). Assessment tools selected by charter schools are selected based on the schools' educational program and performance goals. Generally, three types of assessment data were used by charter schools in determining progress toward the goals they had established. Norm-referenced tests measure the performance of an individual or a group to the results of other individuals or groups. Criterion-referenced tests are tests used to measure how students understand the content of subject matter or behaviors. They do not compare student against student. Performance assessments are tests that require students to complete a task, demonstrate a process, or develop a product or response (p. 32). In Colorado, most charter schools administer at least 1 norm-referenced test. 210

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Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences administers three such tests. Six charter schools required students to take two different norm-referenced tests. Clayton Academy, Academy Charter School, P.S. 1, and GLOBE Charter School all use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills as one of their norm-referenced measures. Core Knowledge Charter and Renaissance Charter School use the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills as a major source of test data (see Table 5.11). Eleven schools that administer only one norm-referenced test use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. One uses the California Achievement Test. Several other norm referenced tests used with less frequency are the Degrees of Reading Power Test, Nelson-Denney Reading Test, and the Terra Nova. Three charter schools, Cheyenne Mountain Charter School, Marble Charter School, and Excel Academy, use no norm referenced tests to measure performance. Criterion-reference tests were often selected by charter schools to use for accountability purposes. Both Clayton Academy and EXCEL Charter School use three criterion-referenced tests. Clayton chose to use the Brigance, the Woodcock Johnson, and the High-Scope Child Observation Record. EXCEL chose three different tests including the Stanford Writing Test, the CAP Assessment of Writing, and their district's content standards and curriculum assessment. Four schools elected to use two criterion-referenced measures. Three of these schools included district content standards and curriculum measurement as one of their tools. Nine of the charter schools used one criterion-referenced test. Little similarity in the tests chosen by the different charter schools is evident. The Michigan Educational Assessment Program, Stanford Achievement Test, and Woodcock Johnson were among the tests used by schools with only one criterion-referenced test (see Table 5.11 ). Eight schools elected not to use this type of measure. Fourteen charter schools included performance measures as a part of their accountability process. Portfolios were kept on students in ten of the charter schools. 211

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TABLE5.11 EVALUATION TOOLS SELECTED BY CHARTER SCHOOLS School N arm-referenced Criterion-referenced Perfonnance Academy of Charters 1 0 0 Stargate Charter 1 1 3 Clayton Academy 2 3 1 Academy Charter 2 2 0 Core Knowledge 2 1 0 Community of Learners 1 2 2 EXCEL School 3 Eagle County 1 1 2 Community Involved 1 0 Jefferson Academy 1 l SciTech Charter l 0 0 Battle Rock Charter 1 1 0 Pueblo Arts-Sciences 3 2 3 Connect Charter 1 0 1 Cherry Creek l 1 0 Renaissance 2 2 2 P.S. 1 2 1 3 Community Prep 1 0 0 GLOBE Charter 2 0 1 Cheyenne Mountain 0 1 0 Marble Charter 0 0 0 Excel Academy 0 0 0 Crestone Charter 1 1 1 Aspen Community 1 2 3 212

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In seven of the schools, written information on individualized learning plans (ILPs) was used. Nine schools incorporated data collected from student exhibits. Ten of the charter schools used not performance data for accountability purposes. Stargate Charter School, Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences, P.S. 1, and Aspen Community Charter School used all three sources of data in their reports. Three schools used two types of performance assessment, while seven schools selected one form of collecting performance data. Ten of the schools used no performance-based assessments (see Table 5.11). It was interesting to see that nine of the charter schools wanted to create a well rounded assessment profile and used at least one type of assessment in each of the categories listed. These schools certainly provided more than what might be considered a minimum requirement in most districts. Pueblo School of Arts and Sciences incorporated eight data collection measures in their plan. Clayton Academy and Renaissance Charter School each reported six different sets of data. Conversely, Marble Charter School and Excel Academy listed no tests in any of the categories specified in this report (pp. 33-34). Accountability has been one of the more difficult issues to track with regard to charter schools in large part due to the many ways schools may choose to evaluate the progress of their students. For this reason, in the Clayton Foundation study, charter schools were measured against their own progress in meeting goals that they had established. Through this process, the following issues were addressed: were the goals for student achievement set high; were the goals, mission, and educational plan consistent; were the goals measurable; what students were served; and did the data show growth over time? To address these issues, the evaluation team looked at both student-achievement data and school-performance data in the context of the school's individual goals, the achievement test scores of the sponsoring district, the school's population variables, 213

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and other pertinent factors. Through this process, the team determined that nine schools in the study provided data to support that they are exceeding expectations defined for their performance. Fifteen of the schools are meeting the expectations that have been established (pp. 35-36). Sponsoring districts will ultimately decide whether their charter schools demonstrate accountability to the degree necessary to maintain the charter. Issues faced by charter schools when addressing accountability are varied. Some charter school directors have shared that frustrations have to do with bureaucratic requirements placed on some of the charter schools by some district. Bureaucratic frustrations include mandates from districts that charter schools use the same standardized tests as are used throughout district, expectations for higher performance than is expected of the district's other schools, and paperwork requirements necessary to report progress are time consuming and take time from other more important tasks. In addition, one charter director shared that assessment management software used by the district is not available to the charter school. Another director reported that the time it takes to develop alternative assessment tools is much greater and the the development is much more difficult than the members of the board had anticipated. As charter school personnel learn more about alternative testing measures, increased use may occur (pp. 111-112). While The Center for Education Reform notes that four charter schools have been closed due to fiscal mismanagement or operational failure, no charters appear to have been closed down because they have not met academic goals (Dale, 1997, p. 8). That may be because charters across the nation are all performing at or above expected levels, or it may be due to the fact that difficulties have arisen when researchers evaluate effectiveness of the schools with few comparable data. A standardized reporting system for charter schools is not in place at this time. Such a system may need to be developed to address this concern. 214

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Innovative Programs Several years ago, Rosabeth Moss Kanter set out to identify innovation in the American corporation. During her research she defined innovation in ways that are also applicable to the American public-school system. She first defined innovation as, "the process of bringing any new, problem-solving idea into use" (1983, p. 20). She also spoke of innovation as, "the generation, acceptance, and implementation of new ideas, processes, products, or services" (p.20). Charter schools advocates such as Joe Nathan (1996) believe that a market-driven school system would rectify the lack of innovation in the public school system. His beliefs are evidenced in his remarks that The entrepreneurial approach has generally not been available to public school teachers and parents. Yes, teachers have been able to do what they wish in their own classrooms, as long as it does not alter what other teachers can do. But teachers or parent who had ideas about new ways of organizing an entire school we're out of luck. (p. 17) Kolderie, Lerman, and Moskos also see the lack of innovation as a systemic issue. They believe that education suffers from a lack of innovation due to the monopolistic character of current public schools. They see public schools as over centralized systems that are replete with a bureaucratic rigidity that prevents them from adapting to new circumstances and from being responsive to the demands of the public (Marshall & Schram, 1993, p. 131 ). They encourage changes that will save, not abandon, our public school system and believe that it is possible to create, "competition and innovation to radically restructure our schools, while retaining their essentially public character" (p. 132). School choice has been suggested as a means to bring more innovation to public education and is often presented as the most significant force the educational system has had to face during its history. From magnet schools to post-secondary options from inter and intra-district choice to charter schools, choice has been weaving its way through the system of public education for more than a decade. 215

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In a special report on school choice published by the Carnegie Foundation (1992), the authors state that, "Choice has, without question, emerged as the single most rousting idea in the current reform effort" (p. 1). Choice comes in many variations and potential for impact on the system. Joe Nathan sees school choice as just one element of the school reform picture. While Chubb and Moe ( 1990) advise that, "we think reformers would do well to entertain the notion that choice is a panacea. . The authors emphasize their strong belief in the reformative powers of choice as is evident in the use of italics in the phrase that "choice has the capacity all by itself to bring about the kind of transformation that, for years, reformers have been seeking to engineer in a myriad of ways" (p. 217). They say further that other reform efforts should be abandoned in favor of school choice. In many states, different types of school-choice reform measures were adopted and implemented with varying degrees of success. None of the earlier measures caught fire as did the charter school movement. Viewed as being on the leading edge of school choice efforts, charter schools are intended to accelerate the rate of reform by making it possible for somebody other than members of local boards of education to intervene (Marshall & Schram, 1993, p. 133). Joe Nathan states that the charter school movement promotes widespread improvements in education by allowing people to design their own schools and by pushing the school system to improve because they must now compete with charter schools. He says that the charter movement is about hope and possibility for those with a passion to teach and for those who want to learn. He believes that charter schools are making a difference in many lives (1996, p. 18). The innovative nature of charter schools is addressed in Charter Schools in Action: What We Have Learned. The authors remark that the degree of imagination that they found in charter schools included promising educational programs that they had previously not encountered. They felt the innovations at the schools included in the 216

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study were extensive. The authors cautioned that trying to appreciate the differences in charter schools by reading their applications would be like looking at two similar cocoons without realizing that two entirely different butterflies could emerge (Finn et al., 1996, p. 21). Four distinctive innovations were presented in this report, but the authors cautioned that the innovations listed were far from inclusive. Schools for special populations were one type of school they found to be innovative. They cited the Education Commission of the United States in saying that approximately half of the nation's charter schools were created to address the needs of at-risk students. In addition to minority students, special education students, and those on free or reduced lunch programs, some of the schools include social service and juvenile correction agencies (p. 21). Distance learning opportunities, the second innovation they found, have been made available in some charter schools. Students are able to access the learning environment from home via modern technology. Students from many locations are able to attend these schools via their computers (p. 22). The third and fourth innovations involve contracting with agencies outside the school district. Teacher cooperatives are schools that do not hire their own employees. No long-term employees work at these schools. Rather, a group of individuals working for an educational management system is contracted to perform certain teaching responsibilities. One advantage is that contracts may be terminated if performance is unsatisfactory. In a variation on a theme, charter schools have been started by organizations such as Advantage School, Inc. and the Edison Project. In contract schools, private firms are hired to provide services to the charter schools (p. 22). In Colorado, students in special populations attend most of the charter schools. However, only three charter schools have been designed to address the needs of special 217

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populations. The Magnet School of the Deaf is the other charter school designed with a special population in mind. This school is open to Denver deaf children between the ages of three and eight. Thirteen children are enrolled in the school. Youth and Family Academy Charter School in Pueblo serves 125 at-risk students in seventh through ninth grade. Target students are ones who have not responded well in traditional educational settings. The school offers family support services through the Pueblo Youth Services Bureau. Clayton Charter Academy served 100 at-risk children in preschool through second grade during the two years it was open. The school was located in north Denver and provided instruction to many minority children, special needs children, and those who qualified for free or reduced meals (Windler, 1997, p. 2). Pioneer Charter School was opened in north Denver to replace Clayton Charter School. Pioneer School is located in a disadvantaged area of the community and should enroll a high percentage of at-risk students based on its location (Fordham Foundation, 1998, p. 5). The Colorado Springs' Edison Charter School is a contract school that serves 678 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and opened a middle school class for sixth grade students in 1997-1998. The school plan to expand through twelfth grade. A second Edison Charter School was approved in Denver Public School District in Spring 1998 (p. 2). With respect to curriculum, Colorado charter schools have used state and district standards, the Core Knowledge sequence, and several research-based content programs in most schools. Instructional methodology such as hands-on learning, multi-age grouping, individualized learning plans, constructivism, and integrating curriculum can be found in many other public schools. What may be different is the use of a greater variety of methods in an individual school. Few new or unique curricular programs or instructional practices are in evidence. To the charge that charter school innovations are minimal, Manno, Finn, Bierlein, and Vanourek state that while most charter schools have little that cannot be found in 218

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other public schools, in their own contexts, almost all charter schools can be considered innovative. To explain, they say that, "educational arrangements that might not strike cosmopolitans as novel are almost certain to appear revolutionary to locals who have not previously had access to anything of the sort." To the authors, some founders of charter schools are oblivious to the fact that "their" innovation has been piloted somewhere else. Some founders are so set on creating their own school, that they don't avail themselves of information from other individuals or locations (March 1998, p. 493). These explanations are of concern in light of the fact that the Colorado legislation specifically emphasized the creation of new and innovative schools that could be held up as a shining example to other public schools. To be an innovation, it would seem that it would be prudent to first determine what public schools currently offer, evaluate what is working well in those schools, and engage in research to learn of new options that might be in keeping with the philosophy of the charter's founders. As with an inventor and a new invention, after the idea germinates, the sapient inventor conducts a patent search before beginning mass production. Use of this procedure saves time, financial resources, and aggravation. Another glaring omission in the promotion of educational reform through charter legislation is the absence of processes, procedures, or organizations for charter schools to use in sharing their innovations with others. While charter school networks have sprung up in what appears to be a spontaneous fashion, these networks would hold a higher degree of appeal for charter school personnel than for other public school personnel. Strong supportive services and excellent published information prepared by organizations such as the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Colorado Children's Campaign have created an infrastructure for those involved with charter schools. Unfortunately, few school districts avail themselves of these valuable resources. 219

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Very few superintendents, principals, and teachers in other public schools view charter schools as educational laboratories and efforts to implement charter innovations were limited. While some felt that charters might offer innovations in governance models, accountability processes, and assessment practices, little sharing of information had occurred. The lack of investment of the sponsoring district was upsetting to one charter school founder (Rofes, 1998, p. 13). Rofes identified barriers to the transfer of innovative practices from charter schools to other schools. He found that young charter schools, in their first few years of operation, may not have fully developed their pedagogical offerings. When charter schools first open the founders and staff are hard pressed to find time to share amongst themselves, let alone with other district personnel. Relations between those initiating the charter school and district personnel were non-existent or hostile in nature. Some charter school members did not feel obligated to share innovative practices with those outside the realm of their school. These individuals said that the district's we already do that mentality created a lack of openness on the part of some personnel (p. 14). By its very nature, the Colorado charter school legislation has set in motion conditions that fail to promote positive conditions between those who wish to start a charter school and administrators and board members of sponsoring districts. Charter applicants must present their arguments for why the charter school should be allowed to exist. Local board members have the ability to deny the application. Charter applicants may appeal to the state board when the charter is denied. If the state board believe the applicants application was denied unfairly, they may remand the decision back to the local board of education or may overturn the decision of the local board. It can become a case of which hammer is heavier. Resource sharing may bring about additional problems between the charter school and district personnel. Local public school officials must address the fiscal needs of an entire school district. Charter applicants are requesting resources that may reduce the 220

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fiscal efficiency of the district. When district facilities are not available for use by a charter school, tensions mount while charter applicants pursue other options. Contract negotiations regarding purchased services are not clear cut and require time and energy. Schools are often faced with conditions that increase defensiveness in staff members. When student attrition from neighborhood schools to the charter school occurs, the staff morale at the neighborhood schools deteriorates. Schools with declining enrollments may find that they must market themselves in different ways. Administrators fear taking a stand of parent-related issues for fear the parent will choose to go to another school. Although these issues have not been present in all sponsoring districts, an increasing awareness of what has come to pass has grown in clarity in several districts. As charter schools and school districts sift through the unanticipated consequences of Pandora's arrival increased knowledge of what her presence means results. For some great expectations result. They foresee the reformation of a system of public education they can no longer support. Excitement about their new-found ability to have complete autonomy in a school follows. A curriculum or instructional practice that is of great value is evident to some. For others, great fear exists. They worry about whether their school will be able to continue its existence. Time must be spent marketing their school, perhaps at the expense of a more child-centered activity. A few are concerned that they will have to go the way of the charter school. All of these emotions take flight in an in-depth look at the experience of one charter school and its sponsoring district. 221

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CHAPTER6 PANDORA'S PRESENCE IS REALIZED IN VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICT With Pandora now in their midst, those around her reacted in many different ways. Some stood back and spoke of her fine qualities; others pretended she did not exist. Some were angry that she had come to displace what they believed was good. While others felt that she had taken too long to arrive. What was true for all was that now that she was here their world would forever be transformed due to her presence. While this research focuses on charter school legislation, in this district it is very difficult to understand the effects of charter legislation without some knowledge of the community and the choice policies that had been implemented in the district prior to the adoption of the 1993 Charter School Law. In this chapter, an historical overview of the district and school choice is presented. The experiences of the district are evaluated, and the manifest and latent outcomes of charter legislation are described. A reflection on the effects of charter legislation on this district and community concludes the chapter. A City Ripe for Choice The school district and community information cited in this dissertation is accurate and is based on the experiences of a district over several years. Both the district and the city have been referred to under assumed names. Information on both the city and school district have been obtained using Internet resources. These resources have been omitted from the reference list to ensure the anonymity of individuals who might be identifiable were the district known. Names of the individuals interviewed have been 222

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changed in this research and pseudonyms have been assigned. Names of state and national policy makers appearing in Denver's newspapers are referred to by their actual names, however, the names of individuals as they appeared in the local newspaper have been changed to assure anonymity. The city's newspaper has been referred to as Local Newspaper throughout the text. Company names have also consistently been changed. Other information including demographics, dates, and interview content has been accurate] y reported. Demographics When a city's characteristics begin to change, new residents often bring to light changes that they believe help improve the living and working conditions of the city. This is exactly what has happened in Hail, Colorado over the past two decades. Understanding the demographics of the city and recognizing how they have changed in recent years is key to comprehending the political and emotional penchant of the community. The Population of Hail. Hail is a community of approximately 100,000 people. During the past few years, it has been a city that has attracted growing numbers of families. This may in part be due to the fact that the economic base is multifaceted one with a university, a community college, a hospital, several large technological corporations, a large manufacturing plant, and the school district among the major employers. Real estate continues to increase in value and, as a result, many Hail residents own their own homes. In 1995, the overall average selling prices of homes was $143,245, an increase of almost $50,000 in selling price since 1990 (Hail, Colorado Relocation Directory, January 19, 1998, p. 17). On average, the residents of Hail are well educated. Only 9% of the adult population have not completed high school. High school graduates comprise 19% of the population, while 23% have taken part in some form of college study. In a local 223

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publication, About Hail, city officials boast that 49% of its adult residents have graduated from a program in higher education ( 1998, p. 2). Furthermore, few students in the school district drop out of school. In the Hail School District Annual Report the drop out-rate for students in Vista School District in 1996 was listed at 3.7%. It fell to 3.1% in 1997 (1997, p. 1). Vista School District. Vista School District (a pseudonym) is a suburban Colorado school district with approximately 22,000 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Located near the foothills, Vista District incorporates several schools located in the mountains and schools in smaller surrounding villages, as well as those within the Hail city limits. The district encompasses just over forty traditional schools and several alternative programs housed in separate buildings. One high school and one junior high school run more than one academic program on each site based on a school within-a-school model. In September 1997, Vista School District opened its first charter school. Manifest Outcomes of School Choice As school choice came to the forefront of discussion in the legislature, it also became a topic of discussion in many cities and school districts throughout the state. Some to the time honored traditions of public education were being stretched as the assignment of students to schools was less tied to a residence and became more tied to the interests of the populace. Communities with well informed and knowledgeable citizens found school choice to be an option they wanted to pursue. Choice Comes to Hail. Colorado One factor that influenced Hail's recent shift from a closed educational system to one in which opportunities for choice have been embraced is the educational level of the parents. The Carnegie Foundation (1992, p. 15) reports: "We found that school choice 224

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seems to work best for better educated parents, who become better informed and are thus more likely to participate in the program." The educational level of the residents of Hail is such that they emphasize education to a greater degree than may be experienced in communities in which parents have less education. A second factor that seems to have propelled Vista School District further into a system in which choice has arisen is the migration of families from communities in which choice has been more readily accessible. William Hudson (all names are pseudonyms), an administrator who has been with the district for more than ten years, reflects that Hail is a highly educated community and one to which residents have migrated from many different origins. He believes this "melting-pot effect" has brought together people with a variety of educational experiences. He felt these people have formed coalitions and have shared ideas that have resulted is the demand for a higher standard of education (Hudson, Interview Data, 1997). (See Appendix E for the Interview Reference Section and a complete list of interviews.) Elizabeth North, central office administrator, concurs with Hudson. She perceives that changes in our educational system were brought about when an influx of well educated people began in the early 1990s. She has observed that a number of families had been in districts where gifted and talented education, back-to-basics education, or progressive education were within the realm of reality (North, Interview Data, 1997). Sue Bennett, a Vista school board member, felt that parents have been making increasing demands on the system for educational programming that meets the needs of individual children. In response to those demands, she stated, "I think Hail represents a lot of the cutting trends that are happening across the country. And that's probably because of the well educated population here." While Bennett is not opposed to choice, she has many concerns about equity (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). A number of employees of Vista School District are proud of the opportunities for choice that have been made available to members of the Hail community. In response 225

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to state legislation and to public demand, during the past two decades Vista School District has adopted policies and practices that make it possible for students to select from a variety of choice options including selecting different neighborhood schools, selecting an district-created alternative school, choosing a school-within-a-school, or taking part in college classes through post-secondary options. Vista School District's Choice Policies. A school law, in combination with school district policies, has made it possible for some students to attend schools other than those within their neighborhood designation for a number of years. Vista School District subscribes to the code designations of CASB, the Colorado Association of School Boards. Each policy is coded to define the areas in which it is applicable. The code letters listed conform with the codes used by the Colorado Association of School Boards. The first letter in the policy code designates the category in which the policy falls. Subcategories are assigned letter codes that allow individuals to narrow the scope of the category. Policy JFBA is a policy on school choice that was first adopted by Vista School District in April 1972. This policy is student-based and falls under the subcategories of admissions and withdrawals, school choice, and intra-district choice (see Table 6.1). This intra-district choice policy, most recently revised in 1997, stipulates that a student is allowed to transfer from one building within a district to another school under a set of conditions set forth by the board. Among the conditions listed were events such as a student moving during the course of the school year, when boundary changes in attendance areas had occurred, or under special circumstances. Under this policy, school choice had been requested infrequently. Steven Polk, an executive administrator, indicated that initially requests for choice were made for high school students who had been involved in substantial disciplinary actions or those who wished to participate in different athletic programs (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). 226

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CODE J JF JFB JFBA TABLE6.1 VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICT'S BOARD POLICY CODES DESIGNATION A policy beginning with J is a student-based policy. The letters JF relate to student admissions and withdrawals Relates to school choice or open enrollment. Is an intra-district choice policy. Additional choices became possible when the State of Colorado, and subsequently Vista School District, adopted a policy on Post-Secondary Options. Policy IHCDA falls under the main heading of instruction. Subcategories include curricular programs, extended programs, advanced college placements, and post-secondary options. The policy makes it possible for senior high students who wished to take course work at a local university were able to do so. Through this program, students have been able to participate in classes that are not offered in the public schools within the community. Vista adopted a board policy in June 1991. A further change in state law with reference to schools of choice was brought about in 1994 in Vista District Policy JFBB, a student-based policy that incorporates admissions and withdrawals, school choice and open enrollment, and inter-district choice. Based on this policy, it is now possible for parents to request their child be able to attend any school within the state as long as space is available. Parents are responsible for completion of an application on an annual basis and are required to transport the child to the receiving school. Students applying for out of district choice may be denied if space is not available. Receiving districts are not held accountable for creating alterations in the structure or function of the receiving school and do not need to create programs for incoming students. Admission may be denied after October I. 227

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This Inter-School choice opportunity initially brought few requests for alternative placements in Vista School District. As time passed, increasing numbers of requests were received. As members of the Vista Board of Education and Central Office administrators monitored the expanding opportunities for Colorado residents with respect to school choice, read of charter legislation in Minnesota, and recognized the increasing demands for school vouchers, they began discussing ways the school district could be more responsive to the demands of parents for choices. Sue Bennett, School Board member, reflected that members of the Vista School Board were very deliberate in moving forward with development of an alternative school policy in an effort to avoid vouchers and prevent the creation of more private schools. She stated that board members recognized that the ability to make choices is a principle upon which our country is founded. She believes that in looking at alternatives board members consciously felt that the district would be moving ahead and that would help the district, in the long run (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). It was with these thoughts in mind that Vista School District developed its own alternative schools policy. Vista School District's Alternative Schools Policy. In Spring 1992, several members of the community began to bring forward the possibility of creating an alternative school within the Hail community. This discussion was largely predicated on two factors. First, programs located at several district facilities were to be relocated to different sites. This meant that for the first time in several years, classroom space would not be filled. The passage of a capital improvement bond in 1987 made it possible for one new junior high school and eight new elementary schools to be built, allowed for the remodeling of several existing schools, and brought about the proposed closure of three older facilities. It is the older facilities that were eyed by alternative school advocates. The second factor was a growing number of disenchanted parents and teachers in 228

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the community. One bright and articulate alternative school advocate is a doctor who resides in Hail. Dr. Crawford and his wife Carol had become disenfranchised with the local district over curriculum issues. The Crawfords felt that local curriculum lacked continuity and strongly advocated that a curriculum should encompass a scope of knowledge such as the one found in the writings of E. D. Hirsch. The Crawfords began to share their opinion of the district's curriculum with members of the school district and members of the community in both formal and informal ways. Elizabeth North was Vista School District's Curriculum Director at that time. She met with Dr. Crawford and his wife on several occasions as did members of her staff. At these meetings Dr. Crawford and his wife, armed with contemporary research, argued the case that the district was discriminating against minority students by denying them the same knowledge as was available to students from non-minority homes. Despite the lack of receptiveness on the part of Ms. North, the Crawfords were not deterred. They began to contact the superintendent and members of the local school board when they felt working with the director of curriculum was to no avail (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Alice Turner was the mother of an elementary public school student in 1991-1992. She had had concerns about her child's education for several years and was intrigued by the idea of a parent-initiated school when she first heard about it from Carol Crawford. She had run into Mrs. Crawford in a local kitchen shop and learned that the Crawfords were trying to start a new school with public funds. Alice attended her first informational meeting at the Crawford's home that evening. The meeting focused on the belief that people of our community, as taxpayers, should have the right to determine what should be happening in the public school system (Turner, Interview Data, 1997). Alternative school requests from educators came forward at approximately the same time. Three teachers from one of the existing elementary schools wanted to start a 229

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multi-age, exploratory school with low class size. Several educators wished to begin a language-immersion school. An administrator believed that an early childhood center was essential to the community. The early childhood center would combine early childhood services such as Child Find, Head Start, Early Childhood Special Education. The project specified providing resources for families, as well. In addition, a hands-on science project was hoping to find space in one of Vista School District's facilities. It is Dr. Crawford's belief that district administrators were actively soliciting requests for alternative schools from district personnel in an effort to thwart his efforts to establish a Core Knowledge School. He said that it was reported to him that high ranking central office administrators decided to ask teachers to write proposal so they wouldn't have to honor the request of the Core Knowledge School applicants (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). This criticism was not born out in other interviews. As employees of the district and parents expressed the desire to create new school projects, members of the central office in Vista School District wrote a policy and set of procedures for the development of alternative schools. The Alternative Schools Policy, as it was originally known, was set forth was policy JFBC. This policy became the third in a series of enrollment policies and was placed under the category of student based policies. Subcategories included admissions and withdrawals, school choice and open enrollment, and school choice voucher programs. The Alternative Schools policy was adopted in September 1992, and it stipulated that is the duty of the district to provide "appropriate and suitable" programs for all of its students including alternative educational programs. Proposals for alternative programs would be selected based on equitable district-wide criteria. Programs to be considered would meet district outcomes and assessments, would reflect district standards, would incorporate strategic priorities, would comply with state and federal statutes, and would provide equal access to all students. This policy would later be incorporated into a policy on non-traditional educational 230

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programs. The new policy lliBH was adopted on September 8, 1997. IHBH moved school-choice from the category of student-based policies to instructional policies. Included are the subcategories of curriculum, special programs, and school choice. This policy is one of several special programs including alternative schools, charter schools, magnet schools, and weekend or night schools. The change in policy designation to lliBH was an effort to combines both Alternative Schools Policy with one developed on charter schools thereby creating one policy as the umbrella under which any school of choice would fall. The policy consolidation ensured that consistent treatment of charter schools and alternative schools would occur. Alternative Schools Approved. In early 1993, Vista School District began accepting applications for alternative schools or projects. A total of five applications were made. Teams of educators and parents were employed to review the proposals and make recommendations for the approval or disapproval of each proposal. The teams of educators reviewing Dr. Crawford's proposal gave it low marks. On the other hand, teams of parents and members of the business community gave this proposal high marks. At approximately the same time, Vista's superintendent accepted a position out of state and a new interim superintendent was appointed to complete the year. After the appointment of the interim superintendent, it appeared as though four of the five proposals for alternatives would be approved. The application for the Core Knowledge School recommended by Dr. Crawford and other interested parents was to be denied on the basis that it was a private school concept. Roughly two weeks before the final decision on the approval of the alternative schools was to be made, Dr. Crawford was notified by the interim superintendent that his application was going to be denied. While discouraged, Crawford and the other Core Knowledge School advocates continued to lobby long and hard to have the school approved (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). 231

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On April9, 1993, Vista School District granted approval to all of the applicants for alternative schools. The schools included a Core Knowledge School, a language immersion school, an experiential school, and an early childhood center. They also designated space in one building for a community-based science facility that would be open to the public. While a victory for Dr. Crawford and his constituents, some of the Core Knowledge School applicants felt that their application was approved grudgingly and that members of the union and administration might put roadblocks in their way (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Despite the heated atmosphere, all of the alternative projects were prepared to move forward with their plans and open in the Fall 1993. For some who had advocated the Core Knowledge School, the timing of this approval was a diversionary tactic since charter school legislation would become law only two months later in June 1993 (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). Colorado Charter School Legislation June 3, 1993 saw the adoption of Charter School legislation. This legislation made it possible for educators or those not trained as educators to establish a public charter school for the purposes of expanding opportunities for all students, to encourage different and innovative teaching methods, to provide parents with expanded choices with regard to educational opportunities for their children, and to encourage community involvement with public schools (Colorado Charter School Law, 1993, pp. 1-2). While districts were not required to adopt local policy on charter schools, Vista School District did adopt such policy and application procedures in April 1994. Following the advice of (CASB), the Colorado Association of School Boards, the district's charter policy was combined with the alternative policy in September 1997 resulting in the creation of district policy lliBH. This policy included definitions of charter schools and alternative schools, established guidelines, described site-based implementation procedures for alternative programs, outlined district supportive 232

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services, identified an incubation period for alternative schools, and spoke to changes in enrollment. To Charter or Not to Charter. That is the Question Feeling somewhat smug that the district had approved alternative schools, some school personnel felt that little reason to address charter legislation existed, Steven Polk, a central office administrator, remarked (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Despite that belief, a decision was made to write a district policy and set of procedures on charter schools. The policy was first presented to the members of the school board in March 1994. After much discussion and expressed concern by alternate school supporters, the policy was adopted in April 1994. The procedures include a list of application requirements and an application deadline of November 1 of the year prior to the anticipated opening of the school. During the 1993-1994 and the 1994-1995 school years no applications for charter schools were submitted to Vista's Board of Education. Several requests for alternative schools and programs were submitted. An International Baccalaureate school-within-a-school was approved for one of the high schools. A second shift Arabic school was proposed, to be housed in an elementary school. This proposal was denied. Questions about where to house the alternative programs began to arise when a decision was made to build an new high school and close an existing one. One alternative program wished to expand its numbers, but was unable to do so based on its existing space. Representatives of this school began setting their sites on use of some portion of the high school. Board of education members were uncertain about keeping the old high school to house district buildings or programs. They felt the sale of the school might be more fiscally responsible. In a decision made early in 1995, the Core Knowledge School would be moved temporarily to the old high school facility to make it possible for the school to admit more students. 233

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On July 20, 1995, a local reporter wrote with reference to space in the old high school that, "A permanent solution regarding all of the district's alternative programs and the eventual fate of the Hail High School building will require several decisions, the board has ordered a study of the district's buildings and their uses" (Local Newspaper, p. B 1). To that end, members of the board hired (ASM) American School Management, Inc. ( a pseudonym), a Florida-based company, to conduct a facility study and make facility recommendations. The study would include not only the best use of the high school, but would also look at sites housing existing alternative schools and programs. Three elementary sites were used for alternative programs at that time. One member of each of the programs housed in a facility under study were asked to serve on the facility study committee. According to at least one Core Knowledge School advocate, the decision on use of facilities was one of the first district actions that sent some of the directors of the Core Knowledge alternative school on the charter school trail. A second issue arose when the alternative school was given permanent district status. While this would seem a positive action, as a result of the decision to give the school pe1manent status, Dr. Crawford believes that things began to change in the relationship between the school and the organization. With respect to the approval of permanent school status, he shared that, "Immediately after that happened, we were informed that our agreement with the board of education was no longer extant. It was declared null and void" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). He further believed that the relationship of the headmaster within the district organization changed. Ron Harrison had been hired as the headmaster of the alternative Core Knowledge School prior to its opening in 1993. He had served as headmaster under the direction of a board of directors appointed at the time the school opened. Dr. Crawford believes that the relationship between Ron Harrison and the Core Knowledge School changed dramatically as Harrison assumed the role of 234

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principal of the school. Crawford stated, Now that we had a full time principal, now that our pilot program had been declared a permanent school, the board of directors no longer had any decision-making authority, no longer had any accountability authority, and Ron Harrison was now in charge of the school, and that he would report to Steven Polk, who would be his sole evaluator and from whom he would take orders. (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997) Crawford believes this change in status gave Harrison latitude to begin making changes in the academic program of the school. He further stated that he and Ron HaiTison met in October 1995 to discuss various school issues. During that meeting, Crawford said Harrison asked him to indicate his intentions about chartering the school. He said he told Harrison that he felt applying for a charter would be to the advantage of the school. Crawford quoted Harrison as saying that he (Harrison) was now in charge of the school and that if Crawford and the others who started the alternative school wanted their own school they could leave and start a new one. Crawford also said the Harri.son claimed that he was now in control. After thinking about the conversation over control and the issue with facilities, Dr. Crawford and several of the founding members of the Core Knowledge School decided to write a charter proposal for a new Core Knowledge charter school (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Charter Application Round One. On October 31, 1995, Vista School District received two applications for charter schools. The first application had been submitted by those interested in beginning a Core Knowledge Charter School. The second application was from staff and parents of the Experiential School. The Experiential School is one of the five alternative schools approved by the district in April 1993. Experiential School parents and staff members hoped that through obtaining charter status an increase in their facility security would result. The Core Knowledge charter application was one that demonstrates the implementation of the law, as it was designed. The Core Knowledge applicants 235

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prepared and turned the application prior to the deadline. The application was denied at the end of the first 60 day review period and the applicants appealed the decision to the state board of education. The state board remanded the decision back to the local board of education. The local board and charter applicants negotiated and the charter was approved with district stipulations. Displeasure with the stipulations resulted in the charter applicants submitting a second appeal to the state board. The decision of the local board of education was upheld by the state board. A brief overview of the proceedings follows. From the outset, it was not smooth sailing between the Core Knowledge charter school applicants and the local board of education. Within weeks of the receipt of the applications, the first public disagreement occurred between these two key groups. The Charter School Act allows the district 60 days, after the receipt of the application, to make a decision whether to approve the charter schools or not. In late November, members of the board of education asked charter applicants for an extension of the deadline from the end of December until February. On November 29, I 995 a local reporter stated that the applicants for the Core Knowledge School notified the district that they would not extend the deadline (Local Newspaper, p. B 1). The representative speaking for the Experiential School said that he was unsure whether the Experiential School charter applicants would grant the extension to the board of education. Prior to the December deadline for Vista School District members to act upon the charter applications, the Experiential School charter applicants withdrew their request. Experiential School representative, Karen Swanson, reported that the impetus for a charter applicant was gaining facility security. In conversations with members of the board of education, she learned that facility security would be no greater for a charter school than for an alternative school. Following conversation with other Experiential School charter applicants, the decision was made to withdraw the application and remain an alternative school (Swanson, Interview Data, I 997). 236

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The Core Knowledge charter applicants, conversely, decided to proceed with their application. In December 1995, the application was denied by the board of education. The Charter Schools Act affords applicants, whose charters have been denied, the right to appeal the decision of the local school board. Invoking this legislative right, the decision of the local board of education was immediately appealed to the state board of education and an appeal hearing was set for February 1996 (Local Newspaper, January 11, 1996, p. B 1). The State Board of Education remanded the decision on the charter school back to the Vista Board of Education. A local reporter was reputed to say that the state board of education told the local school board to reconsider its denial of the charter school application (Local Newspaper, February 7, 1996, pp. B 1, B6). Following the state board's decision, the district had 30 days in which to negotiate with the charter applicants. To address the issue, a negotiating team of five parents and two school board members was created. In March 1996, initial approval for a charter school was granted. The following day, a local reporter noted that, "The Vista School Board gave unconditional approval to the district's first charter school on Monday night but told applicants that they must find a building outside the district for the school" (Local Newspaper, March 5, 1996, p. A6). In the same article, board member Sue Bennett is said to have added the stipulation that the school be open for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The applicants had proposed that the school be open for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. While perceived as roadblocks, the charter applicants decided to move forward with their plans to open the school in Fall 1996 and began looking at facilities (p. A6). A second appeal filed with the state board of education by the charter applicants stated that the school was unable to open due to the limitations on the numbers of students and grade levels that they could serve. At this hearing, the state board upheld 237

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the decision of the school district. Two reporters from the local paper wrote that charter applicants accused the Vista School Board of "taking steps to block the program, including filing court papers Monday that questioned who had jurisdiction to hear the appeal" (Local Newspaper, April 24, 1996, p. A 1 0). This charge refers to a lawsuit filed by the board of education in what one board member called, an effort to identify the amount of decision-making authority the state board could exe1t over a local board decision (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). Although discouraged and angered by the events of the previous year, the Core Knowledge charter applicants did not give up their quest. Proponents who had worked on the original application met, revised, and resubmitted the application to Vista School District. Charter Application Round Two. On September 20, 1996, a reporter for the city's newspaper reported that the group that had filed the unsuccessful charter application the preceding fall was preparing to submit a formal application within the week. From the outset, the tenor of the negotiations process was different than in the preceding year. In this article, the chairman of the board of directors of the charter school is quoted as saying, "The administration and the school board have been very receptive to our ideas and we're optimistic we're going to have productive negotiations with them this year" (Local Newspaper, pp. Al, A16). One reason the tone of the discussion may have changed was the decision by the charter applicants to modify their application to incorporate elements found lacking in the earlier application. In an article that appeared in the newspaper on September 26, new application features listed were the addition of a diversity plan, a statement of inclusiveness, and a plan to reach at-risk students. These concessions in the original plan were in response to expressed district concerns. A request for district flexibility was addressed when the charter applicants asked the district to consider approving a five year contract. In previous negotiations, 238

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the applications had been approved for two-years. The applicants felt that if they were forced to use an non-district facility a two-year contract would limit their options. They also requested that the program be allowed to serve kindergarten through seventh grade rather than sixth grade students and that they be allowed to increase their enrollment to 420 students (Local Newspaper, September 26, 1996, p. B2). At a work session prior to the regularly scheduled board meeting on October 14, 1996, the first round of communication between members of the board and the charter school's board of directors regarding the new charter application was held. At issue during this meeting was the amount of communication that would exist between the charter school and the school board and whether the charter school would be required to use district developed standards-based testing (Work Session Minutes). Throughout the negotiation process, members of the board of education shared that their greatest concern in approving a charter was the economic impact it would have upon the school district. On November 24, 1996, board member Reynolds is quoted as saying, "Cettainly I am not opposed to charter schools for research and development efforts if it can help us in learning how to teach better" (Local Newspaper, p. A8). In the same article, the assistant superintendent of business services gave more specific information on the fiscal requirements of the charter school and the school's impact on the district. He stated that, Any choice or alternative program drives up the cost of running the district. They're taking students out of our buildings which decreases the operating efficiency. Measured in dollars that loss of efficiency is estimated at $608,678.00 if the charter school enrolled 420 students in its inaugural year. (p. A8) Despite concerns about fiscal issues, fonns of testing, communication, and lack of a facility, Vista School District approved the Freedom Charter School during it's regular meeting on October 24, 1996. Two days later, a reporter for the newspaper reported that the approval followed two months of public hearings, work sessions, meeting with members of the District Accountability Committee, and heady negotiations. 239

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Once approved, the Freedom Charter School's board of directors was faced with the challenge of finding a facility for its kindergarten through seventh grade program. The charter was approved for a period of five years with the approval of the school's budget and if a site location could be finalized by April 15, 1997 (Local Newspaper, November 26, 1996, p. AS). Funding for the Charter School. Determining a budget for the school is based upon three variables. One variable is the number of students that enroll in the school. Freedom Charter School anticipated enrolling 420 students. The second variable is the Per Pupil Operating Revenue (PPOR) or the amount a school district receives in combined state and local revenues for the education of each child who attends school in the district. The third variable is the percent of PPOR agreed upon by both sides during negotiations. Each charter school in Colorado receives no less than SO% of the PPOR of the sponsoring district. The current PPOR in Vista District was $4,423.00 (personal communication, J. Thompson, March 16, 199S). The charter written between the district and the directors of Freedom Charter specified that I 00% of the PPOR be provided the charter school and then services be purchased back by the charter through the district, if they wish. Using these variables, the total revenue to the charter school was projected as $1 ,S57 ,660. Despite this sizable amount, a number charter proponents believed that additional funding for start-up costs should also have been afforded to address costs such as the ones they incurred in obtaining a facility. Finding a Location. Through negotiations, some of the facilities issues that had faced the charter school the preceding year had been removed. The school was now able to assure property owners that they would be able to lease a site for a minimum of five years. The 300 student limitation was lifted and the school was allowed to include students in seventh grade. This made more revenue available for the charter school's board of directors to work with (Local Newspaper, November 26, 1996, p. AS). 240

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Even with fewer facility restrictions, finding a location for Freedom Charter School was difficult. It was not until March I 997 that the school had found what it considered to be the perfect location. A 46,070 square foot warehouse on 5.96 acres in east Hail was selected by members of the board of directors. Unfortunately, costs to remodel the facility were estimated at $1.6 million. A request for funds to remodel the building was made of the Vista school board. This request was presented three weeks before the charter school's deadline for securing a facility. The school board turned down the request. It was only after securing a $900,000 loan from a private company that the charter school was able to secure the facility (Local Newspaper, April 15, I 997, p. A 1 ). With a budget in place and facility approved, the members of the board of directors and families of children selected to attend the school began working diligently to hire personnel, obtain furniture and materials, and prepare the facility and grounds. On September 2, 1997, Hail's first charter school opened its doors. On opening day, Freedom Charter School reported approximately 410 students in kindergarten through seventh grade. Class size in kindergarten through fourth grade started at 28 students apiece. These figures are somewhat higher than other Vista schools where the recommended optimal class size for primary grades is 25 and in the intermediate grades is 27. Classes were below 28 students in fifth, sixth, and seventh grade on the first day of school. The article encouraged interested parents to call the school if they wished to enroll students at any of the intermediate grade levels (Local Newspaper, September 3, 1997, p. A3). The vision of Pandora before them, Hail's charter applicants have reached out to embrace a new destiny. With a charter school approved, a curriculum in mind, a facility remodeled and ready for students, I 00% of the PPOR, and a contract for five yyars, many of the manifest outcomes of the legislators have been realized in this charter school. Whether the charter results in the future they have envisioned or one replete with unanticipated blessings or pitfalls is more apparent in the next section. 241

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Latent Outcomes: A Chronology of Mixed Messages The road to the approval of Freedom Charter School was a long and arduous one. What appears on the surface to be a simple path requiring the completion of an application, presentation to the board of education, and approval of the school was filled with many twists and turns for the charter applicants and school district administrators. A number of the latent outcomes mirrored those of Colorado and the nation. Others may have occurred in other communities, while still others may be unique to Vista's experience. Choice policies are examined first. A look at Vista's alternatives schools is second. The final section is an analysis of one charter school. Choices in Vista School District Vista School District began making choices available prior to the adoption of charter school legislation. During the past two decades, two state laws have made it possible for parents to move their children from one school to another within a school district and across school boundaries when space is available. A third law made it possible for junior and seniors in high schools to attend a college or university and take classes not offered in the high schools in the district. The law that allows children to change schools within a school district has been in place for the greatest period of time. It is also the law that has the greatest bearing on the evolution of alternative and charter schools and is the one that is addressed here. For many years, the only choice parents could make was to choose to move their child to another school within the school district. At first, parents began moving children from one school to another in the district for two main reasons. According to Steven Polk, requests for changes most often occurred in high schools when serious disciplinary or legal action was required. He said that the other main reason families requested an in-district transfer had to do with athletic programs. Students who wanted to play on teams with better records or to work with a particular coach often requested a 242

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change to the school of choice, according to Polk. At first, few students took advantage of attending a school of choice and therefore, the latent outcomes had little consequence on the district. Polk felt that over time the needs of the community and constituents changed and parents learned that they could move their child for a variety of reasons. When that happened, more and more requests began to come in and the volume became unmanageable. That is when the district decided to create a policy, guidelines, rules, and regulations for school choice. He said that administrative staff began checking around the country to see what other schools were doing (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). To manage school choice requests several practices and procedures were established through district policy. An application form to request a school of choice was developed. The form must be filled out annually for each child that wishes to be considered for school of choice. While schools of choice may be selected at any time, guidelines for those who wish to change schools or remain in a school of choice for the following school year exist. The fmms are made available each spring and are to be turned in by the date designated by the district. During the first few years, a date in March of each year was selected as the deadline. Last year, the deadline was moved up to February 14 to help the district prepare a budget and building staffing allocations at an earlier date. Principals of schools selected as the school of choice receive the applications and must decide whether the school has space available for the student. If the student is accepted, a copy of the form is sent to the school that the students will leave. In theory, by early April, the receiving school and sending schools have processed school of choice forms, know their projected enrollment figures, and staffing assignments are made. In reality, school administrators find that parents frequently change their minds. Some families decide to stay at the neighborhood school and some families select another school of choice. Throughout the spring and summer months, 243

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applications for school of choice are submitted by new families and the expectation is that requests for schools of choice be honored unless the grade level of the enrolling student has been filled to capacity. Several days before school starts registration is held. At times, buildings have accepted school-of-choice students and room for new children who actually live in the school's enrollment area are nonexistent. These children may have to attend another school. In this case, transportation is provided for the overflow students to a school where the enrollment is in decline (Often at quite a distance from the area of residence). If the parents are willing to have their child attend the designated school, a route to transport a few students to the new location is established. Increasing the number of routes has required the purchase of new buses and made it necessary to hire new drivers resulting in increased costs. In many cases, parents prefer not to have their children ride a bus to a designated school. Instead, they opt to find a closer school and apply for a school of choice. Like dominoes, the movement of children from one location to another triggers a chain reaction and parents who probably would have elected to stay in their neighborhood school feel they must make another decision. While loyal to their home school they find that the lack of space at their home school has made it necessary for them to have to select a school of choice. In Vista School District, as children move from school to school, budgets and staffing allocations are influenced. As in other districts, Vista's school budgets and staffing allocations are based on the number of students projected to attend the school. These allocations are made in the spring before actual enrollment figures are known. Due to attrition, schools have found that they have lost enough students so that teacher student ratio falls below the district norm. Conversely, receiving schools have found that their teacher-student ratio exceeds the district average. To compensate, staff members at some schools have been cut or forced to work in other schools. If staff 244

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members are not cut or transferred at schools with declining enrollments, the district expenses for personnel increase. Other costs incurred due to increased enrollment often include the purchase of furniture, supplies, materials, and books. Vista's Alternative Schools Vista School District's policy on alternative schools has brought about its own series of latent outcomes. The policy, first adopted in Spring 1992, resulted in the approval of three alternative schools and two alternative programs in Hail. Reasons for establishing the policy differ, depending on whom you ask. Some district personnel indicate that the policy came about as an initiative of the two former members of the board of education. These board members were believed to be of the opinion that it would be good to try other schools, because anything is better than what the district had in place at the time. An elementary principal, Jim Swenson, stated that school choice was driven by two board members who, in his opinion, were disgruntled with the district as a whole. He in fact believes that they had the dismantling of and destruction of the district in mind. He thinks that it is possible that these board members were working collaboratively with a group that would later propose an alternative school based on the E. D. Hirsch sequence (Swenson, Interview Data, 1997). Mary Finch, a central office administrator, responded that the board of education was pretty key in the decision to make alternative schools available. She said that a couple of board members pretty consistently talked about low test scores. They frequently asked what was going on with the scores. Board members felt that a better way to do school and a way to do it differently would result (Finch, Interview Data, 1997). Central office administrator, Mark Hughes, reflects that particular board members in the past had alternative schools as a goal. He believes they sought alternative schools 245

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as a way to experiment with or explore new pedagogical ways of doing things so the district wouldn't feel so complacent (Hughes, Interview Data, 1997). One of three reasons for the alternative school policy listed by Polk was that the board of education was in crisis, turmoil, or at least conflict at that time. Included in his interview response was the statement, I would say there was a certain part of the board that said, let's tear it all down and start new. Anything and different was certain to be blessed and funded and the statuesque was condemned. So that gave almost impetus for this kind of discussion to happen regularly at board meetings. (Polk, Interview Data, I 997). Other district personnel also felt that the opinions of the superintendent and his assistants were instrumental in persuading the district to explore alternative school options. A central office administrator, Craig Johnson, said that, "Obviously, a key player has been the superintendent, whomever that may be at the time. I also think key roles were played by the area directors, what we now call assistant superintendents" (Johnson, Interview Data, 1997). An elementary principal, Bill Allen, agreed with Johnson that the superintendent and one of his assistants were driving forces behind the decision to develop an alternative school policy. He gave credit to past superintendents as well as our current superintendent (Allen, Interview Data, 1997). Almost all of the district employees interviewed felt that the members of the community, especially the parents, were most influential in convincing the district to provide alternative schools. Kelly McDaniels, an elementary principal, stated that parents have been the key players. She shared that the introduction of site-based management provided a means for parents to become more involved in school activities and school governance. As parents became more knowledgeable about schools and their operations, she felt that they became interested in changing schools and pressed the issue (McDaniels, Interview Data, 1997). A central office administrator, William Hudson, agrees with McDaniels that from his perspective, parents have been the key players. He states that parents have made 246

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principals and other educators more aware of the need for alternatives in education. For the most part, Hudson felt that the parents who put forth alternative school ideas and who support them are well educated and anxious to share (Hudson, Interview Data, 1997). Elizabeth North has conducted research on school choice. She agrees with McDaniels and Hudson that alternatives have cropped up here because of the influence of parents with strong educational philosophies. She said many of the most influential parents are those who have moved in from other locations, ones where alternatives were available. These different experiences and expectations paved the way for our schools to begin to look different from what had previously been available, according to North. She believes many parents were surprised to move to Hail in the late 1980s and early 1990s and find that very little school choice was available (North, Interview Data, 1997). Conversely, those affiliated with an alternative school see their creation and approval in a different light. Gerri Sackett is a teacher at one of the alternative schools started by teachers. She felt that some teachers played a key role in the alternative schools movement. She and other teachers at her school were a part of the Colorado Strategic Options group. Members of this group had been functioning in alternative ways in schools for some time. Despite her association with the school district, she felt that the Core Knowledge proponents were the true advocates of alternative education in Hail. She also saw the availability of space as an incentive to move in that direction (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). Sean Littleton has had three children in an alternative school. He said that Dr. Ben Crawford has been the one who has driven the alternative school movement in Hail. While he conceded that several members of the board of education have leant their support, he felt the local board has generally been mixed on the subject and totally reluctant to move in that direction (Littleton, Interview Data, 1997). 247

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Sherry Cooper is a parent who was involved at the start of the alternative school journey. She concurred with Littleton that Dr. Crawford and his wife were the driving forces behind the alternative schools movement. She said that they are the ones who put together an alternative school proposal. She said she got on board when she heard what the Crawfords were trying to do and other parents began to get on board and support the idea as well. From her perspective, no alternative schools would exist in Hail, Colorado if it were not for the efforts of Dr. and Mrs. Crawford (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). Parent, Patrick Blair was involved in the alternative school project. He stated that, with no question Dr. Crawford was the visionary behind the alternative school idea. Blair said that Crawford started to hold what were called cottage meetings for the purpose of talking to parents about their children's education, their expectations, and the history of education. He said that it was through these meetings that people gravitated to the idea of their own school and became involved in the process (Blair, Interview Data, 1997). Todd Davis was on the school district's parent advisory group at the time the alternative school policy was introduced. He felt that the district was content with a monolithic one-size-fits-all mentality and that administrators were not interested in any alternatives. He stipulated that a great deal of political furor was created when the then acting superintendent was convinced to coerce the people promoting the Core Knowledge School and that the departure of the superintendent was related to this issue. He further stated that when the Core Knowledge School was suggested administrators had to hurry and hustle up some other alternative proposals so the Core Knowledge School could be defeated (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). The Dream Is Realized Dr. Crawford had similar perceptions about the evolution of the alternative schools 248

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idea. He said that some parents were interested in starting an alternative school and that these parents looked at what was happening in Minnesota, Sweden, Holland, and Japan with reference to alternative education. He found it frustrating that no one in the district was knowledgeable about alternative education and that conversations with the curriculum director in January 1992 resulted in doors being closed in their faces. He said that district officials "Made it clear that the district had one way of doing things and would not be entertaining such discussions, particularly not with parents" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Crawford said that he did find some receptivity from the superintendent who indicated that he was interested in learning more about choice. Conversations between the superintendent and Dr. Crawford took place every other week for ten weeks when a stop was quite suddenly put to them by the president of the teachers' union, according to Crawford. He stated that, "The teachers' union forbade the superintendent to have any further meetings with us and we were so informed" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). The district curriculum review committee reviewed the proposal in August and Crawford said that they behaved in a hostile manner. Despite the availability of a site and the interest of the superintendent, Crawford learned that the superintendent and school board president had a conversation that a plan had been developed to ensure that a parent-driven school could never come into existence. According to Crawford, during this conversation he was later told that teachers would be encouraged to develop proposals for alternative schools so that an "insider proposal" could be selected by members of the four committees chosen to review all proposals and a decision would be made in October. Five proposals were submitted for review. Three elementary sites were to be unoccupied and could be used to house the proposed schools. Using a rating system and set of procedures designed by administrators, groups of parents, business 249

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community members, and educators were brought together to review the proposals and make a decision about which three of the five proposals would be approved. Educators expressed concerns that the Core Knowledge proposal was designed as a private school to be paid for with public funds. The parents and business community members gave the Core Knowledge proposal high marks. A decision on the Core Knowledge School was not forthcoming at that time. Approval was given to a program designed to combine early childhood services and to a non-district proposal for a science center. These programs were to be housed in the newest of the three facilities. The newspaper began running articles about an asbestos problem in the other two sites and it appeared that no space for the other three schools could be found. According to Crawford, at a meeting around Christmas time, he met with the superintendent and learned that the asbestos stories were inaccurate. He said, "We got together and interestingly enough, you know, the asbestos had already been abated and all these things that had shown up in the press were all non issues, were all wrong, they were, I hate to use the word 'lies' but they were not true" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). At the same meeting, Crawford said that the superintendent agreed that the school would open and asked Crawford what he needed to have to make it happen. Crawford believes that because of his stance, the superintendent was told that he would be harshly dealt with in his evaluation. Within a week, the superintendent resigned his position and took another superintendency in a mid-western state. It is Crawford's opinion that Vista School District lost a superintendent because he was willing to consider alternatives (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). The decision on the Core Knowledge School proposal and the other proposals were delayed for several months. Crawford said that he engaged in several unpleasant conversations with the interim superintendent about the private school attributes of the Core Knowledge proposal and his associations with despicable people. The Core 250

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Knowledge School was approved, but apparently the superintendent was overheard speaking to another board member at the break prior to the vote. Crawford said that it was reported to him that the superintendent said that the union and I can promise that this school will never open its doors, no teacher will dare to agree to teach at this school. Despite the obstacles, the school was open and had two good years before conditions began to deteriorate and some of the parents began to think of other school possibilities (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Divisive Relationships. Little agreement can be demonstrated between school personnel and alternative school proponents about the development of the alternative school policy and subsequent approval of the alternative schools. Particular disagreement seems to arise between district personnel and the originators of the Core Knowledge School, a school designed and implemented by parents. The attitudes and behaviors of the individuals involved with the alternative school are essential to understand since many of the same individuals engaged in the charter school discussion. Crawford and other Core Knowledge School supporters find little evidence that support from school officials existed. Crawford charged that school personnel set out to deliberately prevent parents from opening an alternative school, that dishonest practices were employed by district personnel, that administrators colluded with teachers to create alternative schools so that the Core Knowledge School would not be approved, that he was brow-beaten by the superintendent, and that he was accused or fraternizing with unsavory parties. He states that the union forbade the superintendent from discussing alternative schools with him and that the union would prevent teachers from teaching at the Core Knowledge School. When one district superintendent took a stand and said he would support the alternative school, Crawford believes that he was forced to resign his position and leave the district under great duress (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Many of these beliefs are held by other parents interviewed. Patrick Blair refers to 251

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Dr. Crawford as the biggest instrument in making alternative schools available. He shares that Dr. Crawford was able to work with a state senator to make the alternative proposal for a Core Knowledge School a reality (Blair, Interview Data, 1997). Todd Davis felt that members of the district basically pay lip-service to parents. They'lllisten and nod their heads, but nothing happens, in Davis' perspective. Essentially, Davis sees a total lack of responsiveness on the part of district administration (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). School personnel, on the other hand, feel that they made efforts to work with alternative school proponents. While Dr. Crawford and his followers are cited by many as being ambassadors for alternative schools, numerous school personnel are mentioned as being instrumental in promoting alternative schools. Central office administrator, Sam Roberts, credits a minority administrator and a minority support group with the approval of a language-immersion alternative school (Roberts, Interview Data, 1997). William Hudson said that three teachers from one of the elementary schools would be given credit for the approval of the Experiential School. He also mentioned that two high school teachers began an International Baccalaureate program as a school-within-a-school at approximately the same time (Hudson, Interview Data, 1997). Assistant superintendents were credited with alternative school sponsorship by several interviewees. With reference to alternative schools, Bill Allen said that assistant superintendent, Steven Polk, was probably been the overall driving force behind the approval of alternative schools. Over the years, Polk has reminded principals about the changing climate of education and the need for educators to be more consumer oriented and more responsive to parental concerns, according to Allen. He indicated that early on Polk recognized that the consumers would go after what they wanted in education and that if the district's schools did not offer what parents wanted he knew they would choose to go elsewhere (Allen, Interview Data, 1997). 252

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Kerri Davis, a central office administrator, recognized that parents play a key role in developing choice opportunities for students, but also felt that Rick Harris, an assistant superintendent, has been helpful. She said that he has worked diligently to make sure that despite the added costs of alternatives he was able to make things work out for the alternative schools in the financial arena. Much apprehension on the part district personnel due was due to tight financial conditions at the time. Despite the climate, Harris was supportive, according to Davis (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). Several individuals interviewed feel that it was the parents who were difficult to work with in approving alternative schools. More than one interviewee described the behavior of those wanting to start an alternative school as contentious. Polk sensed that blatant condemnation of the district on the part of some alternative school proponents occurred. His perception was that alternative school people believed that the school district was no good and, therefore, a Core Knowledge school had to be established (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). An elementary principal, Bill Allen, infened that the district entered into discussions about alternative schools in a good-faith effort to offer different choices. He indicated that individuals who initiated the alternative school discussion got to the point where they were out of control. He said that "these people were of the opinion that if they didn't get exactly what they wanted, heads were going to roll". He felt that district personnel generally want constituents to be happy all of the time. "In our efforts to make this happen," he said, "we've gotten way off center and the pendulum is way out of sync." He shared that "people know we will try hard to work with them and that they take advantage of that by ranting and raving until they get what they want" (Allen, Interview Data, 1997). Rick Harris, a central office administrator, sees alternative schools as a minority agenda item. He said that, "Somewhere along the lines the country changed from 'majority rules' and once the majority makes a decision everybody gets in line and 253

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follows, the minority has a significant amount of rights and the majority should not trample on those rights." He further stated that "we now have a majority of the people bending over backwards to make sure that the minority have the choices they want in education". In his opinion, education should not be directed by minority opinion (Harris, Interview Data, 1997). Alternative School Difficulties. While an atmosphere of divisiveness existed between some of the members of the Core Knowledge School and district personnel, the first two years the school existed were quite remarkable, according to Crawford. He stated that "they were able to hire district staff members, they met the needs of many at-risk students, their Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores rose, they were named a model school by two different national foundations, and they brought a quarter of a million dollars in grant funds to the school". In addition, Crawford said that "the waiting list for the school grew to 1300 students in just two years and no way to accommodate the needs of those interested in the school could be found" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). During these first two years, parents with children at the Core Knowledge School were pleased with their children's educational experiences at the school. Max Jacobs (a pseudonym), a high school teacher stated that, "At the Core Knowledge School, our children are receiving the knowledge that will open the doors of opportunity in our society." He went on to say, "That knowledge and personal character, not an accident of birth or social position, should determine a child's success in American Society. The Core Knowledge School fulfills this promise" (Local Newspaper, February 25, 1996, p. E3). Sherry Cooper was also pleased by the program at the Core Knowledge School. She spoke of the test scores of third grade students at the school. According to Cooper, "the first year the school was open 50% of the kids were in the bottom two quartiles. By the end of the year the population had shifted up and the scores were 254

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heavily skewed to the upper levels of performance". She remarked that "the kids who were at the bottom in the fall made the greatest gains". According to Cooper "these scores reflect excellence in education where the students all do better and the curriculum is fair" (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). Unfortunately, by the end of the second year, two problems arose that put the alternative school parents and staff into a tailspin. First, the need for a larger, permanent facility to accommodate more students on the waiting list had not been met. Second, as the school was granted permanent status by the board of education, some parents began to feel their authority had been compromised. Facility Problems. Despite the success of the school, a feeling of security never occurred. During the early years, parents and staff at the alternative school felt the need to constantly defend themselves against disbandment, in Crawford's opinion. He said that about every six months the district suggested breaking the school into smaller components and placing them in other schools. The idea of being divided among several buildings was an idea that was sure to put an end to the Core Knowledge school, in Crawford's opinion. He said that, "Without the commitment to curriculum support by individual principals, without the parent body to hold together and contribute to it, it wouldn't have survived such a dispersal." He held meetings that spanned hundreds of hours to engage in protective and defensive lobbying (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). The district made several proposals for a new space for the expanding Core Knowledge School. One idea was that the school could be tracked through several elementary buildings. Another was to move the language-emersion alternative school and give the Core Knowledge School that vacated site in addition to the one they had. Unfortunately, these buildings lacked close proximity to one another, making the proposal one that could not be entertained since parents transport children to the Core Knowledge School. A new high school was under construction at this time. A use for 255

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the space in the old high school had not been determined and the families at the Core Knowledge School made it known that they would like space at the high school. For many months, the fate of the high school was not known. While alternative school parents and staff urged that the building be used for alternative schools, other options were being considered and the community was split on how to use the site. At least 350 people called the opinion line of the Local Newspaper to voice their ideas. Those calling varied in their beliefs on ways the school should be used. While many felt the high school should be used to house the alternative schools, others indicated that the school should be turned into a public library. A local university had expressed interest in buying the school and Vista School District was considering selling the building to a private party (Local Newspaper, January 16, 1995, p. AI). On April 10, 1995, the board of education reported that the Core Knowledge alternative school would be housed at the old high school for the upcoming school year. The district allocated 20 classrooms on the second floor of the old high school for use by the Core Knowledge School. The school was also given the media center and student center for its use (Local Newspaper, April 11, 1995, p. B2). While Core Knowledge staff members and parents were delighted with the decision, they knew that the space had been promised for only one year and that the hunt for another facility was unavoidable. By January 23, 1996, the alternative school was once again trying to find a permanent location. Although some parents had made a decision to apply for a charter school the previous fall, many families chose to stay with the alternative school and to have a building they felt was their own. District officials considered placing the alternative school in Patterson Elementary (a pseudonym), one of five elementary schools that had been experiencing declining enrollment. Neighborhood students at Patterson would be allowed to continue to attend the Core Knowledge School or would be bussed to one of seven other locations. Patterson was selected, in part, because 256

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many of its students were already transported by bus. Patterson parents were outraged by the announcement. One parent, Jack Spenser (a pseudonym), who had children at Patterson said that he could not understand how the district could sacrifice a community and neighborhood so easily. Ann White (a pseudonym), a parent and college professor said she felt that the community needed to value the economic and racial diversity in the school (Local Newspaper, January 23, 1996, p. B1). In response to the parent outcry, Vista School District established a task force to study the facility problem and make recommendations to the board. Bill Allen, the principal of an unaffected elementary school was asked to chair the committee. At the first meeting on February 7, 1996, 38 volunteers came forward to serve on the task force. According to Allen, the group's mission was, ''To help parents voice questions over the proposed move, find answers to them, develop alternatives to the Patterson plan and present them to the school board AprilS." Over 200 parents and community members attended the meeting and met in small groups to share concerns. One parent asked what kind of message we send kids when we allow one school to take another school from a group of kids (Local Newspaper, February 8, 1996, p. B 1 ). Don Hamilton, a community member, served on the task force. He was concerned that one school could be disrupted, closed, or displaced by an alternative program. While he conceded that he knows things like that happen in other parts of the nation, he was surprised that it had been allowed in Hail (Hamilton, Interview Data, 1997). Others expressed similar sentiments. In a letter to the editor in the Local Newspaper on March 7, 1996, Mitchell Howard came to the heart of the situation as it was perceived by many. He said, We read about the importance of choice in public education, and how Core Knowledge strives to teach respect for others and to value a democratic society. But nowhere do we read or hear about the wrongfulness of dispersing preexisting school communities, built and nurtured over many years' time so that these new school cam move in and think they are a part of the local neighborhood. Why has no one from Core Knowledge stepped up to the public podium to state 257

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that such a move would be unethical and contradictory to their values of "teaching respect for others"? Core Knowledge fails the test of community commitment and teaches us the lesson of trying to get what you want at the expense of others. (p. A2) On March 7, 1996, the task force held it sixth meeting and was able to whittle 81 proposed solutions for the alternative school facility down to fewer than 50. Suggestions ranged from going with the district's original proposal of putting the alternative school at Patterson to an idea from Rick Harris that revenues from the sale of the old high school be used to build a low-budget, alternative campus on the south side of Hail (Local Newspaper, March 8, 1996, p. B 1). A decision on the displacement of Patterson students was not forthcoming until early May, 1996. At that time, it was decided that the district would look into building a new facility for the alternative school and that Patterson students and students at the other declining-enrollment schools would not be split up. Patterson staff and members of the Patterson School community sighed with relief at the decision (McDaniels, Interview Data, 1997). Two sites, one in north Hail and one in southeast Hail were discussed. However, it was not until March 24, 1997, that a decision on a facility for the Core Knowledge School was finalized. The availability of streets, sidewalks, and water connections at the southeast site were deciding factors. These amenities made it possible for the district to save $215,000 in construction costs. Also considered were the railroad tracks near the proposed north site. About 500 students attended the Core Knowledge School at this time. People living in the sub division surrounding the new school wanted assurances that their children would be able to attend the school once it was built in their neighborhood. The board did decide to allow walk-in students to attend the new school (Local College Newspaper, March 26, 1997, p. 7). While the news was positive for the Core Knowledge School, Don Hamilton, a task force member, held a different perspective He said that "he was disappointed in the 258

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decision, but admitted that he saw it coming. In his opinion, the whole thing was a done deal; task force members just played out their roles like in a play when you know what will happen". Hamilton felt that as soon as Rick Harris talked about land in south Hail, the door was opened and the people who wanted the school went after it. He stated that "the alternative school proponents as influential, well organized, and aggressive and that they were unstoppable". He said that "once we started down the path, turning back was not an option" (Hamilton, Interview Data, 1997). The $4 million Core Knowledge alternative school was completed in December 1998 and is currently in operation. It was built on ten acres of land in a rapidly growing southeastern neighborhood. Much, but not all of the construction cost was covered by the sale of the old high school. Because other capital projects were to be placed on hold due to the expenditures on the new school, the board was asked to consider financing another $10 million through a 20-year certificate of participation, similar to a second mortgage to support these projects (Local Newspaper, January 28, 1997, p. A3). In addition to concerns about the cost of the new school, concerns were voiced by elementary principals at nearby schools. These schools are approaching or have exceeded capacity and students are being bused to schools some distance away to accommodate the needs of families. While some immediate neighborhood students may choose to attend the Core Knowledge School, the school will do little to address the over-crowded conditions that exist in four neighboring schools. No other new schools are scheduled to be built in the area until2005, 2006, or 2007 which means that conditions in these schools are unlikely to improve soon. It will be interesting to see the reactions of Core Knowledge followers if the school board must make good on its statement that this was not a guaranteed site for Core Knowledge forever. It is possible that increasing space demands in the southeast might necessitate turning the school into a neighborhood school (Local College Newspaper, March 26, 1997, p. 7). 259

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Governance Problems. On March 6, 1995, the Core Knowledge School and other alternative schools were give permanent status. The board voted unanimously to take the programs off their two-year trial status and secured their place as permanent schools (Local Newspaper, March 7, 1995, p. B 1). Dr. Crawford felt that this was a turning point in the relationship of Ron Harrison, the headmaster, and the founding members of the alternative school. He explains that, once the school achieved permanent status, Harrison saw himself as the principal of the school, that the school would comply with district norms, and that the board of directors would no longer have any decision making or accountability authority. Harrison now felt he must report to Steven Polk, take orders from him, and be evaluated by him. Crawford said that that summer many things parents valued started disappearing from the alternative school's academic program (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). AI Russell was discouraged by the changes in governance that he saw taking place at the Core Knowledge School. Russell, one of the originators of the school, stated that he and some of the other parents did not like what was happening at the district's Core Knowledge School. ''The parents have been taken out of the decision-making process," Russell said (Local Newspaper, February 20, 1996, p. Bl). This same impression was verified by Patrick Blair. He felt that Harrison saw himself as the principal once the school was no longer a pilot school. His opinion was that Harrison adopted the attitude that it was his school and that he was going to run it in the way he wanted. This was a problem for some to the other parents at the school in Blair's mind because the ideas that had been brought to bear and the vision of the school were being compromised. Blair felt that as time went on they were looking less like an alternative school and more like a regular public school (Blair, Interview Data, 1997). When the disagreement about who would run the school was voiced, Crawford said that he confronted Harrison and was told in no uncertain terms that it was Harrison's 260

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school, he would be doing it his way, and if they did not like it they could start their own school. It was at that time that the idea of a charter school was first suggested (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). By September 26, 1995, the newspaper asked the question about whether any of the city's alternative schools would be applying for charter status. At that writing, none of the schools had formally applied to become a charter school, but the Core Knowledge School and the Experiential School spokes people admitted that the schools were considering this option (Local Newspaper, September 26, 1995, p. AI). Once the word was out that three parents from the alternative school were thinking about chartering, parents began posturing themselves against one another. Dr. Crawford believes that Ron Harrison began to garner support for himself and his way of running the school and that families came to take a stance against each other. After this, Crawford said the district began to bring in support to help Harrison convince those attending the alternative school that few people would back the charter. Crawford indicated that, although parents were asked to sign a pledge sheet initially and he believes over 250 of the 400 families signed it, a district-sanctioned survey showed that only 60 families supported it. From his perspective, this was another example of district game playing and manipulation of information (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Ron Harrison did not speak to the disintegration of his relationship with the charter school founders or to their decision to charter, when interviewed. Yet, in an article in the Local Newspaper he was quoted as saying that he could not support the charter application at that time. He read from a letter of support written by the superintendent and stated that he viewed the letter as evidence of the strong relationship between the district and the alternative Core Knowledge School. Harrison was unwilling to compromise this relationship to gain charter status (Local Newspaper, October 19, 1995, p. A8). 261

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In the same article, several parents spoke about the idea of a charter school. One parent, Karen Adams said that she found the behaviors of the charter group appalling and that she feared that a breakdown in the positive relationship with the district would result. "They're a nest of vipers, and they're trying to hijack the school," Adams said. She went on to say, "This whole school was predicated on a belief of partnership. Their new thing is to have a school where parent have total control and teachers are hired to help." Another unnamed parent described the charter proposal as a "hostile takeover". Cathy Miller said she could not see any reason to charter. "We're having good relations with the school district. I don't see any reason to give (it) up," Miller said (pp. Al-A8). Alice Turner believes that the Core Knowledge School is truly a partnership between parents, staff, and the district. It was a partnership that was put into jeopardy when a few of the members of the governing board decided to charter in her opinion. She indicated that she was somewhat unsettled when she and her husband spoke to Dr. Crawford and he said his intention all along was to have a school where he could call the shots. Turner said that Dr. Crawford had come to realize that that was no longer the case at the Core Knowledge School and his only alternative was to leave and start his own school (Turner, Interview Data, 1997). One Charter School's Journey After weeks of emotional discussion, five individuals who had been involved in the creation of the Core Knowledge alternative school submitted an application for a Core Knowledge Charter School on October 31, 1995. AI Russell, one of the applicants said that, "The biggest reason the alternative school program is not effective is because of the fact that the word of district officials and others can easily be amended and changed." He went on to say that, "A charter school is a legal binding document with 262

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the force of law behind it that sees to it that the agreement is locked in place" (Local Newspaper, November 1, 1995, p. B1). Cathy Miller, a member of the Core Knowledge School's Advisory Board, indicated that the month prior to the application for charter status was very difficult and painful for everyone involved with the alternative school. "What's very sad is that it's splitting a lot of parents who have worked on this school from the grass roots up," Miller said. In a survey of Core Knowledge School families, 73% were not in favor of becoming a charter school while 27% were in favor of chartering. The alternative school decided to remain an alternative school and opposed the charter, but they did wish success to the group leaving to apply for a charter. Miller said that once the decision was made the alternative school could move forward. She felt that those who stayed with the alternative school would need to work hard for reunification (p. B I). The alternative school principal, Ron Harrison, wanted to move the school into a recovery phase. "It has been emotionally draining for a lot of our people. We realize that we've got a lot of discussing and careful listening to do in the days and weeks ahead. There were a lot of issues raised in the charter discussion that we will have to deal with," Harrison said. Included among those issues were permanence of facilities, school funding, planning for a junior high program, and ensuring continued district support (p. B 1). Those remaining with the alternative school later were involved in emotional discussions and negotiations that involved the possible displacement of students at a district elementary school, building a new facility, and providing district transportation. Charter Schools: An Election Platform. While the alternative school supporters and the charter school advocates were holding discussion about whether to charter or not, it is not surprising that school board candidates were asked to declare positions school choice. Ten candidates were asked to respond to a question about what they would like to see happen with alternative programs and school of choice in Vista School District. 263

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Their responses were published in the Local Newspaper on September 26, 1995. Although choosing different words, each of the candidates stated that school choice and alternative schools were important for the students, parents, and the community. A few of the candidates cautioned that alternatives schools based on whims versus real need should not be allowed. One candidate said that she did not want to see alternatives take over neighborhood schools. Most of the candidates also spoke to the issue of district resources and alternative schools (p. A6). As the election neared, more specific responses on the candidates' opinions on charter schools were sought. While the question of alternative schools was consistently supported by the candidates, the issue of charters schools brought mixed reviews from the candidates as information was presented to different audiences in different locations. At an election forum on October 10, 1995, the question of charter schools was raised. Mrs. Crawford was one of the organizers. She said that, "The candidates were all so careful. They were not in neutral territory. They knew the answers needed for this audience." The forum took place in a room at the Core Knowledge School that was packed with people, mostly parents of children attending one of Vista's three alternative elementary schools. During the meeting, all candidates in attendance said that they supported charter schools. Candidate Patty Kaufman did so with some reservations. She said that she did support such innovations, but that the costs of these programs should be closely scrutinized before final approval. She followed this by saying, "Do what's right for your child but not at the expense of any other child." She mentioned several schools in the district and said children at all of these schools are equally important. Therefore decisions about charter schools had to be viewed in the context of the district's needs (Local Newspaper, October 11, 1995, pp. B 1, B4). On October 19, a similar forum was sponsored by an area inter-faith council. Over 264

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150 people attended this meeting with representation from groups supporting and opposing charter schools. While the previous week the candidates had expressed support of charter schools, at this forum a somewhat different set of opinions was shared. Anna Mosely said that chartering an alternative school in Vista School District would "be going one step further away from the right direction." Her opponent, Tom Wilson said that he did not support a Vista School District charter. "I favor alternative schools as a good model for Vista School District," he said. "I would not favor charter schools as an alternative to alternative schools" (Local Newspaper, October 20, 1995, B1). Joe Westgate felt that effective site-based management would be an excellent alternative to charter schools. Patty Kaufman recognized that charter schools were safe havens for dissatisfied parents, but once again shared concerns. She said that she didn't believe that charter schools are "on the cutting edge of school reform." One candidate, John Bradshaw, continued to say that he was in favor of charter schools. Other candidates' positions about charter schools were not mentioned in the article (p. B3). School Board Requests More Time. Before November 1, 1995, the board of education had received two applications for charter schools. One request carne from a splinter group of the Core Knowledge School, the other from the Experiential School. The applications followed on the heals of the adoption of a definition of and new set of regulations on alternative schools and preceded the board election that was held on Tuesday, November 7, 1995. This meant that the school board, with four newly elected members, had the charter school decision as one of the first issues it tackled. The decision had to be weighed heavily, and board members recognized that implications of this decision would dramatically alter the course of education in the district. Patty Kaufman, a board member elected on November 7, 1995, said she recognized that the decision was a 265

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precedent setting one. Returning board member, Sue Bennett said, "I have a list of questions that I'm interested in having answered." She expressed concerns about the benefits associated with and the costs of charter schools. Many of the school board members had not yet received copies of the charter applications (Local Newspaper, October 11,1995, p. AI). One factor that made the charter school decision more difficult was that the Core Knowledge applicants' proposal included a request that the school be.given a facility that housed the district's early childhood programs and a hands-on science center. The proposal also included a specification that space in an adjacent junior high school be provided for the charter school. AI Russell, one of the charter school applicants said, "Butler (a pseudonym) is the only site right now that can provide for a two-track elementary program. Having the two schools close together would be key to us, then parents could drive to just one spot in town" (p. A8). The charter law says that a charter school must not be charged rent for use of a facility deemed available. The board was faced not only with the decision about whether to grant the charter, they were also faced with the decision about whether a charter school had facility priority over programs that served preschool children and served as a resource center. At a charter school community forum on November 20, more than 200 people came out to hear about the proposed charter schools. Over 20 speakers shared concerns about the school-choice initiative. A parent of a student attending the junior high included in the Core Knowledge application expressed concerns that students currently enrolled and Jiving in the neighborhood would have to be transported to another location some distance from their homes (Local Newspaper, November 21, 1995, p. Al). After hearing over two hours of community input, board member Sue Bennett said, "It's really a complicated issue." A local preschool owner spoke passionately about the early childhood center. He said, "The building is fully accessible (for disabled 266

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students), and we would ask that you please don'tjeopardize that." The director of the hands-on science center pleaded for continuing occupancy of Butler School. She said, "remaining in its current location is imperative for the center's existence and for making a long-term positive impact." She went on to say that, "It is not available space for the location of the choice schools"_ (p. A6). In each case, arguments made were articulate and impassioned. At a regularly scheduled board meeting on November 27, 1995, over 100 people attended to listen to or give input on the controversial charter school requests. During this meeting, the board of education asked the charter applicants to extend the amount of time allowed for the charter decision. By law, the local board is given 60 days from the receipt of an application to make its ruling. That put the deadline for the decision at December 31, 1995. Board members hoped that the applicants would approve the extension and give them permission to make the decision in mid-February, 45 days after the original deadline. Representatives from both schools stated that they would need to meet with other governing board members of their respective schools and that they would respond to the request the following morning (Local Newspaper, November 28, 1995, p. B1). On November 28, the applicants the Core Knowledge Charter School said they could not agree to an extension. AI Russell said, "We indicated to them that because they had established the November 1 deadline for submission of applications and the law says that they have 60 days, that the parents would like a decision by the end of December." He further stated that "We did feel that they had sufficient information to make a decision on the charter application, and we said we would be anxious to meet with them at their earliest convenience." A representative of the Experiential School said that they had not yet decided what their response would be. The president of the local school board said, "The next step is that we will make a decision in the 60 days." He went on to say that, "They're 267

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entitled to that by the state statute. But I made my position clear on Monday night-I will vote against it. I think it's deficient and it's not in the best interest of the students of Vista School District." Board member Bennett said, "It really shortens the time and our abilities to thoroughly look at all the issues" (Local Newspaper, November 29, 1995, p. B 1). The Experiential School surprised members of the board with a letter that said they wanted to negotiate issues with the board and that their charter application would be dropped if some concerns could be addressed. In the letter, the applicants listed issues related to more teacher planning time, different management styles, hiring, and a obtaining a permanent site for the school. The letter said that they felt that they could collaborate with the district to meet these goals and a charter was not necessarily needed. They did indicate that the 45 day extension requested by the board would be granted (Local Newspaper, December 1, 1995, p. B1). With four of seven new board members elected in November, the board felt that little time to study the potential effects of a charter school and had concerns about legal issues related to the approval of the school was afforded. Several issues that were of greatest concern were the governance or power structure of the school, employment, and the fiscal impact the school would have on other schools and on the district's fiscal condition. Based on their concerns over unresolved issues, members of the board decided that hiring an attorney to review the charter school's application was in the best interest of the entire school district. "The governance issue is a real concern," said Board member, Dan Wiseman. He also said, I think they think they're going to be a lot more independent and separate from the district than they are. We're still responsible legally for the students and it's going to be difficult to turn over some of the things they're talking about. Sue Bennett expressed concerns over the power structure of the school and how decisions would be made. She shared that she worried about the liability of the district and asked, "Who hears teacher, student and parent grievances, and how are they 268

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solved?" She asked, "What if someone is harassed? The district is still liable. These are questions that go through my mind as I read the document." She went on to say that she was not willing to displace the programs housed at Butler School, a request made by the charter applicants. I'm still questioning what is the best thing for kids and how do we get there. Is charter schools one of the ways to get there? And if it is, then how do we do it while still supporting the philosophies of a public education system? (p. B4) The application process is a time consuming one. Ideally, charter applicants would know the final decision by May 1. Even with a May 1 approval, the school must be created in less than four months in Colorado districts on a traditional calendar. To have a decision by May, districts have to back their deadline for applications to November 1. This date makes it possible for the local board of education to have 60 days for an initial decision and builds in time for the state board of education and local board of education to cycle through two sets of appeals. The deadline timing is unfortunate during school board election years such as the one described in 1995. In Vista School District, four of seven board members were replaced in an election on November 7. By the time members of the board had received copies of the application almost two weeks of the review period had elapsed. Some board members felt they had been thrust into a series of emotional community presentations and board meetings before opportunities to discuss philosophies, board practices, and goals had been afforded them (Wiseman, Interview Data, 1997). It is for this reason, the extension was sought by members of the board. The necessity for districts to set an application deadline near election time, thus reducing their review time, is a factor that may not have been considered at the time the legislation was drafted. The Charter Battle Rages On. Through out November and December, the charter issue was heavily debated in the newspaper, a charter presentations, and at school board meetings. Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, charter opponents and proponents 269

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took potshots at one another with words. One parent, Jane Smith, said that she felt betrayed by the charter applications. She remarked that the same individuals were advocating different curriculum "within" the district a few years ago are now promoting nothing short of private-school curriculums be taught in the public realm. She asked if other private schools within the community wanted public funding to be provided should the district feel obligated to do so. She insisted that filing for charter status, "destroys the trust and faith that the community was building for alternative schools" (Local Newspaper, November 26, 1995, p. E2). Shelly Brown strongly urged the district not to displace the early childhood center. She remarked that they services were free and invaluable to parents of young children. As a parent of two preschool children, Brown said that the center provided opportunities for children to learn educational computer games, borrow games and videos, and use toys. She also spoke to the information on child development and r services for special education that were available. She could not support the charter school if Butler School programs were to be displaced (Local Newspaper, November 27, 1995, p. A4). Dr. Crawford, in a segment on charter school pros and cons, commented on the past successes of the Core Knowledge Alternative School. He said, "It has brought in more than $240,000 in grants and has generated 130,000 hours of parental involvement." He went on to say that the Core Knowledge Charter School would make another school available to the 730 children on the current waiting list, the Core Knowledge sequence would increase academic success, the innovative aspects of the school were incentives for the passage of the law, and that approval Of the charter school would allow the district to distinguish itself as a district with real educational choices. He stated that changing school boundaries would make it possible for the charter school to share a facility with another school. He said, "Our proposal can be implemented without displacing any current K-9 students," apparently alluding to the 270

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fact that Butler School students were preschool age or older students not in residence. He voiced concerns that the board of education had not contacted the applicants to discuss the proposal during the 40 days that had passed since applying (Local Newspaper, December 10, 1995, p. E3). A local parent and school volunteer, Amanda While (a pseudonym), was critical of the Core Knowledge application. She said, "the Legislature has stated the purpose of providing charter schools is to foster innovation in education, and for community members to take responsible risks in the area of educational innovation." She felt it was unfortunate that the Charter Schools Act, "does not stipulate how this educational innovation is shared by all children, and in reality, it allows special interest groups to use tax dollars to operate segregated, special interest schools that serve the needs of a select few" (p. E3). In the views of at least one member of the editorial staff, the charter proposal failed to show a compelling need for approval. Concerns expressed included that parents sought to control a school and fund it with public dollars, that $1.3 million would be taken from other schools, that based on an economies-of-scale argument, the buying power of the district would be reduced, and that the displacement of the Butler School students was unacceptable. The editor also stated that the applicants failed to identify what benefits students at the charter school would receive that were not already available to the district's other students (Local Newspaper, December 11, 1995, p. A4). Toni Grenville fired back at While's comment on the sharing of innovative practices at the charter school when she said that "it is clear that not all parents WANT their children to share in the innovations that a charter allows." She believes that "Many have perhaps place 'convenience' ahead of education in their list of priorities for families." She refuted the charge that special interest groups were involved with the charter other than that, 271

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... the group of parents bonded by a genuine concern for the future of their children, those outraged by the direction our liberal 'education gurus' have taken us, and those parents willing to take action personally without assuming that someone else will see the problems and fix them. While accusations and harsh words were used on both sides of the argument, one objective of charter legislation is to promote school reform. Through information in the newspaper written by charter proponents, it is possible that some who had not thought of educational reform in the past may have been intrigued by the discussion and made efforts to learn more about choices in education. It is also possible that charter schools, as the mechanism to inspire change, forgot the power of honey in attracting others to one's side. Charter Denied. On December 22, Experiential School charter applicants announced that they had decided to withdraw their charter application. Negotiators for the school had been meeting with district administrators and a lead teacher said, "We haven't reached any agreement yet, but at this point we've had two meetings with the district and they've gone really well." A parent with children at the school said, "The general feeling at the school is that people are much more comfortable being part of the school district" (Local Newspaper, December 23, 1995, p. Al). With few days left to make a decision on the other charter application, one parent supporter of the charter school encouraged district officials to end the arguments and approve the charter. He stated that differences between the charter school and the other Core Knowledge School were due to the degree of independence from district policies, curriculum organization, and staff management. He characterized the charter applicants as being motivated by 'rational passion' for their children and the Vista School District motivation as "unnecessarily and maybe illegitimately paternalistic" CLocal Newspaper, December 24, 1995, p. E3). At the end of December, the Vista School Board denied the proposal for the Core Knowledge Charter School. The members of the school board cited numerous problems with the application, including the governance structure that excluded 272

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democratic processes, and a lack of evidence that a need for the school existed. T_he applicants responded that nothing in the law says that the leaders of the school must be democratically elected and cited the number of students on the waiting list as evidence for need (Local Newspaper, January 11, 1996, B1). Local Decision Appealed. The rejection the charter application was immediately submitted to the state board of education, on appeal. AI Russell, a charter applicant, felt that for those trying to start the charter school the basis of appeal was a lack of negotiations between district officials and charter applicants. He said, "we have not had any negotiations with the district, and because of that, they were incorrect in denying our application." In response to the appeal, a hearing at the Colorado Department of Education building was set for February 6 (Local Newspaper, January 11, 1996, p. Bl). With more than a dozen charter school advocates attending the hearing, AI Russell urged the state board members to overturn the decision of the district. In the 30 minutes allotted, Russell said that during the six weeks the board had used to review the application. He also stated that the applicants had indicated their availability to meet, but they had not been contacted by school board members to answer any questions or respond to any concerns. Central office administrators in attendance at the hearing were Sam Roberts, Steven Polk, and Rick Harris. Board member Ted Reynolds was also in attendance. To serve as spokesperson for the local board of education, attorney Kim Sanford (a pseudonym), was hired. Sanford, a specialist in charter school issues, presented the district's perspective on governance and need. Sanford argued that the applicants were not willing to change their positions on issues important to the district. At the end of the hearing, members of the state board of education told the local school board to reconsider its denial of the charter application. State board member Patti Johnson, said that she felt the issues could be resolved. "I just don't see them as 273

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unnegotiable," she said (Local Newspaper, February 8, 1996, p AI). John Evans, board member at large said that with careful communication in an informal manner, he felt the issues were resolvable. He said, "It's much better to get together and have a discussion about these issues." Board member Patricia Hayes sided with the district when she said that since the district already has a Core Knowledge School, it's already providing choices. Following the 4-3 decision of the state board, the district had 30 days to reconsider its decision. Two alternatives were then available to the local school board. They could approve the charter application or they could deny the application for a second time. If rejected again, state law would make it possible for the charter applicants to appeal the decision to the state board of education one more time (p. A 1 0). Negotiations Resume. To address the required response to the state board of education's vote, a negotiating team consisting or five members of the proposed charter school's board of directors, two members of the Vista School Board, and two central office administrators was constituted. The first meeting was set for Tuesday, February 20, almost two weeks after the state board hearing. With only 17 days left in which to negotiate, a three hour meeting was established for issue setting purposes. The school district representatives wanted to see the governance design and school budget. They wanted to discuss the issue of a facility for the school, as well. Charter school spokesperson, AI Russell said that he is an advocate for the charter school because he did not like what he saw happening at the district's Core Knowledge School. He said that "Parents have been taken out of the decision-making process." A second meeting was scheduled for the following evening (Local Newspaper, February 20, 1996, p. Bl). As negotiations continued, AI Russell commented, "We were encouraged to be able to give the board more information in these two sessions than they've received in two months." One of the board members, Dan Wiseman, agreed with Russell about the 274

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effectiveness of the negotiations. He stated, "I think, generally, that we've made some progress." Some charter proponents were disappointed that only board members Dan Wiseman and Sue Bennett were present. They felt that being able to work with the whole board would have made the process go more quickly. One charter school representative, Sherry Cooper, tried to speak to the difference between the alternative school and the charter school as being an accountability issue. She indicated that the way the charter was organized would give the parents more control over their tax dollars (Local Newspaper, February 24, 1996, p. B 1 ). Dr. Ben Crawford, also representing the charter school, explained the philosophy of Core Knowledge and said that the charter school would offer a much more strict delivery of the curriculum (p. B2). Governance concerns constituted major concerns for the members of the local board of education. The charter school applicants felt that the members of the board of directors should be appointed. In the 1995 application, the applicants recommended the that school be governed by a Board of Directors (BOD) who would have awareness of the philosophy and goals of the school. Five BOD members would comprise the board with each member serving a two-year term. The proposal also specified that the members of the BOD could be reappointed, but the appointing body was not specified. BOD members could be removed from the board by a majority vote of the BOD. If 10% of the parent population petitioned for the removal of a BOD member, the BOD would decide whether to take action or not. When a member of the BOD resigned, committee chairpersons would be called upon to appoint a new member (Core Knowledge Charter School Application, October 31, 1995, p. 22). Members of the local board of education opposed the governance plan. Sue Bennett stated that, "We are concerned that this is not an open process." She and Wiseman both said that they would like to see some form of election included in the determination of governing board membership. A request for modifications and more 275

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information on the governance plan was requested (Local Newspaper, February 24, 1996, p. B2). On the sidelines, a parent and husband of a district teacher, envisioned a plan to demonstrate support for the school board's decision to reject the charter. Don Hamilton drew up a petition asking the state board of education to respect the wishes of district voters. Hamilton argued that when the voters in this community elected the school board, they did so knowing where the candidates stood on the charter-school issue. Hamilton and other charter opponents believe the original vote of the school board should stand. By February 28, 1996, the Local Newspaper reported that over 100 signatures had been collected. The petition read in part, We, the undersigned citizens of Vista School District in Welton County (a pseudonym), Colorado, express our support for our elected Vista School District Board of Education and encourage it to continue to act in the best interests of the district without fear of interference from the state board of education. (p. B 1) In February 1996, a local reporter wrote that, after four days and about sixteen hours of negotiations, meetings ended with radical disagreements between both sides on at least two issues. One issue was the future location of the school. Charter applicants strongly requested space in either the old high school building or in the building that houses the early childhood and hands-on science centers. They also requested space in a junior high school near the early childhood center. Dr. Crawford encouraged the district board members not to sell the old high school. "There are lots of ways to make this work," he said. "We are asking that you work with us, please brainstorm with us to help you make this work" (Local Newspaper, February 29, 1996, p. Al). Dan Wiseman responded that "You are asking us to do some things that are not in the best interest of the school district as a whole. Selling the old high school is the most fiscally responsible thing we can do." Sue Bennett charged, "I'm hearing you say we need to put your needs above the rest of the district's." Both board members 276

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said that money from the sale of the old high school was needed for improvements to other district facilities. Charter applicants were encouraged to seek a non-district site. A second issue concerned the length of the charter school contract. The applicants requested a five-year contract and the district was prepared to offer a two-year contract. A two year contract was believed to be uninviting, according to charter applicants. They felt that owners of facilities that they might find suitable would not be willing to approve major architectural changes for such a short period of time. Members of the charter school group left negotiations saying that they did not feel that the board negotiated in good faith and that the district was not budging on these important points (p. A8). Conditional Approval Granted. It appeared that the charter applicants were victorious in their bid for a Core Knowledge charter school on March 4, 1996. The school board in a 5-2 vote approved the application for the school, but did not grant the applicants a facility in which to reside. Patty Kaufman, one of the board members who voted against the charter school said, "I cannot support this resolution in total or in part because it take opportunities away from other students." She also stated that the school did not set out to do what was intended in the law. She said that, "Nothing in this negotiations process has shown me that there is anything innovative about this school." Sue Bennett supported the application, but cautioned that the the district move slowly in its support of this effort. She advocated that the school start with students in kindergarten through sixth grade rather than the K-8 plan included in the application. Other stipulations in the approval included that the school be approved for a two-year term, the charter have a minimum of 150 students and a maximum of 300 students, the governance plan must include an election process, and a facility would have to be selected by June I, 1996. Charter applicants indicated that they were somewhat pleased by the approval. 277

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However, Dr. Crawford indicated that he could see no rationale for the elimination of the seventh and eighth grade classes except to go slow and to minimize change. Sherry Cooper concurred with Crawford's statement. "The board never brought this up as an issue of concern," she commented (Local Newspaper, March 5, 1996, p. A6). By March 6, charter applicants began to vent frustrations about the availability of adequate rental space in Hail. Hoping to find a space with 40,000 to 50,000 square feet, the applicants worked closely with real estate agents with little success. One site with 25,000 square feet was described as "pretty grim" by charter applicant AI Russell. When the applicants looked at the site, they saw evidence of rats. He also indicated that charter school board members were entertaining the idea of building their own school. "We are putting together what we feel are innovative approaches to make this work," he said (Local Newspaper, March 7, 1996, p. A 1 ). Toward the end of the month, charter school board members had selected a site that they felt would meet their needs. An old utility company building on the south side of town was chosen from five potential sites. The applicants felt that the building was well lighted, structurally sound, could be converted with little difficulty, and provided space for the school to expand. The grounds were found to be large enough to house a sizable playground and athletic fields. Charter applicants were optimistic that they had found a great location for the school (Local Newspaper, March 29, 1996, p. AI). Despite the promising conditions sparked by the location of a facility, charter board members were displeased by the actions of the Vista school board members. Before a standing-room-only crowd, the charter school board of directors announced that they had filed a second appeal with the state board of education (p. AI). Approval Appealed. The second appeal of the charter school group to the state board of education came as somewhat of a surprise move since the district had not rejected the charter, rather they had approved it. The appeal process had been established in the law to allow those whose applications had been denied a form of 278

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recourse. It would be interesting to know whether the appeals process was included to give charter applicants whose demands had not been fully met during negotiations a platfonn to force local district compliance. For it is in this manner that the authors of the Core Knowledge proposal filed their second appeal. One charter applicant said that the decision to appeal was based on conditions imposed by the board of education at its March 4, 1996 meeting. Of particular concern were the elimination of seventh and eighth grade classes and a student limit of 300 students for the first year. AI Russell admitted that the possibility of another appeal was discussed directly following the March 4 school board meeting when the decision to alter the original charter application was announced. He said, "We were stunned and shocked by the lack of good faith exhibited by Vista board members." By law, the state had five days to read the appeal, respond to it, and determine a date on which appeal hearing would be held (AI). Lawsuit Filed. In what might be considered a check-checkmate maneuver, the members of the local board of education filed a lawsuit against the state board of education and individually named the five charter applicants in the suit (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). The suit was filed one day prior to the hearing date of the appeal filed by the charter applicants. School board member, Ted Reynolds, stated that the suit filed on April 22, 1996 was a preemptive suit making known the district's belief that the state board of education should not be in a position of directing what local boards may do. It is his opinion that the charter law has given the state board the power to interfere with conditions negotiated between the local board and charter applicants. He said that the degree of power held by the state board places the district in a precarious position. The potential for state board interference means uncertainties in fiscal planning, facilities use, and policy practices because the state board can force a district into charter compliance. Reynolds believes that the local board had approved the charter 279

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application and that action should remove the right of the state board of education from taking action (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). Dr. Crawford did not see the lawsuit in that light. He described the school board members as not being law-abiding or law-respecting individuals. He found it atrocious that the school board sued individual parents and demanded damages and legal costs. He was particularly disturbed that one school board member said in a broadcast of the board meeting that individual parents had not been named in the lawsuit. His statement was corrected by the president of the school board, an action that was complimented by charter applicants. Dr. Crawford was pleased that at least one board member was dedicated to the truth (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Dr. Crawford was not alone in his disapproval of the actions of the school board. Similar sentiments about the lawsuit were shared by AI Russell, another charter school advocate, who remarked, We feel that's an outrageous use of taxpayers' money, an absolute denial of ever wanting a charter school in this district, and a complete exhibit of a lack of faith in a law passed by the Legislature, signed by the governor and utilized by every other district in this state. Russell was also dismayed by what he considered an unwillingness of district personnel to discuss the issues. He shared that "It's a little difficult to proceed if the people that are supposed to be making the decisions won't sit down and talk to you." Steven Polk responded that the school board had invested 16 112 hours in negotiations with charter applicants and that, in addition, the board had discussed the charter school proposal at several of its regularly scheduled meetings. "To say it hasn't been discussed is not quite representing it accurately," he said (Local Newspaper, April24, 1996, p. A10). When the state board of education ruled in favor of Vista School District, the lawsuit no longer had validity and was dropped (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). Another board member, Bill Evans, later clarified in an article by a local reporter that the lawsuit was to serve the purpose of clarifying the charter law. He stated that, "It was a request 280

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by the Vista School District for a judge to help us interpret a statute" (Local Newspaper, May 9, I996, p. AI). Charter's Opening Unlikely. Charter school applicants were angered by the suit in which five of them had been specifically charged. They speculated that the actions of the Vista School District board brought about the decision of the state board of education not to support the appeal. The Local Newspaper headline on May 9, I996 read, "Charter Plan Dropped for Now." Its author, a local reporter, indicated that the charter school would not open in the fall as planned, but the charter applicants vowed to submit an application for the following year. Matt Hanson, a member of the charter school's board of directors intimated that the district had set conditions that made it impossible for the charter school to succeed. "I have to hand it to the district," he said. "They did a great job. They have access to the same numbers we do. They knew what the real-estate situation was in Hail. They outmaneuvered us" (p. AI). Sherry Cooper also believed that district officials were aware of the costs of starting a charter school. She intimated that by setting the student limit at 300, that the charter would not be able to afford the $240,000 per year needed to rent the utility building. One parent who attended the charter meeting said she didn't understand why the choice she wanted for her child was not supported by the district. "We have the numbers and a waiting list and parents are taxpayers." She asked, "Why can't we have our choice in education for our kids?" At the end of the meeting, members of the charter school's board of directors encouraged parents to write to their legislators and newspapers to say that they were displeased with the actions of the district. A request for donations to pay legal fees and help them hire an attorney for the next round was made (p. A I 0). Evidence of parental outrage at the failure of the charter school appeared in press and at school board meetings almost simultaneously. In an impassioned soapbox article, Fred Anderson accused the district of, "resorting to courtroom scare tactics to intimidate dissent--and succeeded." He went on to say that the issue was Vista School 28I

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District versus the state of Colorado. He felt that the state lost because Vista School District fought a battle devoid of merit or cause. He continued by saying that, the district fought for continued primacy and the state board of education lost an opportunity to foster more competition. In his opinion, the district won out because they had more money and chose to attack the state through a lawsuit and a powerful attorney. He chastised the state board and said, "The judgment of the state board has avoided trial by law: will it withstand trial by conscience?" He charged that the state board of education betrayed its responsibility and its duty" (Local Newspaper, May 8, 1996, p. AS). At a school board meeting on May 13, 1996, Ellen Littleton was highly critical of the school board. She said, "This is a shameful misuse of authority and funds." Another woman said that money spent on the lawsuit should have been used by teachers to educate the children (Local Newspaper, May 14, 1996, p. AI). Another parent, Aaron Mills, accused the board of trying to "strangle" the charter school and of introducing obstacles in a manner designed to obstruct school choice and ignore the law (p. A6). While charter advocates charged the district with unfair practices and endeavoring to try to block the charter, school board members and some parents repudiated these charges. Board members defended their decisions about the charter school. Bill Evans, the school board president, admitted that a lawsuit was filed and that it did name the five charter school applicants, he claimed that was necessary to establish facts for the court ( p. A6). In an earlier article, the allegations of collusion were emphatically denied by Evans. He called them "absolutely, categorically, false" (Local Newspaper, May 9, 1996, p. AI). Board member, Ted Reynolds, reflects that the issue is larger than the approval or denial of the Core Knowledge charter school. He stated that the law gives power to the state board of education to hear cases involving charters that have been denied or 282

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revoked. He feels that the charter applicants wanted the state board to do was to "exceed its statutory provisions to wrest local school board control to determine specific provisions of charters." He asserts that when the charter applicants didn't get everything they asked for, they sought the assistance of the state board in overturning a local decision. Preventing that from happening was the reason for the lawsuit against the state board of education. He believed that the board's actions were serving the best interests of all of the students and the community (Local Newspaper, May 21, 1996, p. A6). Emil Klein, a community member, came to the defense of the school board in an article in the newspaper on May 20, 1996. He reiterated the importance of the board's lawsuit in an effort to prevent the state board from dictating the terms of the charter. He wrote, "The implication that the Vista School Board misused taxpayer money by engaging a lawyer is unfair. Those who forced actions detrimental to public education in the district are responsible for wasting taxpayer money." With hundreds of hours of administrative time and energy invested in negotiating the contract, Klein feels that the charter proponents rather than the board should be held accountable for the enormous waste of resources resulting from their actions (Local Newspaper, May 20, 1996, p. A4). Amy Scott was angered at the actions of the charter school proponents. She charged that 360 people out of a district of 22,000 students have raised a ruckus about how poorly they have been treated, and as a result she believes that they have been given a huge media platform. Scott encouraged parents to recognize that about 200 hours of top district administrative time had been spent in negotiations while trying to balance their obligations to the rest of the district's students. She stated that was a lot of time to spend on a bad-faith effort and that it was time that might have been better spent in program improvement or enrichment programs. She urged readers to decide if the conditions of the board were truly unreasonable, if it was unfair to require a 283

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democratic process of the charter applicants, and if it was irresponsible to require that they start small. She concluded by saying, The charter group has gotten kid glove treatment, at our expense throughout this process. Putting together a new school is tough. They screwed it up. Now they should act civilized and let the rest of us get on with educating our children. (Local Newspaper, May 20, 1996, p. A4) Parents Band Together to Fight Charters. At school board meetings and in the press, the words of members of the Coalition for Strong Public Schools have resounded. The coalition originated as an offshoot of a group that originally formed to support school board candidates before the November 1995 school-board election. After the election, individuals did little collectively until the group officially organized in April 1996. At that time it established a goal to support efforts to improve public schools in the community. Emil Klein, elected chairman for the group said, "These are schools for all of our students--not just for a particular group of students. We're not great fans of the charter group." Klein went on to say, "The coalition has 144 people on its mailing list and an additional 227 parents who have expressed interest in the group." The group also plans to fight vouchers, fight for equitable school funding, work to reduce class size, and keep tabs on the state board of education. They hope to bring about reform of the Colorado Charter Schools Act (Local Newspaper, May 30, 1996, p. B 1 ). The grass-roots efforts of this group to support non-charter schools was certainly an outcome not anticipated by those who drafted the charter school legislation. Try. Try. Try Again. Not easily discouraged, the charter proponents who had applied to start a charter school in Fall 1995 were back again with a revised application on October 1, 1996. The new application was replete with changes including a new name. Applicants of Freedom Charter School proposed to extend the school day and school year and to add an expanded science curriculum. The applicants also indicated that they would consider requiring uniforms if parents were interested in doing so. Preliminary School Board Appraisal. A draft of the application first submitted included information that the school board said was missing from the previous 284

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proposal including a statement of inclusiveness, a diversity plan, and a description of ways the school would target at-risk students (Local Newspaper, September 26, 1996, p. B 1). A request for a section of the old high school was included in the application. Because they did not anticipate that a district facility would be provided, the applicants suggested two different scenarios for the charter's term length. If a district facility was provided the applicants were content with a two-year contract. If they were required to locate their own building they desired that a five-year contract be awarded so they would be able to make improvements to an existing building (p. B2). On October 14, 1996, the school board met and voiced concerns about two aspects of the charter proposal. The first concern was that no provisions in the charter required a demonstration of students' progress toward learning district standards. Patty Kaufman said, "As we march down the road to being standards-based, any program that comes to us now must be accountable to the same standards with our schoolsapples to apples." Matt Hanson replied that the school did plan to look at the district's standards-based tests, but since all the tests had not yet been developed, the charter applicants were not prepared to commit to them. He did remark that the students would take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a test used in other schools in the district (Local Newspaper, October 15, 1996, p. B 1). As an advisory committee to the board, the district's accountability committee reviewed the draft of the application and felt they could not recommend approval or denial of the application at that time because the draft was incomplete. This committee proffered the second concern brought up by the board at this meeting, that the application did not adequately address communication between the district and itself. The chair of the accountability committee indicated that the underlying tone was one of isolationism. He went on to say that "The charter application had little to offer in way of partnership between the district and itself." Board member Ted Reynolds said "I would like a commitment at least that the charter is a partner with us and is willing to 285

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share with us the pitfalls we can avoid." The charter applicants verbally responded that they would be willing to communicate with the district if afforded a charter (p. B2). Accountability Committee Reviews Application. After reviewing the actual application, the district accountability committee gave it a basically favorable review on October 28, 1996. The committee chairperson stated, "There are a number of ways in which the charter school is beneficial--they offer another choice, curriculum, and innovative ways to use teachers. At the very least it's a way to find out what may or may not work well." However, several concerns were outlined by the committee including how the school would provide for a facility and its overall fiscal impact on the district. Matt Hanson addressed to facility question by saying that the school planned to use a non district site. Once enrollment goals had been met, the charter applicants intended to lease a privately owned building. District administrator, Rick Harris indicated that the charter school would have a financial impact similar to that of the alternative schools. He shared that the charter school would leave seats empty in neighborhood schools causing some district buildings to operate below capacity. He also said that fewer students in classes is advantageous instructionally, but it provides less funds for schools without reducing costs such as utilities and administrative costs (Local Newspaper, October 29, 1996, p. Bl). Bones of Contention. Throughout negotiations, the plan of the charter school to enroll junior high students was one that the school board found hard to accept. One of Freedom Charter School's board of directors, Patrick Blair, argued that the junior high piece was at the heart of the school. The applicants wanted to hire junior high teachers who had specialized training in science and mathematics to mentor elementary teachers and teach the upper-level classes. "What you're attempting to do maybe very unrealistic, especially the mentoring piece, countered school board member Dan Wiseman. He urged the applicants to start simply and get the concept down first before 286

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trying to become so expansive with programmatic changes (Local Newspaper, October 31, 1996, p. B1). Economic ramifications were perhaps the greatest concerns of the members of the board. "Certainly I am not opposed to charter schools for research and development efforts if it can help us in learning how to teach better," board member Ted Reynolds said. "But the district cannot have a proliferation of charters because it will take away greatly from the money we have to deal with all of our neighborhood schools." Rick Harris echoed these concerns when he said, "Any choice or alternative program drives up the cost of running the district. They're taking students out of our buildings which decreased our operation efficiency." Harris estimated that the district would lose operating effectiveness to the tune of $608,678 if 420 students enrolled at Freedom Charter School (Local Newspaper, November 24, 1996, p. A8). Freedom Charter School Wins Approval. Once again, the five initiators of the charter school had won approval for their application from the Vista school board. Board members voted 5-2 to support the school. Board member Dan Wiseman voted to approve the charter school but said that he will keep a close eye on the school's accountability and assessment. He further stated that whether charter schools work remained for him an unanswered question. He also stated that the reality is that state law requires careful consideration of charter schools and that he was unwilling to put the district through the same scenario that had played out the preceding year (Local Newspaper, November 26, 1996, p. A 1, A8). Board members Patty Kaufman and Sue Bennett did not support the approval of the school. Kaufman said that she would have found a K-6 school much less offensive. She believed that having students set apart until the tenth grade would not be in the best interests of the students or of the district. Sue Bennett could not support the charter school for several reasons. She wanted the charter school to actively recruit different segments of the population and the charter 287

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school felt that they should open enrollment on a first-come, first-serve basis. She said that the charter applicants believed requiring recruitment was a double standard since neighborhood schools do not have such a requirement. Bennett said that from her perspective a charter school should draw from the whole community and enrollment should reflect the diversity of the district. That should include low-income, minority, handicapped, and all kinds of students. She felt that the word-of-mouth kind of recruitment the charter school engaged in would bring about a homogeneous population. Bennett was also concerned about the use of public dollars to fund what many constituents believed to be a private education. She said generally those interested in the charter have like beliefs and similar philosophies. These philosophies may not be incorporated into the educational system, but they become available in charter schools by their very nature (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). Meanwhile, one charter applicant was elated by the decision of the school board. Matt Hanson reported that, "We were anticipating a positive vote from what we had heard, so we've been preparing to celebrate." He acknowledged that the board of directors would have to begin their real work at that point. Hanson said that the first two items that would have to be settled were determining the location for the school and hiring the headmaster. Identifying a suitable location and approval of the school's budget had to meet an April 15 deadline (Local Newspaper, November 26, 1996, p. AI, A8). Much of the work of the charter applicants was out of the public eye following approval of the school. A warehouse that had been leased by a manufacturing company was deemed to be the best location. The efforts of Dick Nelson (a pseudonym), a local contractor, are credited with the school's ability to secure the site and move forward with their plans. According to Sherry Cooper, "Dick Nelson and the Nelson Company, what they did for us was just an incredible showing of community support" (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). Interviewing of a headmaster 288

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' moved forward and by April I5, the field had been narrowed to two candidates, one from Michigan and the other from Greeley. On that date, 386 students were on the school's waiting list, just 6 students shy of the school's desired enrollment figure (Local Newspaper, April I5, I997, p. AI). Charter Applicants Seek Loan. In March, a reporter for the newspaper reported that a new twist had arisen in Freedom Charter School's efforts to obtain a site for the school. At the meeting of the Vista board of education on March 24, members of Freedom School's board of directors asked the school board for a loan of $I.6 million so that they could renovate a warehouse they were considering as a site. During the meeting, members of Freedom School's board of directors indicated that they had sought other sources of funding, but had not enough collateral to satisfy lending agencies. Several of Vista's board members were up front during the meeting stating that they would not support a loan of this nature. One board member who did not vote to approve the application at the board meeting on October 24, was quoted as saying, "There is absolutely no way I would contribute $I.6 million for this venture." She further stated, "We were pretty up front in saying this is what you get and good luck" (Local Newspaper, March 25, I997, p. AI). At the eleventh hour, the members of Freedom Charter School's board of directors were able to obtain funding for site renovations from a firm in Arizona. On April 15, I997, a reporter wrote that the Invest-Co, Inc. (a pseudonym) had agreed to a $900,000 loan. Invest-Co is a company that specializes in financing charter schools. At the time of the approval of the loan to the Hail charter school applicants, Invest-Co had approved 65 charter school loans. A spokesperson for the company stated, "We firmly believe alternative education is a tremendous benefit for all society." The information on the loan approval was shared by members of the charter school's board of directors at the Vista Board of Education meeting on April I4, 1997. With that news, Vista Board of Education members voted unanimously to approve the 289

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location of the Freedom Charter School and its financial plan. The facility, a 46,070 square foot warehouse, is located on 5.96 acres on the east side of Hail. Freedom School's board members agreed to pay $16,700 a month in rent or $200,400 in rent per year. In addition, they are responsible for an annual payment to Invest-Co of $226,820 a year for a period of five years to pay off the loan (Local Newspaper, April 15, 1997, p. A1). Freedom Charter School faces an annual liability of $427,200 to cover facility rental and renovation-loan costs for the next five years. The loan from Invest-Co was the turning point in Freedom Schools ability to obtain a site for the school. The warehouse that had been identified by the charter applicants was now within reach and a local contractor was selected to complete the renovations. According to Sherry Cooper, one of the charter school applicants, the owner of the company made contributions to that project that demonstrating an "incredible showing of community support" (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). By the end of May 1997, a reporter for the newspaper wrote that Freedom Charter was near full. Classes in kindergarten, first, second, and seventh grade had as many students as they could accept. Spaces were still available for students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. The ability of the charter school to recruit as close to 420 students as possible was critical in ensuring the school's ability to open. Since the school would receive money on a per pupil basis a full complement of students was needed to meet their financial obligations (Local Newspaper, May 23, 1997, p. A3). Success at Last. With nearly a full enrollment and no roadblocks in sight, the first charter school in Hail opened its doors on September 2, 1997. "This is what it's all about," said Matt Hanson as he walked down the hallway on the first day of school. Some amenities were not available when the school first opened. The gym and lunchroom were not finished so physical education classes and lunch would be outside for a while. The computer room was done, but the school was still seeking computer and software donations. The floors were not yet tiled, and evidence of the last tenant 290

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was still visible on the floors. "There's lots of little details to take care of, mostly odds and ends," said Hanson. Spirits seemed undampered when the school's 410 students and their parents arrived to start classes on the first day (Local Newspaper, September 3, 1997, p. A3). When Pandora opened the box, from it flew many things the world had not known before. So too, when charter legislation was unleashed upon the world, came many things heretofore unknown. In Vista School District school board members used the charter school issue as an election platform, newly elected school board members found themselves in a position in which an historical district decision was made, the state board of education usurps power over local school board decisions, alternative schools gained bargaining power, school board members sued the state board members and charter applicants, parents formed anti-charter school coalitions, and newly-fmmed companies got into the charter loan business. These outcomes were not foreseen, nor were their effects imagined before Pandora's box was open. 291

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CHAPTER 7 EFFECTS OF PANDORA'S PRESENCE Once open, Pandora could not undo the consequences of her actions. For from Pandora's open box a variety of mercurial qualities was unleashed upon the world and could no longer be contained. When Pandora realized what she had done, she closed the lid on the box in time to prevent the last quality, hope, from escaping. Will Pandora's actions trigger the end of public education as we know it? Will the effects of the action strengthen the quality of educational programs? Will increased opportunities for choice meet the needs of the at-risk? Will innovation in public schools result? We can only hope. Effects of Legislative Initiatives In chapters 4 and 5, the legislative outcomes of the Charter Schools Act were described and five primary intentions were outlined. These intentions included providing for more choices, addressing the needs of at-risk students, increasing involvement of parents and community members, incorporating new curriculum and instruction, and being innovative in design. Where outcomes represent the immediacy of action, effects constitute the changes that take place and are sustained over time (Lasswell, 1971, p. 48). It is the effects that are most influential in cycling back to the local school districts. The effects of Colorado's charter school legislation based upon the experiences of Vista School District follow. More Choices Legislators hoped that charter schools would afford more choices to parents than 292

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what they were able to find in traditional public schools. Yet, in Vista School District, choices had been implemented prior to the passage of the law. An alternative high school for at-risk students had been in existence in Hail for many years. A multi-age school was opened for 36 students between the ages of four and 12 in 1970. Several elementary schools were built about the same time and were constructed to address an open-space learning philosophy. As parents and staff expressed the desire to have more choices, the district adopted a policy on alternative schools. Three such schools were approved in Spring 1993. An International Baccalaureate school-within-a-school at a high school has been in operation since Fall 1994. A junior high school included a Core Knowledge strand in 1996. Another junior high implemented a strand of the International Baccalaureate program in 1998. Despite these educational opportunities, even more choice was desired by some parents. Following the adoption of the Charter School Law in 1993, two applications for charter schools were filed in Vista School District and a third application was written, but not filed at this writing. Both of the submitted charter applications came from individuals affiliated with alternative school programs. The Experiential School application was withdrawn after district officials and alternative school parents and staff negotiated issues presented by the applicants. One applicant for this school said that an effect of the charter legislation was that the district was more open to meeting the needs of the alternative schools for fear they would go the charter route (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). The second application came from a splinter group of the alternative Core Knowledge School. The charter follows the E. D. Hirsch Core Knowledge sequence, as does the charter school. A Freedom Charter School applicant cited that a critical effect has been the power of the contract in ensuring that what they want to have happen would in fact happen at the school. She said that, "There is some guarantee because of the law. We have a contract, so we have the power of the law behind us." 293

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She went on to express her opinion that the alternative Core Knowledge School exists at the whim of the Vista School Board. She felt that, unless the charter school screws up, the school district would be unable to make them go away (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). With the approval of a second Core Knowledge school, parents preferring this curricular approach now stand a better chance of having children accepted into a Core Knowledge school. While members of the board of directors of the second Core Knowledge school believed that their school was different than the Core Knowledge alternative school, with respect to philosophy, it was questionable whether the replication of the alternative school has had the effect of increasing the diversification of schools available in Hail. Matt Hanson recognized that a core Knowledge school was available in Hail, but felt that the charter school offered some features not prevalent in the existing school. He stated that the charter school can do things that a regular school can not. For example, he said that the school planned to extend the school day and possibly would require the students to wear uniforms (Local Newspaper, November 24, 1996, p. A8). The school also would include a classes for junior-high students with specialists in science and math hired to teach these grades and to mentor elementary teachers (Local Newspaper, October 31, 1996, p. B1). To date, these elements have not been adopted by other schools in the district. If adopted district wide, the effects of this more secondary school approach to science and math instruction in elementary schools would result when the school district found it necessary to hire individuals with degrees in content fields versus teachers, changes in compensation of content specialists increased to entice them to the school environment, and district costs rose as the purchase of more specialized materials and equipment occurred. The opinion that the approval of the charter school would not increase the diverse 294

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curricula of schools in Hail was certainly voiced by more than one public school advocate. Julie Evans, a university staff member, was of the opinion that the creation of the charter school was a merely a proliferation of Core Knowledge schools. She saw this a a way of further splintering the school district for reasons she felt were unclear. She went on to speculate that a network of people, largely involved with individuals from one religious denomination, were involved in the generation of the second Core Knowledge school. She shared that, "If I had to characterize it, I would say it does seem to be a white, conservative, Christian element and that it was started from a close-knit group of people." She felt that as more and more same-philosophy schools were created an increase in stratification in the district and greater inequities would result. Evans believed that, unfortunately, education for the common good loses consideration when individuals and groups put their needs above those of the community (Evans, Interview Data, 1997). The editorial board at the newspaper commented that the Charter School Law promoted no options not currently available to a district. These staff members also stated, "The Core Knowledge Charter School proposal fails to define what additional benefit will occur for Vista School District students beyond what was available within the current alternative school status" (Local Newspaper, December II, 1995, p. A4 ). Jerry Mann wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper in which he said that, "Proposing an unnecessary, duplicative and expensive new school is a sure fire way to harm, not help, the education system on which the future of Hail, Colorado, and America depends" (Local Newspaper, June 4, 1996, p. A4). District personnel also question whether the charter was providing something new for the district's constituents. Bill Allen an elementary principal, indicated that he did not think any need for a charter school in Vista School District existed. "What I saw was a breakaway faction from the neighborhood schools who aligned themselves with the Core Knowledge alternative school and found that it wasn't radical or extreme 295

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enough for their views," he said. "Basically, the curriculum that's being used at the Freedom Charter School is exactly the cmTiculum that's being used at the Hirsch Core Knowledge School." Allen was troubled that no real innovation takes place in either of the schools (Allen, Interview Data, 1997). Sam Roberts, a high-ranking central office administrator, shared concerns that the charter school movement appears to be nothing more than a platform for the development of E. D. Hirsch schools. He said that "The way it (Charter School Law) got translated though was that new and innovative quickly became E. D. Hirsch Core Knowledge with at least one-third of the programs." He further stated that "E. D. Hirsch and a lot of the conservative groups out there are now pegging the Charter School Law as a way to expand this particular program." Roberts believed that an effort to expand Core Knowledge schools occurred in Vista School District with the replication of the Core Knowledge alternative school curriculum and philosophy reflected in the principles and practices at the Freedom Charter School (Roberts, Interview Data, 1997). While Vista School District has been open to choice, this has not been the case in all school districts in Colorado. As legislative authority has forced districts to consider educational alternatives, districts that were previously closed to requests for choice will find it necessary to rethink their position. Charter applicants may discover that a different level of responsiveness and an increase in negotiating leverage now exists. Parents may be better able to find a school that more closely matches their academic and philosophical needs. This can best happen when the choices offered afford families more options than have existed in the past. Issues of stratification must be monitored if our schools are to ensure that the needs of all of the nation's children are met. At-Risk Students When members of the Vista school board rejected the application for a charter school 296

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in December 1995, members of the board were concerned that the proposal did not explain how the district's diverse populations, including at-risk students would be served (Local Newspaper, February 7, 1996, p. B1). It appeared to at least one board member that, despite statements to the contrary, the new charter school would enroll a population that was not inclusive of the demographics of the community (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). The effects of charter schools on at-risk populations was not a consideration of the charter applicants initially. Diversity in the First Effort to Charter. In the application dated October 31, 1995, a section on admissions was included. In this section, a statement about non discriminatory practices was described. In summary, the statement said that no distinction based on race, gender, ethnicity, or religion would be made. Guidelines did say that first right of admissions would be afforded the children attending the existing Core Knowledge School. Children of teachers employed by the school would be granted a second-level preference. The use of a first-come, first-served policy would be employed for all other students, beginning with some that had been on the alternative school's waiting list. Siblings of students enrolled at the school would be given priority placement and students residing in the district's boundaries always would have priority over non-district residents. No indication was made in the charter application that efforts would be made to seek minority students (Core Knowledge Charter School Application, October 31, 1995, p. 30). Information about diversity in existing alternative schools was cited by charter proponents and opponents following the charter application. Charter school advocates believed the school's enrollment policy to be an inclusive one, one that included minorities and behaviorally and academically struggling students. Opponents of the charter school from the Coalition for Strong Public Schools collected evidence to show that this would not be the case. They presented evidence on the lack of diversity in the alternative schools and made the case that the charter would be homogeneous in nature. 297

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Diversity in Alternative Schools. In the newspaper on December 10, enrollment practices were criticized by a non-charter school parent, Amanda While. She said that "Charter schools filter their student populations, selecting the best and brightest. The most vulnerable children are left behind" (Local Newspaper, December I 0, 1995, p. E3). Charter proponent, Toni Grenville countered these charges in an article in the newspaper on December 20, 1995. She wrote: I wonder if Amanda While has looked at either the charter school proposal's enrollment policy or the previous Core Knowledge School ITBS scores. I doubt it, for if she had, she would not have said that we 'select the best and brightest,' because the policy says 'first come, first served,' and she would have seen in the ITBS results that the 'most vulnerable children' are not 'left behind,' but rather make the greatest gains by using the Core Knowledge curriculum. (p. A4) Sherry Cooper spoke to the diversity of students in the alternative school when she said that, "The first year, the day we opened the school, in the third grade we had more than 50% below, in the bottom two quartiles. And then after the end of the year, we retested the kids and the whole population had shifted up, so that now we were heavily skewed to the upper levels of performance." She also stated that this same scenario would be repeated for academically-challenged students who would attend the charter school (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). Dr. Crawford expressed his beliefs that the alternative school was quite diverse in nature. He said that in the alternative Core Knowledge School, We matched the district in at-risk students. We matched the district in racial distribution, and in spite of it all, we also showed dramatic improvement in ITBS scores over our admission scores, and that's like the other charters, the other Core Knowledge schools around the country. (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997) Don Hamilton, an outspoken charter opponent and member of the Coalition for Strong Public Schools, conducted a study of the alternative schools and concluded that the existing schools were skewed demographically. Hamilton looked at the three alternative schools in existence in Hail, the Core Knowledge School, the Experiential School, and the Language Immersion School. The data he collected were presented to 298

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the board of education in a written report that he had authored (Hamilton Report, 1996, p. 1). In the same study, Hamilton reviewed socioeconomic factors, ethnic mix, and the percentage of children living with both parents. Incorporated into the study were data collected from a March 1996 survey of special education programs. Hamilton concluded that, "There is no doubt at all that alternative programs [show a] bias toward kids with two-parent families" (p. 2). Both the Core Knowledge School and Experiential School showed a higher percentage of students in two-parent homes than the district norm. In addition, he shared his observations at a board meeting on June 27, 1996. He believed that one problem that prevents single-parent families from enrolling in alternative schools was the lack of transportation. For some single parents, getting a child to a school not located in the neighborhood can be difficult if not impossible to arrange. He also stated that he found that, while perhaps unintentional, the message has been given that volunteerism in alternative schools was required. Therefore, those not able to volunteer in the school were not welcome (Local Newspaper, June 28, 1996, p. B 1). In a rebuttal, Tom Bruce president of the parent advisory board for the Core Knowledge School, criticized the Hamilton Report saying that Hamilton chose statistics to show the schools in a poor light. He also said that to use the alternative school as a means to discourage the district from approving the charter school was unfair because the schools would be fundamentally different. Bruce also laid some of the blame for the school's lack of diversity at the feet of the school board. He said that the original proposal for the alternative school called for some slots to be reserved for at-risk students, but the board insisted that all slots be filled. He reported that the best means to counter the lack of diversity would be for the district to provide transportation for the charter and alternative school students (Local Newspaper, July 9, 1996, p. B 1 ). 299

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A research team comprised of personnel from the university, community college, and school district conducted a follow-up to Hamilton's study at the request of the board of education. They found that with the exception of the Language Immersion School, the alternative schools' students appear to come from families of higher socioeconomic status and with a higher level of education than the general population. Authors warned that lack of comparative data on Vista School District families made a definitive response difficult. In conducting the study, researchers interviewed 20% of the parents at each of the alternative schools. Factors such as socioeconomic status and effects of separating students by race, social class, and cultural background were reviewed because of national concern voiced about school choice, said researcher Julie Evans (Local Newspaper, July 16, 1996, p. AI). Study results showed that in two of the alternative schools, about 60% of the Core Knowledge School and the Experiential School families make more than $50,000 a year. About 66% of the Experiential School mothers and over 50% of the Core Knowledge mothers have college degrees. In the community at large, 22% of the households make more than $50,000 a year. In Hail, 42.7% of the residents above the age of 25 are college graduates. Without aggregate data on families with children attending neighborhood schools, it was hard to say with complete certainty that a discrepancy exists according to Evans. She did say that "Common sense tells you from the sample that unless you live in a much richer town than I think we do, then the parents tend to come from a higher socioeconomic background." The study also found that the Core Knowledge School, and to a lesser degree, the Experiential School, were less diverse than most of the district's other elementary schools. Tom Bruce rejected the findings of Hamilton. He responded by saying that comparing the alternative schools to district averages was misleading. He pointed out that large discrepancies often occur between schools in different locations within the same community. He said that, "We're not trying to say we're the most diverse school 300

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in the district, but we're not the worst in the district either" (Local Newspaper, July 16, 1996, p. A6). With reference to racial diversity, the percent of non-Hispanic students in the Core Knowledge School was 94%. At the Experiential School, the percentage was 87.7%. District averages showed that the percentage district wide was 84.2% at the time the report was conducted. The editorial staff of the newspaper cautioned readers against using these data for ammunition as charter opponents and proponents engage in battle. Instead, they suggest that the data be used by the existing schools to ensure that the schools were serving the interests of their students and the district as a whole (Local Newspaper, July 16, 1996, p. A4). Charter Effort is Renewed. The initial application for a charter school was never realized and charter applicants recognized that modifications in the admissions section of the application were warranted. The second application presented to the district on September 16, 1996 included several revisions in the admissions procedures. A diversity plan was added to the application in which school applicants agreed to establish an inclusive school environment. The authors agreed that the school would be open to any interested student. They also stated that the school's curriculum would provide children with the missing background information they needed to be able to compete along side children who receive background knowledge in their homes. The equalization of knowledge was believed to be the key to helping disadvantaged students gain more equity (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). School applicants also agreed to, "reserve a percentage of enrollment positions equal to the District mean for at-risk students, plus 3 percent, for up to 1 month before final enrollment figures are due to the District." The District mean was to be determined using free or reduced lunch data for students in applicable grades. It was agreed that those promoting the school would offer admission information publicly before diverse community audiences. Other efforts were made to be more inclusive. Solutions to transportation problems 301

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for students deemed at risk would be arranged by a parent volunteer for interested students who would not be able to attend the school without transportation. Requirements for volunteerism were modified to allow parents to volunteer to the extent they were able to do so and volunteer time would not be a prerequisite for attendance (Freedom Charter School Draft Application, September 16, 1996, pp.30-31 ). In addition, a special education plan was drafted in collaboration with the district's special education director to ensure that the needs of those students could be met in the charter school, compliance with State and Federal law, and left special education authority with the district's special education director (p. 32). Diversity at Freedom Charter School. Three factors have been selected for review in assessing the level of diversity at Freedom Charter School. These factors were cited by Hamilton in his alternative school review. They include the ethnic mix of the schools, figures on the percentages of students living with both parents, and those enrolled for free or reduced lunch. Ethnic Mix. As Freedom Charter School began its second year in Fall 1998, 431 students were enrolled (see Table 7.1 ). The school enrolled slightly more females (223) than males (208). Enrollment figures show that 21 students or 4.8% of the schools population were Asian. Hispanic students number 15 or 3.4% of the school's population. Only one Black student has enrolled at the school, while five Native American students ( 1.1%) have elected to attend. From the total population of students, 389 were Caucasian. This means that 90.2% of the school's students fall in this category (District Data, 1998). Vista School District's statistics for Fall 1998 show enrollment figures at 23,304 students with 19,661 or 84.3% of the students being Caucasian. Asian students comprise 2.6% of the district's population. This figure was lower than the 4.8% Asian population found at Freedom Charter School. Native American students in the district and at Freedom Charter School were reported to be at approximately 1 %. The district 302

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Freedom Numbers Core Numbers District Numbers Freedom Percents Core Percents District Percents TABLE7.1 ENROLLMENT FIGURES Asian 21 20 629 4.8% 4.0% 2.6% Hispanic 15 16 2,471 3.4% 3.2% 10.6% Black 1 5 305 .2% 1.0% 1.3% Native American 5 5 238 1.1% 1.0% 1.0% Caucasian 389 445 19,661 90.2% 90.6% 84.3% population was 10.6% Hispanic. At Freedom Charter School, only 3.4% of the students were Hispanic. While the district serves a Black population of 1.3%, the Black population at Freedom Charter School was only .2% (District Data, 1998). Despite efforts efforts of the charter school applicants to recruit students who would more closely represent the racial diversity of the district, it was accomplished to a limited degree. Percentages at the charter school were almost identical to the percentages reported at the alternative Core Knowledge School. Both schools maintain a population that was greater than 90% Caucasian. The alternative school has a higher percentage of Black students than does the charter school and the charter school has enrolled more Asian students, yet minority populations at both schools was lower than 10%. While neighborhood schools have a similar racial composition, location of residence was generally the reason this has occurred. Throughout the charter approval process, Sue Bennett a school board member, voiced her concerns about the racial composition of charter schools. When alternative and charter proponents stated that the school was not the worst in the district, Bennett felt the argument didn't hold much water. She 303

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believed that some neighborhood schools have limitations in diversity based on the families that live in the school's attendance area. She felt that a chatter school should draw from the whole community and enrollment should reflect the diversity of the district including racially-mixed, low-income, and handicapped students (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). Two Parent Homes. A second factor that Hamilton included in his diversity report on the alternative schools was that these school attract more students from two-parent homes. In August 1998, the schools "Living With" percentages show that 92.1 % of the Core Knowledge alternative school students live with both parents. Only .4% of theses students live with in a home with the father and 6.9% live in a home with the mother. A slightly lower figure was evident at Freedom Charter School where 85.6% of the students live with both father and mother, 2.3% live with father only, and 11.8% live with mother only. None of the charter school's students live with a guardian and .2% live with someone other than a parent or guardian. Caucasian students have 86.4% of the population living with both parents at Freedom Charter School. The percentage of Asian (81%) and Hispanic (80%) students reflect that fewer minorities live with both parents. Percentages could not be reported for Black and Native American students because fewer than ten students were listed in these categories for the school (District Data, August 27, 1998). In the district, a substantially smaller percentage (73.9%) of students live with both mother and father. Those living with father only constitute 3.6% of the population, while those living with mother only constitute 20.5% of the population. District data shows 1% of the students live with guardians and 1% live with someone other than a parent or guardian. The percentage of students from different racial groups living with mother and father include 87.3% Asian students, 75.6% Caucasian students, 62.4% Hispanic students, 50.8% Black students, and 47.5% Native American students (Enrollment Data, 1998). 304

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Whether more students from two-parent families attend charter and alternative schools because of transportation issues was not evident in the data presented. It was logical, however, to conclude that in homes with two adults, transportation would be easier to arrange than in homes with only one adult. For that reason, single parents may not find these schools of choice are within their reach. One recommendation to bring about an increase in the number of students from single parent homes that was considered by the district was to provide transportation services. When an investigation into the possibility of furnishing transportation for the alternative schools was done, it was learned that it would cost the school district between $50,000 and $67,000 per year. Costs would be significantly higher if new buses were purchased to follow the additional routes necessitated. The district owns 104 buses to transport students to the high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools. To keep costs down, district officials suggested that the route start and end an hour earlier or later. A survey designed to gauge the demand for transportation to alternative programs was mailed to families of students enrolled at the alternative. Issues about precedent setting were voiced by one member of the school board who was concerned that as more alternative schools opened transportation costs would continue to escalate (Local Newspaper, March 4, 1997, p. A3). By the end of April, a decision was made that transportation to alternative schools would not be provided. Parents responding to the survey indicated that they were not interested largely because of the need to change school hours. Only 10% of the Experiential School, 20% of the Core Knowledge School, and 7% of the Language Immersions School's parents wanted bus service. One parent said that it would have helped her a great deal because she was a single parent and finds transporting her children difficult. Other parents felt a 7:15 start time or a 4:00 dismissal time would be inconvenient (Local Newspaper, April 28, 1997, p. A3). While this survey did not include a charter school, the effects of transporting charter school students would be 305

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similar to those associated with the alternative schools. In all likelihood, changes in district budget and school start and stop times would be necessary. Without public school transportation, numbers of vehicles on the road to transpmt students to and from school has added to the increase in traffic in Hail. Free or Reduced Lunch. Freedom Charter School had fewer students participating in the free or reduced lunch program than did the district. The school averaged 1.9% of its kindergarten through eighth grade students were enrolled (District Data, 1998). For students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade in the district, the average was 8.07% (District Data, 1998). Freedom Charter School's numbers were significantly below the district's averages. From this data, it would appear that the socioeconomic status of students attending Freedom Charter School was higher than the socioeconomic status of other district families. The outcome of the stratification of families by income in this community may bring about the long-range effect of elitism if allowed to continue unreigned over time. The parity issue, brought to community attention through the Hamilton's and research center reports, has resulted in the district's acknowledgement that a problem exists. The way the district establishes school boundaries, staffing allocations, and resource distribution may need to be evaluated, according to central office administrator, Stephen Polk. Using numbers of students without consideration of at risk factors may not ensure that all students have equal opportunities to succeed in schools (Polk, personal communication, April 1, 1998). The equity issue was also discussed during a district advisory board meeting. The topic was brought up as a possible topic for the advisory board members to address during the 1998-1999 school year. The item was one of 15 included on a survey administered to members of building site-based management teams (District Advisory Board Minutes, August 27, 1998). A positive effect of discussions about parity issues may occur if actions are taken to correct inequities. 306

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Increase in Involvement The approval of the charter school in Hail, Colorado has included volunteerism at different stages of its brief history. Volunteers were involved in, but were not limited to participating in the design of the school, drafting of the application, making community presentations, participating in negotiations, assisting in the appeals process, searching for and helping to procure real estate, renovating the facility, providing public relations, and acquiring materials. Governing Board Efforts. When starting a school, individuals usually assume key roles and responsibilities. This was the case of the applicants for the charter school in Vista School District. A primary function of these charter applicants was to sit as the board of directors and fulfill governance functions. Dr. Crawford, a member of the board of directors was asked to respond to several questions about the time invested in the application and implementation processes. He was asked to identify some duties taken on by the governing board as well. In Vista School District, because two separate attempts were made before the school was able to open its doors, the time invested was monumental. Although volunteer logs were not kept at this point, in conversations between members of the board of directors it was agreed that a minimum of 4,000 hours had been expended in the initial charter effort. The second effort required an even greater amount of time, one that has been estimated to be 5,000 hours. Dr. Crawford responded to specific questions about tasks taken on by the board. He indicated that approximately 2,000 hours was spent in curriculum development, most of which included ordering materials and preparing lessons. To procure a facility was the function of a small team. He stated that three people invested approximately 2,800 hours over a three-month period. Preliminary hiring tasks were first conducted by a Personnel Committee. Once completed, members of the board of directors became involved. This was followed by actual hiring. Dr. Crawford estimated that about 307

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1 ,200 hours were spent in hiring. This was followed by 600 hours devoted to training of staff. Dr. Crawford was most helpful in responding to my additional questions about the amount of time spent in governance duties. When writing this section of the dissertation it became apparent that questions about time spent governance tasks were not included in the original survey. His responses made it clear that a great deal of investment in the school exists. The members of the board of directors worked with passion to found their school. Perhaps Dr. Crawford captured it best when he said that most people would not be able to conceive how much time and effort had been invested in the creation of their charter school. He summarized by saying that "It's amazing to see the forces unleashed for good when the public is allowed a stake in that private (employee-controlled) enterprise called 'public' education" (Crawford, personal communication, September, 14, 1998). Parent Volunteer Hours. In a conversation with the school's headmistress, Janet Hess, she stated that volunteerism at the charter school was many faceted. During the first year of operations, she reported, parents and other community members spent 38,948 hours contributing to the effective operations of the school. Some volunteer acts included making improvements in the site such as putting up fences and painting as well as math tutoring and car pooling. She did say that governance hours were not listed separately but that; after she had been hired in Spring 1997, she met with the board of directors an average of two times each week until one or two o'clock each time they met. She believed the board of directors contributed many thousands of hours to the success of the school before the building could open. She believed that volunteerism was still a mainstay of the school and was something that the school would continue to emphasize. However, she also believed that the hours of volunteerism would not be as high this second year. She stated that "While parents are still actively involved, the needs of the school have lessened due to 308

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completion of most site-renovation projects, creation of curriculum and assessment measures, and fulfillment of many start-up needs" (Hess, personal communication, September 9, 1998). Dr. Crawford felt that 38,948 hours of volunteer time was probably a low figure because many of the volunteers did not log their hours. He cited undocumented activities such as car pooling at about 15,000 hours. Using one hour of car pooling per day as an average, this means that 83 families are offering car pool services each year. Although an estimated number of hours was not mentioned, he stated that those who worked on the facility preparation completed the necessary improvements in just 180 days. Work was done between June 20, 1997 and September 30, 1997. He felt that the efforts of the volunteers were shocking to one central office administrator who predicted that the facility modifications would take a minimum of eight months to complete (Crawford, personal communication, September, 14, 1998). Curriculum and Instruction In its application, the authors describe the Core Knowledge Charter School curriculum as a content-based curriculum based on the Core Knowledge Foundation Sequence taught through a higher order thinking framework as described by Baron/Sternberg and others (Freedom Charter School Draft Application, September 16, 1996, p. 11 ). To this base, an expanded science curriculum based on the Project 2061 Model written by the American Association for the Advancement of Science was added. An emphasis on character, teamwork, and leadership was a part of the school's curricular framework (p. 12). School Design. In the charter school application, school design, philosophy, and approach were listed as separate components of the educational program. Within its school design, the applicants list an in-service training component to help teachers become better prepared to teach the content and higher order thinking skills. Applicants 309

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believe that as students advance through the grades, more specialization was required. For this reason, the applicants included plans to hire teachers with more specialized training for the upper (fifth through ninth) grades. Students rotate between these specialists in a secondary school departmentalized model (p. 12). To ensure that staff were prepared to meet their instructional responsibilities, the school year was extended for staff. The calendar includes two weeks of preparation time prior to the opening of school, a one week preparation interlude in the fall, an additional week for preparation in conjunction with winter recess, and a week of preparation in the spring. Students would be in session the same number of days. The school day would be lengthened by one hour with students in session for seven and one half hours per day. Flexibility in determining salary outside the terms identified in a negotiated agreement make it possible for the teachers to be paid for their additional contract days. In addition, the charter school's ability to determine its own salary schedule has made it possible for them to differentiate staff members' salaries and implement a system of performance pay. The efforts of the charter school to compensate employees in different ways may prove instrumental in other public schools if it was deemed to be successful. A unique aspect of the school's design was the differentiation between the headmaster and business manager. The headmaster's duties include emphasis on support for educational excellence through working with teachers. The business manager would conduct any operational responsibilities including maintaining the budget, facility management, accountability reporting, and community relations efforts (p. 13). A $60,000 starting salary for the headmaster was included in the proposed budget. The business manager position was budgeted at $40,000 (Freedom Charter School Employee Manual, September 1996, p.49). Philosophy and Approach. The charter school application describes a philosophy of agency education. Agency education was described as a journey that embodies the 310

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individual's quest in life and responsibility for one's own education. Through this liberal educational journey, the authors feel that young people engage in an odyssey of mind and heart that leads to self-reliance (p. 13). Likened to the journeys of Odysseus, Aeneas, and Faust, education was described as the means to develop the mind, heart, skills, and knowledge in each child. Knowledge. The charter school was based on the Core Knowledge Foundations Curriculum Sequence, a progression of specific knowledge in the major content areas. Applicants believe that building a foundation of knowledge in the early grades would provide the framework necessary for future learning and establish constructs on which individual points of view are based. Applicants for the charter school were confident that the playing field for students was leveled for at-risk students when all children share equal access to knowledge. The authors state, "This knowledge not only provides a foundation for later learning, but also defines a common heritage and establishes a common ground for communication and cooperation in a diverse society." This is in direct opposition to what they see as a watered-down curriculum for struggling students afforded in most public schools (Freedom Charter School Draft Application, September 16, 1996, p. 14). Sequential aspects of the curriculum were inherent in the success of the curriculum, according to the charter school applicants. As teachers plan their instruction, they can feel confidant that the students would have learned information necessary to take the next instructional step. The applicants further state that they view literacy in every subject as based on a set of mechanical skills and a background of shared knowledge. At Freedom Charter School, the base Core Knowledge curriculum was to be expanded upon to include Colorado History, foreign language, and an enriched science curriculum (p. 15). Skills. A recognition that skills necessary to teach was included in the application. 311

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The introduction of the skills such as reading writing, speaking, listening, and calculating were to be taught through the body of knowledge identified in the Core Knowledge Sequence. A focus on reading at the primary grades, including phonics instruction, was included in the application. Teachers would use literature that would lead to increased meaning of universal problems, incorporate rich language, represent multi-cultural themes, and would be recognized for its literary quality. A series of stories and poems were required at each grade level. Writing, speaking, grammar, logic, and spelling would be taught. Adoption of a higher order thinking skills program was planned (p. 15). Accountability. The application proposed a policy of encouraging discipline, hard work, cooperation, and making decisions and living with consequences as accountability measures to be employed by the school (p. 17). Accountability to the curriculum was also required of cha1ter schools. Although not referenced in the application, students at Freedom Charter School were participating in a standards-based assessment program that has been adopted by the school district. The tests administered in different grade levels in different subject areas are referred to as Level Tests. The improved performance of individual students can be determined by detennining the change in score from pretest or post test period. School perfonnance was gauged by the average perfonnance of the students as compared to the average performance of students across the district. An analysis of the scores of students in Vista School District with the scores of Freedom Charter School show few differences at the end of the 1997-1998 school year (District Data, 1998). In the areas of science and mathematics, areas of specialization stressed in the charter school, differences were negligible in most grades tested. Third and fourth grade math scores were slightly higher at freedom Charter School than in the district as a whole. Freedom School's third graders scored 210 as compared with the district's average of 206. Fourth grade students at Freedom scored 218 as compared 312

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with the district's score of 213 at this grade level. The differences for students in grades two, five, six, and seven were comparable. In second grade, the scores were the same. In fifth and sixth grade, the district score was one point higher. in seventh grade, Freedom scored one point higher. Little difference was evident in the scores of Freedom Charter School and district students in the area of science content. The fifth grade scores were identical. Freedom Charter School students were two points higher at the sixth-grade level. The district was one point higher at the seventh-grade level (see Table 7 .2). In reading, Freedom Charter School outperformed the district's students at the second, third, and fourth grade level. Freedom students were four points higher in second grade, five points higher in third grade, and four points higher in fourth grade. In fifth, sixth, and seventh grade, the scores were even or a one point difference resulted. Scores were within two points of each other on the language arts tests (see Table 7.2). In mathematics and reading, pretest and post test scores are available. These scores can be used to determine how much growth occurred at each grade level in these subject areas. A comparison with district growth scores and with another district school of similar size and with similar demographics has been made. This school has been called School X (see Table 7.3). Similarities in scores occurred at most grade levels when growth scores were determined. In mathematics, Freedom Charter School outperformed the district by more than two growth points at only one grade level. Fourth-grade math students at the charter school made ten points growth as compared with seven points growth in the district. In reading at the secondand third-grade level, Freedom Charter students outperformed district students by three and four points respectively. At intermediate grade levels, less growth was demonstrated by charter school students. In a school 313

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TABLE7.2 LEVEL TESTS COMPARATIVE DATA-SPRING 1998 Math 2nd grade Math 3rd grade Math 4th grade Math-5th grade Math 6th grade Math -7th grade Science Content 5th grade Science Content 6th grade Science Content 7th grade Reading 2nd grade Reading -3 rd grade Reading 4th grade Reading 5th grade Reading 6th grade Reading 7th grade Language 5th grade Language 6th grade Language 7th grade Vista School District 193 206 213 222 229 234 208 212 218 190 201 209 215 219 224 215 219 222 314 Freedom Charter 193 210 218 220 228 235 208 214 217 194 206 213 215 220 225 215 218 224

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located within the district that has a population similar in racial composition to that at Freedom Charter School (88.9% Caucasian), Level Test scores also appear comparable (see Table 7 .3). In this case, the growth scores of the unnamed school and Freedom Charter School were within one point of each other. It is important to keep in mind that the charter school had completed only one year of operation at the time these scores were listed. Continued monitoring of the progress should be done as is the case with other district schools. Other schools within the district were required to administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. These scores were not available for Freedom Charter School. Consideration would be made that these scores reflected the pe1formance only one year into the program as effects are gauged. The scores may reflect academic strengths and weaknesses of students at a particular grade level. As was noted, Freedom Charter School students did perform better than the district and the comparison school on some sub tests and did less well on others. The differences between the scores should be monitored over time to detennine whether curriculum and instructional practices widen the gap in performance. Innovative Practices Charter schools were created in the hope that innovative practices would be brought into public schools. To achieve this end, charter schools would try new ideas and implement new practices and share their successes and failures with other public schools. Freedom Charter School designed their application with three innovations in mind. The first innovation listed was the emphasis on science that extended beyond the existing curriculum. The charter school planned to introduce a second innovation through teaching a process employing higher order thinking. This approach included creative thinking and problem solving. Professional development was the third innovation contained within the application. Teachers would be afforded three extra 315

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TABLE7.3 LEVELS TESTS PRETEST TO POST TEST DIFFERENTIAL Vista District Freedom School X Math 2nd grade 14 13 Not tested Math-3rd grade 13 15 14 Math 4th grade 7 10 9 Math-5th grade 6 5 7 Math 6th grade 5 5 4 Math 7th grade 4 6 Not enrolled Reading 2nd grade 11 14 Not tested Reading-3rd grade 9 13 12 Reading 4th grade 6 5 6 Reading 5th grade 5 3 3 Reading 6th grade 3 2 Reading 7th grade 3 1 Not enrolled 316

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weeks of planning time each year. In addition, science and math specialists would teach other elementary teachers how to better teach specific curriculum (Freedom Charter Application, 1996, p. 12). Science Instruction. Information about the science curriculum expansion was included with the charter application. The district's elementary science curriculum was based on the implementation of six science standards in each grade level. The standards were consistent, however, the content of each standard varies dependent upon the content of the unit and the grade level. Beginning in kindergarten and going through sixth grade, standards include scientific physical science; life science; earth and space science; science, technology, and human activity; and scientific connections. These units were taught primarily using the Full Option Science System (FOSS) materials. Using several resources, one of the charter school applicants has redesigned the school's science curriculum. He has used the district's standards, FOSS, Science and Technology for Children, benchmarks from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the text, Scientific Literacy: What is it? Why America needs it. How we can achieve it (Science Literacy 2061, 1989), to accomplish this task. Through his efforts, these resources have been combined and reordered in a sequential fashion for use in the charter school. This approach to science in a non traditional one (Freedom Charter School Draft Application, September 16, 1996, pp. 41-45). The inclusion of content specialists to teach mathematics and science to elementary age students was a shift in emphasis from elementary teacher as generalist to elementary teacher as content specialist. Statements from some charter applicants did not sit well with many educators. In one article, Patrick Blair alluded to the belief that elementary teachers were unprepared to teach these subjects and that mentoring of elementary teachers was necessary (Local Newspaper, October 31, 1996, p. B 1). Statements such 317

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as the one above have dealt a blow to the morale of some elementary staff members. Annette Frazier, an elementary principal, stated that many times written information and statements from those promoting an educational alternative were interpreted by staff members to mean that they are not doing a good job (Frazier, Interview Data, 1997). Elizabeth North also believed that the things charter applicants have said that about public schools have brought about an ebb and flow of morale. She felt that school personnel have worked very hard at building good schools and it hurts them when their efforts were publicly criticized (North, Interview Data, 1997). Higher Order Thinking Skills. Higher order thinking skills would be implemented at the school, not as a stand-alone program, but one that was integrated with other content areas. Applicants believed that students often were taught information about particular content areas without being taught the features that make it meaningful. When this occurred, students were unable to see relationships within and between curricular areas (Freedom Charter Application, 1996, p. 15). To address this concern, a framework of thinking skills would be adopted. Using the words and style contained in the application, the authors wrote that through the use of this framework, "Students will learn to know, understand, and use knowledge across the curriculum. In addition, students will develop skills of patterning (likeness/difference), modeling (reproducing), and creating (producing uniqueness) across the curriculum." Specific critical thinking skills within each discipline would also be taught. The school discouraged more than ten hours of television watching per week because applicants believe that cognitive development and imagination would be stifled, information would be trivialized, values would be undermined, and thinking would be minimized (p. 16). The inclusion of higher order thinking skills in classrooms is not new. In a book, Toward the Thinking Curriculum: Current Cognitive Research, a thinking skills curriculum was advocated by the authors (Resnick & Klopfer, 1989). They stated that, 318

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"Knowledge is acquired not from information communicated and memorized but from information that students elaborate, question, and use. Furthermore, problem solving, writing, or reading skills, as defined by our authors, are acquired through extended practice, not in short discrete lessons" (pp. 206-207 ). Thinking skills were also described as a means to wed process and content through real-world applications. The authors stipulated that while some of the thinking processes cross curricular areas, others are more specialized in their content specifications. Hirsch advocated that a sequence of information being learned by all students rather than placing emphasis on learning processes. He criticized the proponents of critical thinking skills in his work when he said that, Yet even now the goal of teaching shared information is under attack by the latest version of educational formalism, the "critical thinking" movement. This well-meaning educational program aims to take children beyond the minimal basic skills mandated by state guidelines and to encourage the teaching of "higher order" skills. Admirable as these goals are, the denigration of "mere facts" by the movement's proponents is a dangerous repetition of the mistakes of 1918. (Hirsch, 1988, pp. 132-133) For this reason, it was surprising that the charter applicants included a higher order thinking component to their proposal. Blending of a sequence of knowledge in a fashion that prepares students to think critically and compare information in and between content areas may be viewed as quite innovative in nature. Staff Development. Freedom Charter School has incorporated two staff development components not found in most other elementary schools. They have extended the teacher contract by five weeks, providing teacher training and planning time during those periods. Because the school was not limited by the district's negotiated agreement, they were able to do so and have made provisions to pay teachers for their time. A second innovation was the hiring of teachers with a content specialization in mathematics and science. These teachers were to work directly with students in fifth through ninth grade typical of a departmentalized model found in public secondary 319

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schools. The content specialists serve as mentors to the kindergmten through fourth grade teachers, helping them learn content coherence, higher order thinking skills, and supporting them as they prepare to teach (Ereedom Charter School Draft Application, September 16, 1996, p. 13). Innovation Sharing. While the intentions of the legislation promoted the sharing of innovations and ideas between charter schools and the host district, in this district sharing has not occurred and may not take place in the future. School personnel were hesitant to solicit or listen to ideas proffered by those who have been highly critical of their educational endeavors. When asked to describe the relationship between the charter school applicants and district personnel, it is clear that hard feelings still exist on both sides. Several charter applicants and district employees recognize that a lack of collaboration and trust currently exists. A charter applicant, Dr. Crawford, describes the district administrators' responses to charter schools as being devoid of receptivity. He said that while face to face they were civil, their actions were very hostile. He indicated that "I see a need for an even stronger charter law to protect the public from the employee groups that want control not only of the bureaucratic side, but also the academic side of education because they believe their way is the right way" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Another charter advocate, Sean Littleton, suggests that district personnel should learn to be more friendly. He felt that the district should accept the ideas of parents in the manner in which they were intended. Instead, he believed that the district was content with the status quo and they would continue to fight the charter instead of seeing it as an opportunity to improve (Littleton, Interview Data, 1997). Steven Polk, a district administrator, saw the relationship from a different point of view. He perceived that a blatant condemnation of what exists in the district has resulted. He said that those who wanted a charter school informed the district that what they had was no good and that as a result a different school was needed. He shares that 320

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the applicants have been argumentative and demanding and the atmosphere has been one of contention. According to Polk, the charter was not brought forward in a constructive or cooperative manner, and for this reason people have been defensive. A central office administrator, Sam Roberts, remarks that when the charter act was first adopted it was meant to create new and innovative programs. He claims that at the time the law was adopted he looked on them as an opportunity for reform. From his perspective, over time, these schools have translated to Hirsch Core Knowledge schools and public dollars have been siphoned out of the public coffers to put into these schools that were not new or innovative. He also admitted that the district has been resistant to the Core Knowledge Charter School, but said that this was in prut true because the district had in existence a school based on this same curriculum model. The relationship between board members and charter applicants disintegrated even more as board members heard reports that in recruiting kids, the charter advocates talked to people about how horrible the district was, according to Roberts. He concluded by saying that the board has been resentful of this, but have taken it to heart to make the charter school work. If it fails, he said that, it will not be because of board resistance, it will be because they did not get their act together (Roberts, Interview Data, 1997). Effects Not Anticipated in the Legislation Beyond the intentions of the legislation, other systemic effects following the approval of Freedom Charter School have surfaced. Among those effects experienced in Hail, Colorado, were changes in the enrollment practices of families, added security for alternative schools, arguments for local control, the evolution of advocates for public schools, improved educational practices, and changes in the legislation. Enrollment Practices A community member, Don Hamilton, recognizes that charter schools promote 321

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market-based principals. In a newspaper article on December 4, he asked, "What hope can they (parents) find in a world with no values but those of the market?" He instead encouraged parents to look into becoming more involved in their neighborhood schools. He stated, "their presence in classrooms, on committees, and in parent organizations help to transfer values to our kids." Hamilton stated that, "I believe neighborhood schools can uniquely create an environment where kids learn that adults have responsibilities to each other as strangers, based solely on 'the accident of propinquity' or like mindedness" (Local Newspaper, December 12, 1995, p. A6). Yet, market-driven principles have become commonplace in many of the schools today. Market-Driven Schools. Central office administrators, recognizing that schools had begun to market themselves, have done several things to ensure the district remains attractive to families. A full-time community relations director has been hired to work closely with district officials, school personnel, and the local press to take a proactive approach with the media and in the creation of information disseminated to families. She was supported in these efforts by a full-time assistant, Mary Finch. Finch stated that she believed that because families were able to choose schools neighborhood schools see themselves differently. Schools now have to go after kids who five short years ago would not have had the availability of choice, according to Finch. She also said that schools must market themselves today in ways unprecedented (Finch, Interview Data, 1997). In Vista School District several examples of market initiatives have been designed at the district level and at the site level. At the district level, marketing specialists have been contacted and an in-service on marketing schools has been held for principals. Schools were asked to contact the Local Newspaper and invite reporters to attend special school events. The district has published a school directory with photographs of each school and specific school information. Site teams at each school were able to design an inviting description of the beliefs, practices, and special learning 322

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opportunities available at the school. The district has a web page and those on the network may access infonnation about the district's mission, goals, attendance rate, test scores, accountability reports, other data educational consumers now demand. Throughout the district, principals have divulged that they have taken a much more aggressive approach to student enrollment. Many schools now have a web page so that families wanting to know more about a school can gain additional infonnation. A number of schools have created written brochures to give to prospective school candidates, provide for real estate agents, and at at least one school for use in canvassing the neighborhood. In an inquiry sent to elementary principals in Vista School District, I learned that at least one thii"d of the school have prepared brochures that are used on a regular basis. In one school, every grade level and teachers of art, music, physical education, and media/technology have prepared written tri-fold pamphlets to use for infonnational and advertising purposes. The need to market the district and individual schools directly correlates to the ability of families to choose a school outside their area of residence. To advocates of school choice, the increased level of competition provided through the advancement of choice has served to influence schools in positive ways. Dr. Crawford said that it was the intention of those involved in the promotion of the Core Knowledge alternative and chmter schools to promote competition in schools. To Crawford, competition means knowing what schools are offering and if that offering was not well accepted, schools should rethink the value of what they're doing. In Crawford's words, "They (alternative schools and the charter school) have helped by providing competition. There has been a scrutiny and reevaluation of what is being done and that is important because without provocation it gets done only in a mechanical way." He expressed concerns that, even when the district was faced with 10% of the population indicating that they wanted Core Knowledge, they still never asked why that was the case (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). 323

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Private and Home-Schooled Students. When asked about the effects of the charter on the school district charter advocate, Sherry Cooper said that she thought little impact on the district schools resulted when the charter opened. She mentioned that in the district it was just a couple of kids from here and a couple of kids from there for the most part. The other Core Knowledge School lost quite a few students, according to Cooper. She also noted that she knew more than 10% of the charter students came from one elementary building, but said that she had not seen exact enrollment figures at that point. While not an impact on public schools, Cooper did say that quite a few students were coming from the private-school sector and she specifically mentioned one Christian school (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). This information was confirmed in a newspaper article on private school attrition that ran shortly before the charter school opened. At that time, the enrollment figures for the charter school were at 397. Of those students, 116 did not attend public schools the preceding year. Matt Hanson, Freedom Charter board members said that the enrollment of private and home-school students was a welcome surprise. "I think it's a vote of confidence for the charter school, he stated. "It puts the pressure on us to make sure we deliver." The school that lost the most students when the charter school began enrolling students was the alternative Core Knowledge School. A total of 109 students followed the charter route. That was approximately 30% of the charter school's enrollment figures. The attrition of students to the charter school made it possible for the alternative Core Knowledge School to accept 123 new students. Of these, at least half came to them from private schools indicated Cathy Miller, president of the board of directors at the alternative school. One private school reported losing 15 students and said that as a result, they would not be hiring a teacher they thought they might need. A principal of a local Christian school said that they would be affected. The principal, George Baker said that, "If we lost anybody in elementary, it seems for the most part they're going to 324

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Freedom Charter School." The enrollment of this K -12 school was down 100 students from the previous year and while that seems a substantial number, the school still has quite a following (Local Newspaper, July 20, 1997, p. B 1). Not all private schools felt that they had been negatively influenced by the opening of the charter school. A Lutheran school principal said that he had not had a drop in enrollment at his school. "People looking at our school are looking not only for a good academic education but primarily for religious instruction," he said. Hanson believed that the number of private-school students attracted to the public system through the charter would bring about a financial boon to the district. Gary Thompson, from the district's finance department said that increased finances would come about only if the district enrollment surpassed 21,430 students (p. B2). Public School Attrition. During the 1996-1997 school year, Vista School District personnel began tracking school choice patterns in the district. A spreadsheet lists each school and which attendance area students of choice come from. The alternative schools were listed on the report and it became easy to determine if students from some neighborhoods were more likely to choose an alternative school than others. On the first report, the Core Knowledge School enrolled 454 students from across the district. Of the 26 non-alternative schools, three neighborhood schools had over 40 students leave their school to attend the Core Knowledge School. Six schools lost between 20 and 39 students to the Core Knowledge School that year. Four district schools are TABLE7.4 ALTERNATIVE AND CHARTER SCHOOL ENROLLMENT FIGURES New Choices: Core Knowledge School Experiential School Language Immersion School Freedom Charter School Total 325 492 110 261 431 1,294

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located in the mountains. The mountain schools lost no students. Other elementary schools lost between two and nineteen students. The Experiential School enrolled only 116 students during the 1996-1997 school year. Three schools located near the Experiential School were most greatly effected. Two schools lost 14 students apiece. The other school had ten students change enrollment. In addition to the mountain schools, two schools in town had no students leave to attend the Experiential School. To this school the average losses in student numbers were between two and nine students. The numbers of students selecting the Language Immersion School came from nearby neighborhood schools with a high percentage of Spanish-speaking students. From a total population of 200 students, three schools contributed between 25 and 47 students each. Mountain schools and one other school had no students select the Language Immersion School. Other schools lost up to 14 students to this program. Vista School District (see Table 7.5) has continued to collect and repmt information on residence and attendance. In addition to recording where students in neighborhood schools come from and go to, total defectors (those who left for another school) and loyalists (those who choose a particular neighborhood school) were tabulated for each school. Data from the 1998-1999 fall enrollment figures were used to show the effects of choice in Vista School District. One thing that was clear was that all of the neighborhood schools in this district have students choosing to leave and choosing to attend the school. Some schools have had a greater number of students choose to leave than other schools. From these data, two patterns have emerged. First, when parents or staff members at a school decide to apply for alternative school status, large numbers of students often follow to the alternative school. Evidence can be seen in schools B, U, andY. School B was the neighborhood school for the children of state legislator George Cooper. Cooper was recognized as an outspoken critic of public education and a 326

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TABLE7.5 DEFECTORS AND LOYALISTS IN VISTA SCHOOL DISTRICT School Defectors Loyalists More Defectors More Loyalists A* 147 86 -61 B 187 74 -113 c 123 118 -5 D* 64 57 -7 E* 78 133 +55 F* 60 45 -15 G* 224 16 -208 H* 177 59 -118 I 61 124 +63 J 81 71 -10 K* 118 102 -16 L 66 49 -17 M 8 32 +24 N 75 70 -5 0 122 71 -51 P* 133 67 -66 Q* 119 69 -40 R 101 39 -62 s 19 11 -8 T 135 64 -71 u 108 40' -68 v 4 5 +1 W* 112 48 -64 X* 112 43 -69 y 138 26 -112 Totals 2,572 1,519 -1,186 +143 Title I schools. 327

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staunch charter school advocate. At neighborhood meetings and in legislative endeavors, Cooper has articulately made his opinions of public schools known. His wife, Sherry Cooper, served on the board of directors of the alternative Core Knowledge School and on the charter school board of directors during the first application process. It was not surprising that in the school designated as the Cooper's neighborhood school, parental dissatisfaction was high. At their home school, 187 students have defected and only 74 students have selected the school as a school of choice. This constitutes a net loss to the school of 113 students during the 1998-1999 school year. The children of another ardent alternative school advocate live in the School U attendance area. In her interview, Alice Turner shared that she lobbied long and hard to get a Core Knowledge School up and running. She indicated that she had talked to a variety of parents around the neighborhood to let them know about the Core Knowledge option. She believed that some families were happy with the neighborhood school while others were not and were pleased to be given another choice. She thinks that before the alternative school became an option, 532 students attended the neighborhood school. She said that when the Core Knowledge School became an option, 67 children left the neighborhood school (Turner, Interview Data, 1997). At the time the district data was published, 36 of School U' s students were attending the alternative Core Knowledge School and 30 students were attending Freedom Charter School. In all, 108 students have elected to go to another school. Only 40 students have selected this school as a school of choice for a total of 64 defectors. Three teachers from School Y conceived the idea for the Experiential School in 1990-1991. For two years they worked with the principal in School Y and endeavored to create a school-within-a-school model. According to Gerri Sackett, one of the Experiential School founders, in addition to principal backing and funding she felt that a lot of parents were interested in the school's philosophy. She stated that as the school 328

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within a school came closer to being realized, some of School Y's staff members became emotional about changing the configuration of the school and the principal decided against the project. By I 993, it appeared that alternative schools were going to be approved and the teachers applied for and were granted an alternative school. Sackett believed that some of the parents who were interested in the school-within-a school model came on board when the alternative school opened (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). On the district's 1998 spreadsheet, School Y had 138 defectors and only 26 loyalists. The school had 112 students fewer, because choice was available. The second pattern that emerged was that a number of the district's schools with a lower socioeconomic status lost more students than did schools where the economic base was higher (see Table 7 .5). Title I schools are most often located in areas of the community where more diverse populations and where families with less annual income reside. Schools A, D, E, F, G, H, K, P, Q, W, and X are Title I schools. Of the Title I schools identified, only one school had more students choose the school through the school-of-choice program than have left the school. School E enrolled 133 school-of-choice students and had only 78 choose a school out of their attendance area. This means that the school has had 55 more loyalists than defectors. When asked why the school was able to interest new families, principal Barbara Jones (a pseudonym) said that the school was endeavoring to promote itself as a specialized school with an emphasis on gifted and talented education and she believed that people were interested in having their children enrolled in such a school (Jones, personal communication, September 8, 1998). This school lost the greatest number of students (23) to the Language Immersion School. From a school serving a 13% Hispanic population, the selection of a school where Spanish is taught seems a logical alternative. The other Title I schools all lost greater numbers of students than they gained. Two of the schools suffered losses of 15 or fewer students. School F, located in a small 329

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town north of the city, had the fewest defectors (60) in a Title I school. This may be due to the rural location of the school. Of the defectors, 24 chose to attend Freedom Charter School, while five chose the alternative Core Knowledge School. The Language Immersion School was attractive to two students and the Experiential School enrolled three of the students. Clearly, the charter school and alternative schools were found appealing to families in the School F attendance area. The remaining 26 students were spread throughout the district with most of the students attending schools in the north end of Hail. The school was able to attract 45 new students making the overall loss of students at 15. School D had similar statistics to those found in School F. Also a school in a small suburb north of Hail, School D had 64 students elect to attend another school. From School D, nine students selected the alternative Core Knowledge School and seven chose the charter school. Five students decided to attend the Language Immersion School, while seven opted to attend the Experiential School. The 36 students not attending an alternative or charter school enrolled in other north district schools for the most part. School D was successful in attracting 57 new students for an total of seven fewer students. Other Title I schools suffered actual student losses of between 61 and 208 students apiece. School G had the highest number of students leave of any school in the district. From School G, 224 students choose another school. Only 16 students from other schools have selected School G as their school of choice for an enrollment reduction of 208 students. In this small school, where approximately 300 students are currently enrolled, losing 208 students because of school-of-choice opportunities has been difficult. The Language Immersion School has been attractive to many families in this neighborhood. School G has lost 30 students to this alternative program. Freedom Charter School has been selected by 20 of School G's students. The alternative Core Knowledge School has enrolled nine students and the Experiential School has enrolled 330

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10 students who reside within School G's boundaries. A total of 69 students have left School G for non-neighborhood schools. Most of the remaining 155 students have selected schools somewhat close in proximity to School G. It is interesting to note that 37 students have selected School E as their school of choice. The marketing efforts of the principal of this school or the emphasis on gifted and talented students may have contributed to this attrition. School H lost 177 students in its attendance area and has had 59 students select the school for a total defection of 118 students. Alternative and charter schools have enrolled 96 of these students. The greatest number (57) have enrolled in the Language Immersion School. At least two former School H teachers were employed at the Language Immersion School and may have been instrumental in attracting some of these students to the program. The alternative Core Knowledge School has 20 of School H's students and the Experiential School has ten of these students. Only nine of School H's students have enrolled in Freedom Charter School. One neighborhood school with a strong program for students with English as a Second Language has enrolled 11 School H students. School A has attracted nine of the students and is close in proximity to, but has a much greater percentage of Caucasian students (89 .6%) than does School H (59%). To determine if the smaller minority enrollment was the reason individual students have chosen School A goes beyond the scope of this study, but may merit further district investigation. With an enrollment loss of 61 students, School A lost a significant portion of its students to Core Knowledge programs. School A had 147 defectors and attracted 86 students from outside its attendance area. Of the 44 students in a Core Knowledge program, 26 attend the alternative Core Knowledge School and 18 attend Freedom Charter School. The Language Immersion School has attracted six of School A's students, while the Experiential School has enrolled seven of their students. Two nearby schools have been chosen by 35 of School A's students. 331

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School Pis located near the university and has the greatest amount of racial diversity in the school district. This school has had 133 of its residents decide to attend a different. The alternative Core Knowledge School has been selected by the families of 15 and 10 students attend Freedom Charter School. Four students have elected to attend the Language Immersion School and two have chosen the Experiential School. School E has attracted I 8 students from the School P attendance area. This school is one that promotes gifted and talented educational opportunities for its students. One of the other local neighborhood schools has proved to be inviting to the students of School P. School C has enrolled 32 of these students. This may be due to proximity or to the marketing efforts of the school's princ.ipal. Beth Williams shared that when she first came to School C in 1990, the enrollment was 575 students. Over the next few years, the enrollment declined by more than 100 students and stood at 468 students. She said that she was projected to be at 390 students by the year 2000. As numbers of students have dropped, so has her staffing allocation. She has lost classroom teachers and she has had to face reducing the percentage of contract of art, music, and physical education teachers. For this reason, she has made a conscientious effort to promote the school. She has run advertisements in the Local Newspaper, has held various social events to attract new students, and has taken time to personally communicate with and give building tours for prospective families (Williams, Interview Data, 1997). School K has lost I 18 students to other schools through the school of choice opportunities available. The school has been able to attract I 02 students from other schools. Despite this attraction, the school enrolls 16 students fewer than it would if all students within its boundaries attended the school. At this school, as with several other Title I schools, the Language Immersion School has been selected as a popular alternative. School K has lost 34 students to this program. The alternative Core Knowledge School and the Experiential School have enrolled 13 and 9 of School K's 332

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students respectively. Eight students were attending Freedom Charter School. The school has lost 12 students to one neighborhood school and 8 students to another neighborhood school. Both schools receiving School K's students were close to it in proximity, but have significantly less ethnic diversity. Both School W and School X have similar attrition patterns. Both schools have lost 112 students to other schools through the school-of-choice option. School W has been able to attract 48 students, while School X has been able to attract 43 students. The alternative Core Knowledge School has been attractive to students from both schools. School W lost 21 students to the Core Knowledge School and School X has lost 28 students to the same school. Students from both schools have chosen to attend Freedom Charter School, as well. From School W, 13 students attended the charter school, while from School X nine students were enrolled. The Language Immersion School has held some attraction for students from School W and X with 15 and 23 students attending respectively. School W has five students attending the Experiential School and School X has two students in this program. Students from both schools attend a variety of schools across the district. Some choices appear to reflect a school in close proximity to the neighborhood schools. Using district information, it-is clear that many families were choosing to attend schools outside their areas of residence. In 1996, 3,599 students applied for and were accepted in a school of choice. By 1998, this number had gone up to 4,520 students. Of the 4,520 students, 2,572 were elementary age students. The three alternative schools have a combined enrollment of 863 students, while the charter school enrolls 431. That means that during the 1998-1999 school year, I ,278 elementary students elected to attend a neighborhood school out of their attendance area. At this time, the district data does not prepare a report on why families have made these choices. School choice request fmms include the reasons people elect to attend another school. A tabulation of the reasons stated might provide insights about whether 333

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choices were based on convenience, educational practices, or personnel issues. Feedback of this nature would be beneficial for school administrators to review. Some administrators have begun collecting data from parents when they move their children from one building to another. Principal Annette Frazier said that she now conducts an exit interview with every family to try to determine whether the family was dissatisfied with the school. She found that the reason parents most often share with her was their desire for a different kind of curriculum (Frazier, Interview Data, 1997). The fluctuation in enrollment in some schools from year to year has been quite problematic. Each spring, enrollment projections are compiled for each school. Factors such as each school's enrollment the previous year, hospital birth records by neighborhood, new development within each school's boundaries, and school choice requests are used to generate these projections. While school of choice requests can be made at any time, last year district officials moved the deadline for schoolof-choice applications up to February 14 in an effort to help schools with planning. The February deadline enables the district to determine how much staffing will be assigned to each school shortly after spring break in March. The early date for staffing assignments makes it possible for schools to work with the parent community to decide how cuts and additional staffing placements will be made (Local Newspaper, January 28, 1997, p. A4). Unfortunately, families often choose to move their children after this deadline, and schools with space available are able to accept new students at any time. Schools are able to take one or more children from a family, but not others due to space. If parents are highly motivated to attend the school of choice, they may start a child at a school of choice and end up with children in more than one school. During the course of the school year, students may transfer to a school of their choosing. While schools have always had transcieny issues, openings in schools of choice increase student mobility. When students leave some schools and enroll in others after staffing has been 334

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assigned, the formula used to determine staffing in March creates pockets of inequity in student to teacher ratios. Classes with 18 students and one teacher exist in some schools, while other classes are at 29 or 30 students and one teacher. On some occasions, staff have been transferred from one school to another days before school was scheduled to start. By nature of their applications or charter contracts, Vista School District's choice programs do not face enrollment fluctuations as do other public schools. Waiting lists are maintained and when a spot becomes available, the school contacts the next person on the corresponding grade-level waiting list. Staffing needs are often more consistent over time. The effects of school choice are most difficult for schools with the greatest number of choice applicants. Class sizes at these schools are often pushed to the maximum numbers. Once school choice decisions have been made, new students moving into the school's attendance area may have to be transported to another school. Because public transportation was limited in the Hail community, district transportation must be provided for these students. As a result, the new routes increase transportation costs and create changes in schedules. Reducing Parental Dissatisfaction. It is true that families choose schools because of child-care providers, proximity to the parent's place of employment, a desire to meet the specialized needs of their children such as availability of gifted and talented classes, and a desire for a specific curriculum. It is also tme that the movement from one school to another within the district often occurs because parents are unhappy with their child's teacher or the principal, the philosophy of the school, or curriculum delivery or because they feel that their concerns have not been addressed appropriately. Proponents of school choice have felt frustrated trying to work with their neighborhood school. Patrick Blair said that it was more than not liking a specific teacher, it was more like having four children going to the school and finding school personnel unresponsive to his wishes. He stated, "It was a dissatisfaction with the 335

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cmTent situation over a period of time." In addition, he believed that his students needed more of a challenge, yet felt his advocacy for them was rejected (Blair, Interview Data, 1997). Sean Littleton volunteered at a neighborhood school trying to offer science support to teachers. He said that it was fine to come in for an hour as long as you did not stay too long or overstep your bounds. He also shared that the principal made him feel unwelcome when she questioned his reasons for being there. In a previous school, he had similar experiences. When he tried to help with science, Littleton reported that he was told not to bother. He was of the impression that the school did not want any outside interference (Littleton, Interview Data, 1997). The experiences of Todd Davis were similar. He said that, "The average principal is patronizing and you go and talk to the principal--you tell them what you want and they smile and tell you politely how much they are concerned about what you are saying and how much your opinion matters. Then nothing happens." He also spoke on the issue of parent volunteers and their lack of empowerment. He said that if you want to volunteer it has to be on the principal's terms, you have to behave as though you are an employee, and you have to treat the principal as the boss. In addition, the principal expects volunteers to have the same beliefs or you are "purged". He further criticized the unresponsiveness of public schools. In his opinion, if schools were more responsive to the requests of parents, the alternative school movement could be shut down (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). Alice Turner spoke at length about her efforts to work with the principal and staff members at her neighborhood school. She shared that "I tried so hard at my neighborhood school, but what l got from the principal was a report that they were happy with the way things were and that they saw no need to change." After trying without success to improve playground safety, advocate for more differentiated instruction, and promote Core Knowledge curriculum, Turner became involved with 336

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the alternative Core Knowledge School. She mentioned that she knew another option she could have sought was shopping for a different neighborhood school where teachers and the principal were more open to her ideas, but the alternative school was based upon parent and teacher partnerships so she felt no need to look further. She became instrumental in starting the school soon after learning about it (Turner, Interview Data, 1997). As was true in many school-choice scenarios, the experiences of those associated with the school district have been quite the opposite. Board member, Ted Reynolds, attributes the requests for school choice as a reaction to national ideas. He reported that choice in schools had been addressed by media across the country and thinks some local residents believe we have to have it because other communities have emphasized choice. He felt that others promoted choice because they believe they are entitled to have exactly what they want for their children without regard for the needs of others. He stated, "For the great majority of Americans, when I was growing up, the public school system was for the public benefit. It was not for private benefit." He saw people as asking what the public school system could do for them versus what it does for society. He worried about the effects of the school system changing to a system for individual rather than collective benefit (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). The sentiments of central office administrator, Rick Harris, were almost identical. He believed that Vista School District has been the victim of national media and national trends. He saw that a part of the national agenda was to change the concept that majority rules and people get in line to follow to one where the minority has a significant amount of rights and the majority should not trample on those rights. Now, from his perspective, the majority in our district is bending over backwards to make sure that the minority has certain rights or privileges. "I think we see a segment of society that literally either themselves or their kids, generally it's the parents who in my opinion aren't happy with the status quo, aren't happy with the way things are going, 337

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and won't ever be happy. Therefore, they seek a different way to do it." Harris doesn't believe true reform occurs by simply acquiescing to the needs of outspoken minorities. Kelly McDaniels, an elementary principal, said that she can understand that parents want and deserve what is best for their children. For parents, that should be an important part of their job, according to McDaniels. She struggles when individuals advocate for their own children without consideration for others. She stated that, "Our vision needs to be bringing that best possible education to all children every single day that they are in this building and to plan programs every single day that are going to be meeting the needs of every child." When parents demand that schools address their wishes, they can become diverted from their focus in McDaniel's mind. She also shared that as her building loses students she must concentrate on how to stretch staffing, how to make budget cuts, and how to stay afloat when she would rather be working on school improvement initiatives (McDaniels, Interview Data, 1997). William Hudson, a district administrator said that in his perception, "Many of the people who went to alternative and charter schools were among the most dissatisfied people, and in a way, it's removed part of the more difficult population to deal with." He views this as a positive aspect of the movement to provide more choice for families in the community. He also recognizes that many of the families that have selected alternatives have had children enrolled in private schools or have been home schooled. Hudson felt that this meant that neighborhood schools were losing fewer students to the alternatives and charters than was once feared (Hudson, Interview Data, 1997). Elizabeth North stated that, as part of the report that the research center staff had conducted, the criticism of public school personnel had resulted in an ebb and flow of morale. She believed that that has probably been the most significant effect of the school-choice movement. In her words, "From an impact standpoint, that's [morale] probably the biggest impact, and it's a very negative one,but it's very psychological, 338

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it's very cultural, it's not anything you could look at tangibly." She thinks that the needs of the community have been met through the choices currently offered and that neighborhood schools have been relieved of many of their most contentious parents. She expected that things would become more collaborative and more supportive in neighborhood schools since parents could leave a school if they were not happy (North, Interview Data, 1997). Closely aligned with North's thinking, Bill Allen, an elementary principal, saw a change in the number of disgruntled parents at his building. He thought that the people who saw something that they wanted at another school now feel better able to make that choice for their children. He said that, "As a principal--you don't want people who feel that they're trapped and that they have no other alternative but to be there because they happen to live on a street your school serves." He shared that he now does intake interviews with families when they come to register their children. At the interview, Allen tells the family what his school is all about and if their philosophy is congruous, then fine. If it is not, Allen reported that he often suggests another school that might be more closely aligned with their needs and suggests that they call the principal or visit the school (Allen, Interview Data, 1997). Another elementary principal, whose school has been losing students, repmts that she felt like she was being held hostage to parents because she fears they would go elsewhere. She indicated that parents have been blatant in their blackmail tactics. Parents would call during the time set aside to request next year's teacher and say "If I don't get the teacher I want, I'll go somewhere else". As numbers at her school continue to decline she is concerned that increased staffing cuts will fmther result in the reduction of or elimination of programs. While she conceded that she does not always bend to the threats of parents, she saw the behavior of parents as being a veiled threat and that parents seemed to take negative stances more often than not (Williams, Interview Data, 1997). 339

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As parents and school personnel try to find their way, enrollment figures often become the bottom line. School personnel must demonstrate more responsiveness to the demands of parents and are challenged to do so in ways that will not compromise the mission of the school and the needs of other students. Principals in schools with declining enrollments feel pressured to create school flyers, get the school in the paper, have staff members engage in more public relations activities, and court interested parents. Unfortunately, this results in less time for activities that might more directly correlate to school improvement. Greater Security for Alternative Schools At the same time charter applications were filed with the school district, a different message was conveyed to those affiliated with alternative schools. Where charter school applicants indicated that roadblocks to their existence had been created, alternative school applicants found the district increasingly open to providing assistance. Evidence of the district's receptiveness has cropped up in numerous ways. When the Experiential School first applied for charter status, the district agreed to negotiate concerns with the alternative school board. When the Experiential School and the alternative Core Knowledge School faced facility issues, central administrators advanced ideas designed to meet their needs. When it appeared that transportation needs were being expressed by alternative school parents, a survey of parents' perspectives was executed. Experiential School and District Work Together. While having been approved in 1993, the relationship between the parents and staff at the Experiential School and the district was not a bed of roses. That's why, in October 1995, the Experiential School filed an application for charter status. Experiential School parent Conrad Townsend (a pseudonym) said that, "We decided that by filing a charter school, we could formalize our relationship with the school district as an alternative public school." The rationale 340

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given for chartering was that the contract required as a part of the agreement would add more security for the school and help them resolve specific issues without having to worry that the district would renege on promises made (Local Newspaper, November 2, 1995, p. A8). Those issues were outlined in a newspaper article that winter. The reporter stated that in a letter to the members of the board of education representatives of the Experiential School had issues with teacher planning time, management style differences, selection of staff, and securing a future site for the school (Local Newspaper, December 12, 1995, p. B1). Gerri Sackett, one of the original Experiential School lead teachers, expressed her opinion in a slightly different manner. In summary, she stated that, even though the school had been granted permanent status her school's board members had the sense that they were being yanked around and that they were in danger of losing the facility in which they were housed. She stated that, We just felt very unstable and we thought that maybe a charter would allow us to achieve long-term stability where the district isn't saying one thing one day and the next day, they redecide, change what we can and cannot do. (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997) The idea of a charter was first presented to the superintendent by Sackett. She stated that that was probably the most difficult conversation she had experienced related to alternative school dealings. In Sackett's opinion, he was angry at first and said that he could not understand why they felt it was necessary to charter. In fact, the superintendent indicated to Sackett that the school was already in the driver's seat, a perception that had not been held by the school's parents or staff. Following that meeting, Sackett said that they spent the entire winter negotiating with district personnel. Two central office administrators and two Experiential School lead teachers met to discuss issues. Initially, the superintendent served as a facilitator, according to Sackett (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). 341

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With a decision on the viability of the Experiential Schools's charter still undetermined, the school's spokes people and district officials began a series of meetings to see if they could find solutions to the problems the school was experiencing. One of the Experiential School lead teachers said that, "We haven't reached an agreement yet, but at this point we've had two meetings with the district and they've gone really well." She went on to say, "We've been received in a respectful, open manner, and we feel most of the things can be worked out" (Local Newspaper, December 23, 1995, p. A 1 ). An expression of optimism was made by an Experiential School parent. "We really feel like we've been heard by the administration and by the board, and the general feeling is that we can work out our concerns and issues," said Frank Bonham (a pseudonym). At that time, the general feeling at the school was that people were more comfortable developing a close working relationship with the district, according to Bonham (p. AI). After months of negotiating, Sackett felt that they came up with an acceptable finished product and cleared the air about a lot of things. Despite successful negotiations, the lack of trust between the alternative school staff and the district representatives was evident when a memorandum of understanding was requested by the Experiential School staff and parents. Sackett said that, when that happened less ambiguity occurred and school staff could refer to it if a question arose (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). Facility Options Explored. Prior to 1993, space in which to house an alternative school had never been available. Growth factors in the district had become so significant in the 1980s that the district had to build eight new elementary schools in seven years. A new junior high school and a senior high school were built near the same time. When all of the new building happened, a whole lot of ideas about what should happen to the space were shared. Within about eight months, three altemative 342

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schools came on line and were located in two of the three elementary buildings that had been vacated. The third elementary building was selected to house an early childhood center and a hands-on science program. All three sites were near capacity soon after the alternative programs and schools began providing services. This issue was compounded b.Y the level of disrepair of all of the buildings (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). We Need a Home. One of the central issues expressed by the Experiential School's representatives was the lack of facility security. This school had been approved and for two years had shared a site with the Language Immersion School. The concern for the location of the school was well founded. In Fall 1995, the school was moved to its second location when the Core Knowledge School was moved into the old high school. The Experiential School board of directors and staff were concerned that they would lose the school's new space as well. In part, they were concerned because American School Management, Inc., a Florida-based company, had been hired to conduct a facility study in July 1995. The company would look at enrollment projections for the next ten years and use of older buildings in the district. A major issue was whether the district should keep or sell some of its older and more expensive buildings including those that housed the alternative schools (Local Newspaper, July 20, 1995, p. B 1 ). By the end of September, it was clear that the cost of maintaining the older buildings and bringing them up to "good" condition would be exorbitant. American School Management, Inc. concluded that the building housing the Experiential School would cost $915,000 to renovate. The building in which the Language Immersion School was located was given a restoration projection of $1.2 million, while the old high school was expected to cost $7 million to renovate (Local Newspaper, September 25, 1995, p. A6). Proposed Patterson Take Over Incites Parents. In an emotional outburst, a Patterson Elementary School parent drug his crying seven year old son to the podium at 343

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a board of education meeting in early 1996. He and a number of angry parents were in attendance after hearing that their school might be closed, students would be dispersed to seven other schools, and the alternative Core Knowledge School would take up residence. The school was selected because its enrollment had been in decline and the majority of the students were already riding to school on a bus. After hearing from parents who indicated that they were not willing to be moved, the board established a task force to seek alternatives to putting the Core Knowledge School at Patterson (Local Newspaper, January 23, 1996, p. Bl). By early March, the sixth meeting of the Patterson task force had been held. The group had come up with 81 ideas for alternative solutions to the Core Knowledge Schools' location dilemma. During the sixth meeting, the list was whittled down to fewer than 50. The idea remained to continue with the Patterson plan. Another idea that was intriguing to some task force members was suggested by Rick Harris. His idea was to put some of the $4.3 million expected from the sale of the old high school into a low-budget alternative school campus. The 10 acres of district land in the south of the city and could easily accommodate the campus, according to Harris. He felt that joint ownership of a main building housing a gymnasium and library might be of interest to the city (Local Newspaper, March 8, 1996, p. B 1). After a year of discussion on a location for the Core Knowledge School, a decision was finally made on March 24, 1997. What had begun as a suggestion that Patterson's students be transported to different locations in the district had culminated in the approval for a new, permanent Core Knowledge School to be built in south Hail. Although the board vote was 6-1 in favor of the plan, several board members suggested using caution in making the decision. The board went back and forth in their discussion. One board member said that she just wanted to get on with it, the issue had been beat to death. Other board members expressed concern that the south part of town was growing rapidly and use of this site would mean that a new southern school for 344

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non-Core Knowledge Students could not be built. One parent, James Douglas said that "This site sits directly in the path of growth in the southeast. This is a very complex issue, and unless we resolve how the school fits into the district, then we're setting ourselves up for a major conflict." Sue Bennett said that, "The precedent we set today is very important. We all know that choices cost a lot of money, and the community is starting to really see what the costs are" (Local Newspaper, March 25, 1997, p. A3). In another article, board member Patty Kaufman said that, "Because the growth is in the south end of town the question we need to answer is 'Are we building a neighborhood school or a Core Knowledge School?' Very soon we're going to need a place to put children in the south end of town." The board did decide to allow walk-in student from neighboring communities. It was mentioned that the site might not be used by the alternative school forever. "We have to be flexible," said board member Dan Wiseman. "It may be irresponsible to think that the future alternative programs can have one site" (Local College Newspaper; March 26, 1997, p. 7). How Much? Meanwhile, construction on the site has been completed and the Core Knowledge School board of directors and staff members moved to the new site in December 1998. According to Ed Howard, a central administrator, the decision to build the new Core Knowledge facility was a $5 million decision. That expenditure, in addition to the $300,000 to $400,000 costs of remodeling the old high school for elementary use for two and one-half years, has made the cost of this one program extremely high. The cost of renovating the two buildings that house the other alternative schools would be approximately a half-million dollars (Howard, Interview Data, 1997). Funding for the new school was anticipated to come largely from the sale of the old high school. However, due to other capital improvement needs of the district, a creative means of generating new funding had to be sought. To raise funds, the district devised a measure it had not implemented previously. A 20-year certificate of 345

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participation was approved by the school bard. The certificate works like a second mortgage and netted the district $10 million in working funds (Local Newspaper, February 25, 1997, p. AIO). As the charter school struggled to find a facility that was not owned by the district, the alternative schools' facility security greatly increased. Whether this effect has been brought about because of the legislation is impossible to say with any certainty. Yet, it seems coincidental that, while the charter applicants were arguing their case all of the alternative programs had less to fear about displacement than they have since their openings in 1993. The Experiential School has been able to remain in the same location since 1995 and the Language Immersion School now has use of an entire small elementary site. They were located in the same building as when the school opened in 1993. The alternative Core Knowledge School moved from the old high school to its new location in south Hail in December 1998. In addition, renovations of older school buildings have been done. It appears that the alternative programs have been facility winners in recent skirmishes. Alternative School Transportation. At the time the alternative schools were first opened, it was agreed that parents would provide their own transportation to and from the school. These schools were proposed as a no-cost venture to the district and providing transportation would have added a cost factor that the district was not prepared to accept. However, following Hamilton's report on diversity in alternative schools and parent input that transportation had become a hardship, the district explored the possibility of adding transportation for students attending the alternative schools. A program designed to provide limited busing services for alternative school students was investigated. The busing would not provide door-to-door service. Instead, students would be picked up at their neighborhood schools. In addition, students would have to start school one hour earlier or one hour later so the district would not have to buy new buses. Using figures to determine how much additional drivers' time and how much 346

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additional mileage would be needed, district officials determined that it would cost between $50,000 and $67,000 dollars to provide these services. An exact cost could not be determined until a new location for the Core Knowledge school was decided. Although those affiliated with the alternative schools were interested in district transportation, parents and alternative school staff members were concerned that students would miss out on after-school activities such as soccer, gymnastics, and music lessons if the school were to start later. Other parents were concerned that a 7: 15 start time would not be manageable for their families. To determine whether the benefits outweighed the problems, a survey on transportation was prepared and sent to families with children in alternative schools. Board member Patty Kaufman was concerned that the district was considering providing transportation for alternative school students. She said that, "I'm not sure all taxpayers should bear the brunt of that cost. It really does have long-range ramifications and logistical problems with the amount of buses we have." The district owned 104 buses at that time (Local Newspaper, March 4, 1997, p. A3). The decision not to make transportation available to alternative-school students was made in late April. The deciding factor was the response from surveyed parents that clearly indicted that parents were not interested in such service if it meant an earlier or later start time. Rick Harris said that, "Because it (the survey) was so overwhelmingly (against busing) ... we're not going to propose it." It is interesting to note that 80% to 90% of the families returned the survey to the district. From the large return and compilation of the responses, it was determined that transportation services were not in order (Local Newspaper, April 28, 1997, p. A3). If transportation had been put into place for the alternative schools, several long term ramifications may have arisen for the district. The following issues were raised by editors of the city's newspaper. They believe that given the popularity of these programs it was likely that new alternative and charter schools would be created. 347

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Editors were concerned that with transportation available to preserve alternatives in, the district could have been obligated to provide transportation for all newcomers at a potentially huge cost. In addition, they wondered if the change in times for the schools that would be brought about by the change in start and stop times necessitated in providing bussing for the alternative students. From a broader perspective, the editors questioned whether in a time of school-funding shortages, providing transportation for schools that parents elect for their children to attend and that they were not required to attend was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds (Local Newspaper, March 9, 1997, p. E2). While transportation did not become a reality for the alternative schools in Vista School District, the willingness of district officials to make the effort to provide such services was one that added to the level of security of these schools. District officials were responsive to needs expressed by the parents of students enrolled in the programs. At the same time, the lack of diversity in two of the alternative schools could have been modified if more diverse students could have been transp01ted to the schools. Arguments for Local Control Local control is a means for enabling citizens to determine the purpose and character of education in their schools, one that ensures a form of schooling that is in concert with and responsive to the values of the community (Boyd, In Rothman, April 29, 1992, p. 1). Local control was first introduced into the system of public schooling at the turn of the century when superintendents became disenfranchised with the unscrupulous practices of politicians. At this time, a movement away from large boards to small central boards, elected at large, and with authority delegated to the superintendent was occurring (p. 2). Since that time, education has been one of the systems of government that has 348

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retained the greatest amount of local control over decision making and funding. With over 14,500 local school boards and 22,000 counties and cities playing a substantial role in education, increasing demands for more local control and greater parent participation in public schools has resulted. Pressure has been exerted by suburbanites, minority parents, and ideologues, all of whom believe that education must undergo drastic reform (Peters, 1996, p. 323). Colorado is a state that has afforded its school districts a high level of autonomy in the past. The seven member state board of education is comprised of six members who serve Colorado's congressional districts and one member at large. The board is charged with such tasks as providing educational leadership for the state; appointing the Commissioner of Education; making rules, regulations, and policies that govern the Colorado Department of Education and public education entities; distributing federal and state funds; regulating educator Iicensings, and submitting recommendations for educational improvement to the General Assembly and Governor (Colorado State Board of Education: Board Powers and Duties). In 1993, with the adoption of the Colorado Charter Schools Act, the state board of education was given the new task of exercising judicial authority over appeals by charter schools. This is considered by some as one of the most controversial elements of the charter legislation. In effect, critics believe that this responsibility has brought about a reduction of local control in Colorado's school districts. Ted Reynolds, a member of the Vista Board of Education, had been critical of the reduction in local control contained within the law. He said that the legislation, whether planned or unplanned created a situation in which legislators have displaced the power that rightly belongs to the local school board. He believed that in doing so, they were in fact interfering with the conditions negotiated between charter school applicants and the district. This interference can then trigger other events of which the state board has no knowledge, according to Reynolds. He cited the example of the charter school's 349

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demands that they be able to take over the Butler School, not sell the old high school, and vacate part of a junior high. Reynolds felt that if the district had to follow through with any of those conditions, grave ramifications on the district's ability to anticipate needs in the use of their buildings, plan their financial future, and develop appropriate educational policy would result (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). One board member, Sue Bennett, shared many of the same perspectives that Reynolds holds. She felt that the state board had in some ways tied the hands of the local board and that the local board would be less effective in working with the community to create change. She believed that the state board having greater authority than the local board was problematic. She said that, "When you have a state board that is allowed to make policy and over turn policy for local boards, then I think it is over the line" (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). A central Office administrator, Steven Polk, believed that the greatest problem with the charter legislation was the lack of decision-making authority left with the local board of education. He said that the greatest amount of control now seems to reside with the state and local issues and dynamics were no longer considered. He thinks that the charter applicants see this as a trump card that can be pulled. He felt that in contentious situations if the local board does not grant all the wishes of the applicants, the state board of education can make it so. Local control was the biggest problem with the legislation for central office staff member, Mary Finch. She reported that she was very offended as a taxpayer in the state of Colorado, that her local school board was unable to make a decision and have it stick. She was concerned that a final decision could be made by people who were far away from the issue and had no connections to the community (Finch, Interview Data, 1997). Don Hamilton, a parent critical of charter school legislation, also expressed concerns about the change. He questioned who should have the power to make decisions. He 350

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said that, "It [charter legislation] really usurped local power, especially in regard to who is the final arbitrator in a conflict." He explained that the voters in our community were clear in their position on charter schools when they elected the local board members into office. The state board of education's ability to overturn the majority-vote decision was a problem in Hamilton's mind. He also stated that when the power was given to the state board it took power from the local districts and set up a situation where state and local boards were fighting one another. In his opinion, the power struggle between state and local boards runs counter to the concept of devolving power. He said that he continues to promote the need to have decisions made at the local level. He feared that the ability of the state board to have power over local decisions increased the level of bureaucracy and that it flew in the face of most educational reform trends (Hamilton, Interview Data, 1997). In contrast, one proponent of charter schools reminds us that local control was traditionally defined as, "The ability of residents of a community to build, maintain an manage their own schools. Residents exercised control through the ballot box determining how much they were willing to tax themselves to support these schools." He went on to say that several factors including tax law, assessment programs, and demographic shifts have relegated the system of local control to one that is meaningless for much of society today. To this end, he believed that we need to offer school choice as an educational option, one that is driven by the market (Flake, January 19, 1997, pp. 1-2). Another advocate for school choice believes that local control is not sacrificed when school choice is advanced. Mary Ann Raywid says that schools under the regulation of parents are preferable to those under the control of government and seeks a reduction of local control. She thinks that schools out of the bureaucratic loop are Jess likely to inculcate 'official knowledge' in students (Raywid, In Bracey, 1997, p. 138). Others believe that bureaucracy would be reduced, personnel at buildings would have more 351

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power, parents would become more supportive because they were actively involved in choosing a school for their child to attend, and schools subject to market forces would increase in efficiency and productivity (p. 139). The reduction in local control was particularly disputed by those who endorse charter schools. Some individuals feel that the charter school affords an opportunity to implement local control at the purest level. To these individuals, charter schools put schools back in the hands of the parents and teachers. The charter school movement allows and, in fact, encourages schools to become cottage schools and opt out of district control (Murphy & Ballinger, 1993, p. 10). In Vista School District, AI Russell, a charter applicant, believed that charter schools put the power back in the hands of parents. He hopes that approval the Freedom Chatter School makes it possible for parents to run the school in an independent fashion. He felt that the charter would put parents back into the decision making process. He found parent involvement to be lacking in the Core Knowledge School (Local Newspaper, February 24, 1996, p. B2). Dr. Crawford was the most outspoken interviewee on the topic of local control. He said that, "Public education is public at all; it's a very private kind of education." He believe public education is controlled by a singular ideology in teachers unions. He reports that teachers' unions feel they have the right to tell everyone how kids would be educated, what values would be taught, and what the foundation of education would be. He continues, "It's high time that the public be involved in public policy decision making instead of the bureaucrats." He encouraged the district to put the public back in public education where parents have a say and it's a natural expression of the community. He felt that charter schools were the means to tum local control into control by the parents (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Sherry Cooper also expressed concerns about the practice of local control. She said that the state board of education basically took away the decision-making authority of 352

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the local board in charter schools and she liked the fact that they did. She felt that the local school board should have no authority over decisions made by those affiliated with the charter school. The her, local control meant that the people who had children attending the school were the ones who would set policy for the school. She believed that the school district officials were concerned that the appeals process. took power out of their hands and that the district couldn't handle that (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). One effect of the state board of education's authority to make decisions about charter schools was the reaction of self-preservation evident in Vista School District during the first charter effort. The district had approved the application of the charter school, but had modified several elements within the application. The applicants, extremely unhappy about the limitations imposed by the local board, filed an appeal with the state board of education. This action triggered a lawsuit against the state board of education and the individuals named in the application. Ted Reynolds explained that the lawsuit was an effort to let the state board know that while the law made it possible for them to rule in a case where the application had been denied or revoked, the state had no authority to change aspects of a charter that had been approved (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). "The Vista School District took action to prevent the (state) board of education from exceeding its lawful involvement in disagreements between local school boards and charter school applicants," said Reynolds. He charged that when the charter applicants did not get their way they went to the state board in an effort to modify the contract. Reynolds believed it was exceeding their power for the state board to determine specific provisions of a charter. He felt that the needs of all students in the district were ones that must be taken into consideration by the local board and that the state lacked insights as to how to best address those needs at a local level (Local Newspaper, May 21, 1996, p. A6). When the state board upheld the decision made at the local level, it did so without revealing whether charter schools approved at the local level could be 353

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overturned by the state board. If the state board was able to overturn provisions of a local approval, a precedent could be set that would limit planning for the future in school districts across the state. As new appeals are filed, it will be interesting to determine how the state will resolve the debate about local versus state decisions. On one hand, the state seems to be taking on more responsibility for the education of its students. Efforts to increase uniformity in the state through the adoption of state standards and assessments. At the same time, charter legislation seems to fly in the face of uniformity when charter schools are allowed to do their own thing. In both cases, local control seems to be minimized. Whether local school boards are destined to become a feature of the past has yet to be determined. Public School Advocates Smface In Hail, as the charter school applicants formulated a network of individuals sympathetic to their cause, the district also gained supporters. While not officially organized as the Coalition for Strong Public Schools until April 1996, a number of individuals in the group worked together on previous projects including writing letters to the editor of the city's newspaper, helping with the election of school board members, and submitting a petition to the state board of education. One of the first actions of several of these school sympathizers was to get involved on the Patterson School Task Force in January 1996. Members of the group set about trying to get the state board of education to deny the charter appeal. Don Hamilton, one of the organizers of the parent group, drew up a petition in support of the district's decision on the charter school. Hamilton believed that the people of Hail spoke out against charter schools when they elected the board members in November 1994 and that by overturning the local board's decision on the charter school, the voice of the people would become null and void (Local Newspaper, February 28, 1996, p. B 1 ). 354

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In an interview Hamilton stated, "I think in this community, overall, we have solidified support for public education in general." He believed people saw where the charter school movement was going and that they realized that they liked the system of public education. In many ways the pressure on public schools has been reduced, Hamilton remarked, and parents are free to succeed or fail (Hamilton, Interview Data, 1997). By May 1996, the task force made their presence known in a more concrete fashion. The groups's elected chairman, Emil Klein, said that, "These (Vista School District schools) are schools for all of our students, not just for a particular group of students. We're not fans of the charter group." The position taken by the group was that the public schools were doing a good job and too much time and money has been dedicated to charter schools at the expense of the other students. "It ought to be clear to any rational person that our school board can't grant charters to every chatter group on any kind of a basis," Said Klein (Local Newspaper, May 30, 1996, p. B 1 ). Amy Scott, a member of the task force, said that she has been involved with the coalition since the proposed take over of Patterson School. She believed that the majority of citizens supported the schools. She thought that it was unfortunate that most of the supporters of public education were not organized in a manner that would let others know that they valued the schools. She said that while the charter school members have been out campaigning and have camped on the steps of the Capitol, other community members have been out of the loop. The reason for creation of the coalition was to put in place a rapid-response team that would go to the legislature to express the other side of charter school arguments, according to Scott. Among those interested in the coalition were members of the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). Members of the coalition were monitoring issues all of the time and trying to keep track of them so they can institute change (Scott, Interview Data, 1997). Steven Polk, a central office administrator, spoke of the parent group and described 355

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them as parents who were active at their sites and knowledgeable about district issues. He said that they often came to board meetings and sought budget answers. He felt that many of them were active on their site teams. He believed that these individuals recognized that resources at their sites were diminished by the charter schools and that while many were pro-choice, they did not want choice if it penalize other schools. The group that formed has encouraged the local school board to be cautious in their approval of charter schools (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Ted Reynolds, school board members, said that probably 90% of the community members see absolutely no reason for charter schools and were highly in support of the public school system. He thinks that confusion about charter schools exists. In addition, he wondered whether charter schools and alternative schools have been lumped together in the eyes of the public and that locally, people were skeptical about what good these schools of choice would do (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). A central office administrator, Sam Roberts, said that obvious supporters of public education live in our community and that he saw the number of families going the charter route were a minority of the families at large. He indicates that he has seen a great deal of resistance to the charter schools from proponents of neighborhood schools. He believed that people supporting the neighborhood schools were disenfranchised with chatter schools and that they do not want elitist schools set up no matter how the well the charter was written. He stated that, with reference to charter schools, "The majority of people see it as smoke and mirrors." He indicated that they recognize that a charter school is a private school being run with public school funds and they do not like what they see (Roberts, Interview Data, 1997). In a less structured fashion, evidence of support for public schools has been apparent in presentations at meetings of the board of education and through letters to the editor. Rick Harris shared that at the board meetings people were standing up and accusing the charter people of taking away resources from other children, that they 356

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didn't think charters were appropriate, and how dare they think their child is better than mine (Harris, Interview Data, 1997). While it was true that some families were interested in what the charter school had to offer, it was also quite apparent that the public school system was appreciated by the masses. The battle between charter school applicants and the local board of education appeared to have brought about an increased level of appreciation for what the public schools in Hail were able to provide. Many people still see charter schools as a form of private education and encourage them to seek private alternatives. In a letter to the editor, parent Rose Taylor wrote, "Is anyone else as tired as I am of hearing about the charter school?" She further wrote that she did not personally think that Vista School District should have a charter school. She believed that the alternative schools provide as much flexibility as was necessary in Vista School District. She felt that the boards time would be much better spent in concentrating on the 21 ,000 students in the district rather than on the 300 potential charter school students. She invited the charter applicants to quit telling what they can not do and start to show what they can do. She closed by saying, "Your tantrums grow tiresome" (Local Newspaper, May 21, 1996, p. A6). Her opinions are reflective of many who support the local public schools. Improved Educational Practices Despite the blows to the morale of the public school educators in Hail, the introduction of a charter school in the community brought about some improved practices in education. Among those practices were efforts to be more responsive to the public, to engage in more self examination, for some teachers to participate in professional growth, and to add a research and development component designed to improve district performance. Greater Public Responsiveness. Ted Reynolds, school board member, was 357

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confident that schools have become much more consumer conscious as a result of the school-choice opportunities that have been available in recent years. He felt that the attitude demonstrated by the educators that they know what is best for the student was one we can no longer afford. For in Reynold's opinion, that may be perceived to be an arrogant and unresponsive attitude. As schools have faced the reality of losing students and staff, Reynolds believed that the consequences of non-responsiveness and failure to produce a product that the community is satisfied with have been realized. He said that, "No longer can we be guaranteed that just because they live in our neighborhood, they have to take whatever we dish out." He also indicated that we have to involve parents and students to a much greater extent (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). Steven Polk believed that, in general, the public was much happier with the district since educational options have been adopted. He said that he believed the parents appreciated the efforts of the district to listen to their concerns and to act in a problem solving capacity. He remarked that well over 90% of the districts parents keep their children in their home schools and support their neighborhood schools. He also stated that "Charter school legislation has been an education for us and we have now come to recognize that parents are our customers and that those customers are demanding of different kinds of services" (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Kerri Davis, a district employee, said that she thinks that having made different choices available has been extremely positive for the district. She stated that you hear more when you're out in the community and see more in the newspaper related to Vista School District and the choices it provides. She talked about the spreadsheet that the district has devised to show which schools are losing and which schools are receiving students. This spreadsheet shows which schools were losing the most students to the charter and alternative programs. She felt that this information would be helpful to schools as they engage in determining their level of responsiveness to the public. She also remarked that parents were taking advantage of selecting neighborhood schools as 358

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their school of choice in addition to the alternative schools and charter school. Parents were choosing schools all over town and transporting their children to those schools. As schools try to better meet the needs of the public, learning what schools were doing to entice families may be in order (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). In the opinion of Dr. Crawford, the model of administration that currently is dominant in public education should be replaced with a more functional model. Without charter schools, Crawford believed that, most school districts were incapable of remaking education without help from the public at large. He felt that a bottom line was to have a strong system that was responsive to the public, being guided more by public intentions rather that the intentions of private special-interest groups or employee groups. He said that, "School boards across the country are dominated by board members whose allegiance is to the employee groups, and that's a political fact." He followed up by stating, "If you want more public in public education, you're going to have to rework the way it's organized and the system itself can't do that reworking" (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Patrick Blair, a charter advocate, agreed that responsiveness was crucial to the success of public education. He felt that without a doubt, the schools in Hail were on guard. He believed that schools must be responsive to the customers including parents and students. In general, Blair thinks that some increase in responsiveness already exist and he thinks it has helped (Blair, Interview Data, 1997). Site Self Examination. Sean Littleton believed that, if looked at correctly charter legislation should serve as a wake-up call to some people. He describes it as a rallying call to defeat or for the more insightful a call to improvement. He mentioned that things the charter school in Hail has incorporated could be beneficial to other schools should they choose to get on board. Among the practices he cited were use of the Core Knowledge Curriculum, extended school day and school year, more emphasis on science, and hiring of better trained staff. 359

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Steven Polk said that schools have begun looking at why they are losing numbers and are trying to figure out what can be done about it. The ability of parents to choose a different site means that sites must do a self examination and make adjustments to better articulate what they stand for and make adjustments in practices that parents dislike. He shared that the district has had some interesting maturational issues around the loss of students and our responsibility in developing a greater understanding of the school's role in attrition (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Jim Swenson, an elementary principal, said that his staff has engaged in a great deal of self examination. They spent a year determining what they believed in and what type of education was afforded at the school. They designed a tri-fold that would signal to people that it was valuable to stay at the school. He believed the process was a good one and that the people who have contemplated leaving have appreciated having information in writing that could be shared with them (Swenson, Interview Data, 1997). Not only have sites engaged in self reflection, but so to has the district, in the opinion of Dr. Crawford. He stated, "The district is a little bit more aware of what it's doing and how it's doing." He went on to say that, "Where it used to be able to easily deny that there were significant members of the population that actually felt differently, or that they had any legitimate claim to have their needs or wants, you know, addressed at all." Although he felt that the district has not moved largely beyond a generalized approach, he did acknowledge that some growth has been made (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Professional Growth. Sally Wilson, a central office administrator, thinks that teacher training opportunities have been made available in on-the-job-training fashion through alternative schools and the charter school. She talked about teachers transferring between buildings and the need for them to learn new instructional processes or curriculum. Teachers working in schools of choice who are using new 360

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curriculum or instructional practices have been given training. She also saw the use of a new curriculum as somewhat problematic for teachers as they were learning the ropes and for the students who ended up having a teacher new to an alternative school or program, particularly if they had someone new over a period of several years. She said that in some ways it was like having a first-year teacher over and over again, and she did not believe that was in the students' best interests (Wilson, Interview Data, 1997). Dr. Crawford believed that teachers have moved beyond simply growing in instructional or curricular areas. He saw teachers beginning to ask themselves questions about the union and about why a charter school could have or could do things that they were not able to do (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Crawford's belief in the need for professional growth was also in evidence in the philosophy and structure of Freedom Charter School. Specialists in mathematics and science have been hired to work with teachers in the elementary grades to help them develop more content knowledge. Crawford and the other charter school applicants feel elementary teacher training in these areas has been negligible. The school adds additional time to the school year for teacher staff development. As yet, these practices have not been adopted by Vista School District's other schools. Research and Development. The potential for the charter school and alternative schools to serve as centers for research and development of curriculum and instructional practice was one the Steven Polk found appealing. He felt that through studying charter schools the district would be allowed to promote the testing of ideas, investigating structural methodology, examining the effects of grouping children in different ways, and engaging in research experimentation. He believed those efforts would be good for public education and that the ideas could then be transported to other schools and programs (Polk, Interview Data, 1997). Gary Thompson, a central office administrator, said that he hoped the district would pay attention to what was happening in alternative and charter schools and that they 361

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would use what they had learned to inform decisions on curriculum and instruction in the future (Thompson, Interview Data, 1997). Unfortunately, the alternative and charter schools in Hail have not been able to avail themselves of this responsibility, to date. Gerri Sackett, a co-founder of the Experiential School, said that she likes the idea of being able to share information with other schools, but to date this type of sharing had not occurred. In part, she said that this. was because they had been overwhelmed for the past five years with things to do related to just running the Experiential School properly. She said that "It would be wonderful to get together and say this was what we are trying". She desired to share that this works for our kids or this has not worked at all. She also expressed an interest in asking others for their ideas and opinions. She felt that a great deal of misunderstanding about schools of choice has resulted and that schools could learn a lot from them even if they were not interested in the curriculum or instructional practices of the school of choice (Sackett, Interview Data, 1997). Charter Law Revisions Since the adoption of the charter law in 1993, several revisions and additions to the law have been necessary. Throughout the state, district personnel and charter school applicants have found the law to be weak in many respects. The information contained within this section outlines some of the key charter school legislative measures that have been introduced in Colorado. As early as 1996, modifications had been adopted in an effort to strengthen the law. Senate Bill 96-77 enacted the Charter School District Act. This act made it possible for the state to approve up to five charter districts, each with an enrollment of 15,000 or fewer students, to operate under charter regulations rather than under state law and regulations. These school districts would be held to certain state and federal requirements. The bill requires that before a district applies for charter status, the question of 362

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whether to operate the district as a charter must be asked of the electors of the district at a regular biennial school election or special election. Charter status for districts is limited to six years at which time the district may apply for renewal. The state board is charged with promulgation of rules and requirements to be made of districts applying for a charter. It is also required to determine upon what grounds the state may revoke or refuse to renew the charter (Colorado Department of Education, 1996, p. 7). During the same legislative session, major revisions to the Charter Schools Act were approved under House Bill 96-1293. Several changes in the law affect the contents of the application. They included the addition of the phrase, "Encouragement of the use of proven teaching methods," to the purposes of the law. The requirement that the charter applicants include a statement of need for the chmter school in a particular geographic area in the application was removed. Charter schools are now required to include the employment policies of the school, a condition that was previously not specified in the law. In addition, several changes in the interaction between the local board of education and charter applicants have been made. Rather than allowing districts to establish their own application deadline, H. B. 96-1293 established October 1 as a cut-off date by which time the application must be filed with the local district. The bill prevents districts from assessing an application fee. This bill also empowers the local board of education to waive requirements it has imposed without having to request a state board of education waiver. With reference to the approval or denial of a charter school, H. B. 1293 requires the local board of education to submit a copy of the approved charter to the department of education within 15 days of the schools approval. In addition, it requires the local board of education to state, in writing, its reasons for denying, revoking, or not renewing a charter. The original law gave charter applicants whose charters had been denied or not renewed the power to appeal. In what appears to be a reaction to the first 363

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approval (with qualifications) of Vista's charter school the bill authorizes a charter applicant to appeal a decision of the local board of education to the state if the district has unilaterally imposed conditions that the applicant finds unacceptable. The bill addressed the excess costs of educating a child with a disability by taking the decision out of the hands of the local district. Rather than pursuant to a contract between the district and the charter school, the department of education was charged with determining guidelines for determining those costs. Finally, the cap on the number of charter schools was raised from 50 to 60 (pp. 12-13). In January 1997, Senator Jim Congrove, presented Senate Bill97-18, a revision to the Charter Schools Act, before a Senate committee. Among the revisions that Congrove suggested were prohibiting school boards from limiting the number of charter schools in their districts, making it possible for charter applicants to submit blanket waivers, and preventing districts from reducing a school's operating budget if using a district facility. The bill also proposed removing the repealer of the Charter Schools Act that was to expire in 1998 (Local Newspaper, January 17, 1997, p. A 7). By July I, 1997, Congrove had toned his bill down. The bill did make it possible for charter schools to organize as non-profit organizations and ensured that schools did not lose governmental immunity when they applied for non-profit status. A slight change of language took the application as contract clause out of the law and instead said that the application would serve as the basis for the contract. The bill called for a threeto five-year contract for charter schools. A deadline of December I was set for districts to receive applications for renewal. Districts have until February I or a mutually agreed upon timeline to respond to the request for renewal. Earlier elements of the bill including the repealer, the prevention of district limits on charters, the restriction of budget for schools using district facilities, and the blanket waiver policy were excluded from this version (Colorado Department of Education, 1997, p. 6). While not a charter school law, House Bill 97-I249, a school Finance Act, did 364

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address a charter school issue. The bill amended the Charter Schools Act to stipulate that a charter school applicant must apply for a charter to the district in which the majority of the school's pupils reside (p. 13). This modification in the Jaw was brought about when officials of the Academy of Adams County announced that they were seeking a new sponsoring district and were negotiating with a district in the San Luis Valley, a district over 200 miles away. State House Majority Leader, Norma Anderson, initiated the efforts to block this from happening by introducing the amendment. The original language of the law states, "a charter school shall be a public school which is part of the school district in which it is located." By amending the Finance Act, Anderson wanted to make sure that no question about district sponsorship existed and to force local districts to expand upon educational opportunities Denver Post, February 4, 1997, p. 8B). Two laws about charter schools were enacted in Spring 1998. Senate Bill 98-63 repeals the charter school repealer. In 1993, the Colorado Charter Schools Act was enacted for a period of five years. That five-year period was set to expire in June 1998. The approval of this Senate Bill 98-63 extended the Charter Schools Act indefinitely. It was approved on April 6, 1998 and went into effect on July 1, 1998 (Colorado Department of Education, 1998, p. 2). A second bill, House Bill 98-1171 permits the release of charter schools from state regulations and statutes in an expeditious fashion. The bill specifies that the state board of education has only 45 days after a waiver request is made to approve or deny the request. Approval may be given verbally; however, a denial must be in writing, and the reasons for the denial must be specified. It was clear that, when more than one waiver was requested denial should apply only to the statutes or regulations that were expressly noted. The stipulation that the local board of education and charter applicants jointly submit the waiver request was deleted granting charter applicants the ability to do so without district approval (p. 6). 365

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The original charter school law has undergone many revisions during the past few years and it is likely that bills will continue to arise in reaction to criticisms or problems. Don Hamilton, a parent in the community, describes the Charter School Act as legislation that was poorly written. He believed that the governor was trying to take some steam away from the voucher movement and that the law is replete with compromises that will come back to haunt the legislature. Because of the compromises, Hamilton finds the law to be ineffectual. He listed the lack of properly addressing funding and facility issues as examples of problems with the law. To Hamilton, the greatest problem with the law was the transfer of power on a majority-vote basis to the state board of education. He believed that the law took power away from local districts. He found that it runs counter to the claim that devolving power should exist. Through the law and amendments to the law, the state is taking on more and more power that should be left at the local school board level, according to Hamilton. He felt that the effort to reduce local bureaucracy by moving it to the state level was a ridiculous way to bring about reform (Hamilton, Interview Data, 1997). Kerri Davis, a central office administrator, agreed. She indicated that the law was in error in assigning decision-making authority to the state level. She said that, "I think that the whole process has been ill conceived and misunderstood because the new legislation makes it easier for the decisions made by the Vista School District board to be challenged at the state level." She went on to say that if the charter developers did not like what the local board said that they would run to the state board and demand action. She believed that this has taken away from local authority and expertise (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). Dr. Crawford, an applicant for Freedom Charter School, felt that the law was problematic from the applicant's point of view, as well. He said that the primary concerns had to do with lack of funding and the power of the local board of education to block, deny, or be uncooperative when working with the applicants. He believed 366

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that board members had many things at their disposal in the law and that charter school applicants could be ignored or could be put at a disadvantage. He would like to see charter schools placed on equal footing with other public schools in both funding and authority (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). Summary Charter law has been the subject of much debate since its enactment in 1993. Formal bills have been introduced to change the level of funding afforded to charter schools, to address capital costs, to address the application contents and process, to establish new deadlines, to strengthen the approval and denial procedures, to simplify the waiver process, to increase the number of charters in the state, and to approve their existence indefinitely. Some of these bills have been passed, others have been tabled or are being rewritten for future consideration. In one case, even another law was amended to reflect charter school protocol. The results of the original legislation and the subsequent revisions have been far reaching in terms of time and effort expended. Yet, in Vista School District, these efforts have done little to improve the working relationship between the board of education and the charter school board of directors. Those interviewed describe the relationship as bumpy, tenuous, and contentious. Perhaps, the legislative revisions were a case of too little, too late for Vista School District and Freedom Charter School. As Pandora's box flew open and changes were unleashed upon the world, both positive and negative effects have been experienced in Vista School District. On the positive side, more parents and community members have become invested in the school their child will attend and a vast amount of volunteerism has been evident at Freedom Charter School. While a curriculum that has become the charter school curriculum of choice was adopted, some innovations have taken place in curriculum and instruction at the charter school. An emphasis on teacher professionalism and staff 367

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development have been implemented at the school, and efforts are being made to pay teachers for performance. The headmaster at the charter school is able to focus completely on curriculum and instructional issues and the business aspects of running a school are handled by a business manager. Alternative schools have become more secure as district entities. By some standards, support for public schools has been at an all time high in this community. More negative aspects of the charter-school movement in Hail have also been felt. With the charter school' s duplication, to a large degree, of an existing Core Knowledge School, it is questionable whether Hail has been able to afford more choices by opening this charter school. Questions about the school's ability to attract a diverse population have prevailed. Private and neighborhood schools have suffered from fluctuations in population due to approval of the charter school but to an even greater extent from the approval of alternative schools and open-enrollment policies. Practices in which the charter school serves as a research and development site designed to inform other schools have not been in evidence. Issues around local control and divisive relationships between charter applicants and district officials continue to be problematic. Soft language and omissions in the original law have triggered that solutions be created in reaction to criticism, yet have missed the mark in addressing start-up costs, facility needs, and questions of decision-making authority. As with Pandora's box, charter school legislation is unlikely to bring about the end of public schooling as we know it. However, it may serve as one of the major catalysts in efforts to reform public education through state regulation. The legislation, as written in Colorado, takes ultimate decision-making authority out of the hands of the local board of education and places it in the hands of the state board of education. Centralized decision making is necessary if overarching educational reform is to be achieved according to some charter advocates. Chester Finn supports a move away from local control, viewing it as the educational establishment's means to maintain the 368

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status quo. He states, Although we may someday regret handing more of the big decisions to states (and such national groupings as the assembled governors), if we want revolutionary changes in American education we have to overhaul its power structure and its ingrained practices. (Finn, 1991, p. 234) 369

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CHAPTERS CLOSED BOOK OR NEW CHAPTER? Pandora came to earth and upon it she bestowed many gifts. She made her presence known to those who had never imagined any creature quite like her. She came bearing gifts for those who came to know her. While many of her gifts brought fear to men's hearts, not all resulted in negative effects. For as is true with most events, her coming was replete with both positive and negative repercussions, some perhaps anticipated and some not. Restatement The primary emphasis of this study has been to identify the manifest and latent outcomes of charter school legislation and the effects of that legislation on one school district in Colorado. The idea for the study grew out of two district interactions with those invested in the law in the state. The first was an experience working with Rexford Brown on early efforts to design and apply for P.S. 1, a charter school in the Denver Public School District. The second was participating in interviews with legislative sponsors of the bill. After hearing the intentions of charter advocates and their recognition that consequences would be felt by the educational system led to the conjecture that system-changing effects associated with this legislation would result. Due to the magnitude of the problem, one district in Colorado was selected as the nucleus for the study. The district was selected, based on several factors, including the vast numbers of students taking advantage of open enrollment policies, opportunities for students to engage in postsecondary options, and the initiative of the district in creating its own alternative schools policy. In addition, at the outset of the study the 370

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district was in negotiations with applicants for a charter school and had successfully convinced an alternative school interested in chartering to remain an alternative school. The district has since approved a charter school and the school has successfully completed its first year. Purpose Statement The influence of public policy on the organizations in which they are implicated and on citizens is well documented. Yet, at times it appears that policy is developed in a vacuum and that related policies, consequences of policy enactment, and long-range effects of the policy are not considered by legislators prior to its development. At national, state, and local levels, efforts to reform education through adoption of school choice policies seem to fit this pattern. Statements by legislators when interviewed in 1994 support this assumption. With the passage of the Colorado Charter Schools Act in 1993, lawmakers had enacted four school-choice reform efforts in a five year period. Several legislators who endorsed the bill expressed various reasons for adding this legislation to the list of choice agenda efforts. Their reasons included rallying behind the reform efforts of John Irwin following his death in 1992, forcing public schools to become more reform oriented, and avoiding vouchers. Yet, when pressed to discuss the effects of the legislation on districts, the legislators asked were unable to do so. One Representative basically stated that it was not her problem (Huston, Jansen, & Reimer, 1994). To my mind, this begged the question of whether a systematic means for examining policy-making decisions would prove advantageous for use by legislators engaged in policy decisions. Beginning with the work of Merton on functional analysis (1957a) and structural analysis (1976b) and adding the ideas from Stinchcombe's model of social structure (1990), a hybrid analytical model is suggested for this purpose (see pages 22 and 63). 371

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As an overarching theme, elements of the social process model of Lasswell ( 1971) were superimposed. For this purpose, the components selected from Lasswell included determination of participants, perspectives or perceptions, base-values, situations or decisions, outcomes, and effects (see Figure 3.1, p. 63). The influences of the works of Merton, Stinchcombe, and Lasswell have been conjoined to create an analytical model suggested for future use by policy makers. An Analytical Model Through use of this model, policy makers would begin the discussion of new policy in five different steps. First they would begin by isolating the unit or object that would be most influenced by the legislation. In the case of this study, the obvious target is to bring about reform in the system of public schools by increasing the level of competition. Once identified, policy makers would engage in the second step by delineating those who exert authority over the system. In the school system, those with leverage over the schools are families, businesses, government, the community, and religious organizations. Each of these sources of authority have their own set of perspectives and motivations. The perspectives are often brought to the forefront of public attention because they are closely tied to the base values of the individuals or groups involved in the proceeding. The third step involved the decison-making process and outcomes of the decision. When policy is under discussion, two questions should be asked. The first is what outcomes will result if nothing is changed. The second is what outcomes will occur if the new policy is adopted. These outcomes are the manifest or intended outcomes of the decision. They should be based on an understanding of participants, perspectives, and past experiences with similar policies. Less evident and the step perhaps not identified by most policy makers is the fourth 372

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consideration, that of trying to anticipate results that might be unintended. Some latent outcomes of the charter school legislation have resulted in the divisive relationships, legal actions, reductions in public school funding to other public schools, loss of students, and the establishment of public school advocacy groups. It is the set of latent outcomes that has brought with it systemic effects, as well. The fifth step is to consider the potential effects of both manifest and latent outcomes on the object of the legislation. Certainly, one would hope that the results of manifest outcomes would have been examined and policy decisions would be modified to ensure those effects would be in the best interest of all. However, if a close look at the latent effects of legislative decisions are not considered, the results could be devastating. Case Study The research took the form of a case study in which the principal data was collected through an interview process. From artifacts that were obtained from the school district and articles in the Local Newspaper, a list of potential interview candidates was generated. An effort to incorporate individuals who represented those identified and who exerted influence over schools was made. Interviewees included representatives of government, the community, and families. To a lesser degree, efforts were made to incorporate religious and business representatives. District spokes people were included in the study. As the interviews progressed, a question designed to ensure the involvement of all key individuals resulted in the inclusion of additional individuals. Personal communications were used to clarify information, as necessary. A letter of introduction was sent to those being asked to interview. A return portion was attached and individuals were able to respond in a self-addressed and stamped envelope included with the Jetter. Individual interview sessions were scheduled and the interviews were taped for later transcription. HyperRESEARCH data base was used to 373

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assist with coding and categorization of the information and memo writing was used for clarification of data and to formulate impressions about what had been stated by the interviewees (Hesse-Biber et al., 1994). Artifacts were used for triangulation. Initial Findings From the Charter Schools Act, five intentions of the law were identified. These intentions included providing oppmtunities for more choices for families, addressing the needs of at-risk students in alternative settings, increasing the involvement of parents and community members, modifying curriculum and instructional practices, and generating innovative practices. Manifest Outcomes The legislature did have the overall goal of educational reform in mind when designing the charter school law. To varying degrees, these intentions have been actualized by some of the charter schools included in this study. Intentions have been listed independently. More Choices. Colorado appears to have three basic designations into which additional choice opportunities fall. They include schools that focus on Core Knowledge, those with a greater emphasis on the needs of students in more individualized settings, and those designed to preserve a school or create a school in a small rural location that might not otherwise have a school. The charter school in Vista School District falls into the first category, that of a Core Knowledge School. With an alternative Core Knowledge School in Hail, the charter school technically did not bring more choice to the community. However, as enrollment figures demonstrated, it did make this choice available to more children. The opening of the charter school almost doubled the total number of students able to attain a school with a Core Knowledge curriculum. 374

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At-Risk Students. With reference to at-risk students, data reflects that across the nation charter schools often are found to be havens for these students rather than attractive only to the "best and brightest." Finn, Bierlein, and Manno have found that over half of the students attending charter schools are at risk as compared to 30% in other public schools (1997, p. 9). Categories for at-risk students were inclusive of racial minority students; special education students; and those from special populations such as Title I, ESL, and gifted and talented. Students in a racial minority in most states are attracted to charter schools (Bierlein, 1996, p. 4). However, this trend has not held true in Colorado. She finds that Colorado charter schools have an average minority population of 20% while other public schools have a 23% minority population (see Table 4.4, p. 103). This study was based on a small population. By the time of the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, Colorado's public schools were found to have 27.98% students of color as compared with 18.41% in Colorado's charter schools (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 8). From these results, minority interest in charter schools seems significantly below what was anticipated. Findings were similar in other at-risk categories. In the report cited above, charter schools reported having 6.3% special education students as compared with 9.85% in other public schools (p. 8). Statistics on special populations were not listed in the study published in 1998, for this reason special population statistics were taken from the Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation published one year earlier. In this report, Title I students were found to comprise .30% of the charter school population as compared to 7.9% in other public schools. ESL students were found to represent .I 0% of charter schools when other public schools had an ESL population of 3.3%. In charter schools, 5.4% of the students were listed as gifted and talented. In Colorado's other public schools this population was found to encompass 7.5% of the population (1997, p. ii). 375

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Increase in Involvement. Data on an increase in involvement was more difficult to secure. This was due to the fact that consistent methods of reporting volunteer time were not required in the evaluation process. Some schools reported time in terms of hours accrued over the course of the year, some listed percentages of parents contributing volunteer time, and others did not include any statistics in their report. During the 1996-1997 school year, volunteer hours ranged from 300 at Battle Rock School to 19,000 at Academy of Charters (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 27). The hours identified by Freedom Charter School during 1997-1998, at 38,948 volunteer hours, were significantly higher than those reported at other charter schools (Hess, personal communication, September 9, 1998). Curriculum and Instruction. Curriculum and Instruction, as viewed in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, was found to be varied in nature. Fourteen categories were listed in the study and it was noted that one school might incorporate more than one curricular or instructional model, Some of the most popular categories were individualized-learning, thematic instruction, Core Knowledge cuniculum, multi-age classes, hands-on learning, and community as a classroom, (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 22-23). Accountability for charter schools is of great importance if a determination of the success of these schools is to be made. The districts in which the schools reside have been charged with the primary responsibility to ensure that this happens. The state monitors accountability, as well. A part of the evaluation requirements identified by the state, the Clayton foundation has been charged with oversight of student performance among its other responsibilities. Charter schools have designed a variety of means for tracking student progress including critereon-referenced tests, norm-referenced tests, standardized measures, and performance assessments. Schools have been able to design their own assessment measures for use in monitoring student achievement of standards. During the 1996-1997 school year, all of the charter schools in the study 376

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met or exceeded the expectations they had defined for performance (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 33-36). Innovation. If you ask applicants who have negotiated successfully for a charter school to talk about innovative practices at his school, you would find that they could probably do so with ease. The applicants might speak of a curricular sequence such as the one espoused in Hirsch's Core Knowledge curriculum or of an individualized approach to instruction. Perhaps you would hear that the students are able to have learning experiences in the community or that foreign language is made available at the elementary level. Educators may argue that these innovations are found in many schools throughout the nation and that is true. It is also tme that the innovation has apparently not been available to those with the vision for the charter school. While the legislation talks about innovations, it has subsequently been explained that an innovation doesn't have to be something brand new. Instead, it must simply be new or not available to those who desire a charter (Franks, personal communication, September 19, 1996). Latent Outcomes and Legislative Effects Latent outcomes were described through the same lens as were manifest outcomes. Through an examination of the same five intentions of the legislation that were reviewed for manifest outcomes, latent outcomes were identified. The first category, more choice resulted in the selection of four separate latent consequences. More Choices. First, I assessed the degree of program diversity. I found that in Colorado two predominant types of charter schools have been established. Although it is somewhat artificial to assign of these charter schools to a single category of emphasis, for the purposes of this study that has been done. By 1997-1998,50 charter schools could be found throughout Colorado. Of these school, 22 advocate Core Knowledge or a similar curricular approach. Ten emphasize individualized instruction. 377

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While districts may have been influenced by a different type of school in their midst, the creation of school diversification across the state did not result. Second, changes in resource allocation have resulted from efforts to afford more choice. In a Study of Charter Schools: First Year Report it became evident that funding issues are handled quite differently across the states (U. S. Department of Education, May 1997). Most states provide 100% funding to charter schools. Colorado is an exception in that the charter applicants and sponsors negotiate the percentage of Some districts award the charter school greater than 100% of the per pupil operating revenue. While this may not have been anticipated by the state, this has resulted in decreased revenue to the district's other schools and disproportionate funding for charter students. The need to negotiate for funds puts the charter school applicants and members of the local board of education in oppositional positions over a critical issue, money. Often divisive relationships arise from this process. This is especially worthy of note because districts spend different amounts based on the age level of the students. More is spent to educate a high school student than an elementary student. However, charter schools receive an average of the district's per pupil spending. This means that elementary charter schools are receiving a higher level of funding to begin with and charter schools for high school students may be receiving a lower level of funding. In Hail, the level of funding was negotiated at 1 00%, but district financial officer, Gary Thompson, believes that with special services thrown in that were not purchased back by the charter school that the actual funding level is about 106% (Thompson, personal communication, May 7, 1998). Site expenditures have been of concern throughout the nation when district sites are not available. In Colorado, this was the case for nineteen of the first twenty four charter schools approved in the state (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. xi). The ability of each charter to secure a facility then falls to the charter applicants. Often charter schools are able to make arrangements with the city, nonprofit organizations, or private 378

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parties to obtain a building at little or no cost. More often, a substantial charge for rent exists. Charter schools in the Clayton Foundation's report spent between $10,000 and $305,113 for rent. These expenditures resulted in the allocation of between 6% and 13.9% of the charter schools' budgets (see Table 5.2, p. 144). For schools having to expend up to 14% of their budget is a variable perhaps not considered by the legislation. Start-up costs for charter schools are substantial, at times. Some states have made provisions for these cost by offering grants, state resources, federal dollars, and Goals 2000 money. In Colorado, no funding was made available for start-up costs. It is then incumbent upon the charter schools to allocate funds from their budget or to obtain funding from other sources. Freedom Charter School requested a loan of $1.6 million from the Vista School Board. When the loan was turned down, they secured a loan from a private Arizona firm that specializes in charter school loans. I find it hard to believe that the state intended that students in chruter schools go without necessities such as globes, desks, computers, or library books. Yet, without start-up funds, some charter schools have found themselves in need of these and other such items, an unintended consequence. The establishment of private enterprises to offer charter schools loans was an outcome that probably was not anticipated either. Third, enrollment conditions in other district schools have become less stable. While this factor is due to other school-choice legislation combined with charter school legislation, the outcomes have been significant. Students who once left public schools to attend private schools or to participate in home-schooling are now being enticed back into the public system because parents are able to choose the school they wish for their child to attend, including charter schools. While increasing enrollment is a benefit to most school districts, some find that space in which to house these students is problematic. In addition, private schools in the community have suffered from declining enrollments. In a study conducted in 1996, Finn, Manno, and Bierlein found 379

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that of 1, 159 students enrolled in Colorado charter schools, 127 or approximately 11% had come from private schools (p. 15). Over time, the experience in Vista School District would lead me to believe that private school and home-school statistics have increased dramatically. The principal of a local Christian school anticipated losing about 100 students from his K-12 school in Fall 1997. While not all of these students left to go to the charter school, many left because of new public school options, including the district's alternative schools (Local Newspaper, July 20, 1997, p. B 1). Sherry Cooper, a charter advocate, shared that approximately half of Freedom Charter Schools students came from other public schools, the rest were from private schools and home schoolers (Cooper, Interview Data, 1997). Public school enrollment conditions have changed in Hail based on the movement of students from one location to the charter school. Two of the district's elementary schools have had over 30 students leave to attend Freedom Charter School. Four elementary schools have lost more than 20 students to Freedom School. Eight schools have lost more than ten students to the charter school. The other schools have lost at least one student to the charter. While these numbers seem quite small, in combination with the alternative schools and open enrollment practices, some schools have lost as many as 224 students to schools of choice. Because students must apply for choice status yearly, and acceptance is based on space availability, the number of students leaving each year is not static. This makes facilities and staffing decisions quite difficult. Changes in boundaries, increases in transportation costs, reductions in staffing, and the need to share staffing between buildings have resulted from the attrition that has taken place. These changes have made parents whose students must change schools unhappy and have reduced the effectiveness of some teachers in multiple sites. Fourth, fragile community relations have come from the duress that has been 380

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evident in the national rhetoric on charter schools. Taking literally, the recommendation that schools charter as outlined in Education by Charter: Restructuring School Districts Budde, 1982, academics such as Joe Nathan (1996), Chester Finn (1996), and Ted Kolderie (1993) have taken up the gauntlet for charter schools. Equally vocal, but on the side of caution have been academics such as Seymour Sarason (1998), Amy Stuart Wells (1993), and John Witte (1996). The ideas of these individuals have been the topic of educational debate during the past decade, a debate that has also been taken up by politicians including President Clinton ( 1998) and Governor Romer (1993). At the local level, these debates have been played out between members of the board of education and charter applicants. Frustrated that they were unable to have immediate approval from the board of education, charter applicants waged a public battle in an effort to place pressure on the board. Their tactics included writing letters to the editor and guest editorials in the Local Newspaper, engaging in legislative lobbying, making public pronouncements at school board meetings, hosting meetings in their homes to discuss educational alternatives, and establishing personal connections with community members through business and casual encounters. While members of the board of education followed legislated mandates with reference to the charter school, some board members were reluctant to approve the charter at first. This had to do with conditions in the charter found unacceptable to members of the board including, the request to take over a site already occupied by two alternative programs, governance conditions, and the inclusion of junior high school students in the proposal. The board initially denied the charter application, were forced into an appeals hearing, renegotiated the contract, gave conditional approval to the school, and filed a lawsuit to verify the board's decision to have local control over conditions acceptable at the local level. The atmosphere at board meetings when charter issues were discussed, was less than conciliatory. Some of the community members, 381

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after watching the board meetings and reading the paper, decided to get involved in a more active manner. To counter the efforts of the charter applicants, a coalition of community members who support public education and are opposed to charter schools entered the battleground and used similar tactics designed to discourage members of the board of education from approving the charter. These included creating a petition to ensure that the state board of education support the local board's decisions about the charter, writing letters to the newspaper, making presentations at board meetings, and conducting a diversity study on enrollment conditions in the alternative schools. It is true that not all of the residents of Hail took an interest in the charter school debates, but for those who did they recognized that hard feelings were present on both sides. For many of those involved in the debate hard feelings still exist. Terms such as contentious, divisive, and irreconcilable were used to describe relationships by numerous interviewees. These conditions obviously were not a part of the legislature's intentions. At-Risk Students. One intention of charter schools is that they would prove inviting to and offer programs specific to at-risk students. At risk students include racial minorities, special education students, and the special populations such as Title I or ESL. Race and Ethnicity. At the national level, it has largely been the case that students in racial minority groups have been attracted to charter schools. The report by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that in most states the minority enrollment in charter schools generally mirrors that of other schools within the state (May 1997, p. 19). At the national level in 1995-1996, Caucasian enrollment in charter schools was just over half, with a 51.6% Caucasian enrollment. Hispanic students comprised 24.8% of the charter population. The black enrollment percentage was at 13.8%. Asian enrollment figures were at 6.3% while Native American enrollment stood at 3.5% (p. 4). 382

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At the same time in Colorado, large numbers of minority students did not flock to charter schools (see Table 5.5, p. 163). Caucasian students represented 74.1% of Colorado's students, yet a population of 82.1% Caucasian students was found to be in charter schools. Colorado's other public schools enrolled 1.4% more black students, 6% more Hispanic students, and .8% more Asian students than did charter schools. Charter schools did enroll .2% more Native American students than did other public schools (p. 19). Although more minority students have become increasingly attracted to Colorado's charter schools, a higher percentage of Caucasian students continue to enroll in charter schools than are present in the school's sponsoring districts (see Table 5.7, p. 169). Of the twenty-four schools included in the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, nineteen had a higher Caucasian enrollment than the district average. Some of the schools had a Caucasian enrollment of 20 percentage points or higher than did their sponsoring districts (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. 16). In Vista School District, determining the degree of at-risk students in attendance as compared with district averages (see Table 7.1, p. 303). In a district where 84.3% of the students are Caucasian, Freedom Charter School had a 90.2% Caucasian enrollment. The district and Freedom Charter Schools enrollment percentages for Native American students were quite similar at 1% and 1.1% respectively. The district has an enrollment of 1.3% back students as compared to a .2% average at Freedom Charter School. Hispanic students comprise 10.6% of the district's population. At Freedom Charter School, only 3.4% of the students are Hispanic. A higher percentage of Asian students (4.8%) are enrolled in Freedom Charter School than the district's overall average (2.6% ). Charter school advocates would argue that despite the fact that fewer black and Hispanic students have enrolled at Freedom School than the district average, that other schools in the district have similar enrollment profiles. While this is in fact the case 383

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based on neighborhood of residence, Sue Bennett, a school board member, is very concerned that a district school with no geographic boundaries should be more reflective of the district as a whole (Bennett, Interview Data, 1997). As charter schools are created, continuous monitoring to determine ethnic composition must occur. If this is not done, exclusionary charter schools may in fact evolve. This is a condition that may never have been intended by the legislators who sponsored the law. Special Education. At the federal level, numerous regulations have been established to ensure that the needs of children with disabilities are appropriately met in schools. Critics of charter schools fear that the needs of these students will not be well met in charter schools. The fears of these critics have resulted in a determination that charter schools are not able to waive these regulations. This determination was made in a reactionary manner after some states had passed and enacted charter legislation. This is in fact the area in which charter schools have the least flexibility. For some parents of disabled children, this is an oxymoron. They believe that the intention of charter school legislation to address the needs of at-risk students in unique ways has been compromised by limitations in waivers when traditional practices must be met by charter schools (Finn, et al., 1996, p. 55). These conditions may prevent some students from attending charter schools because that they feel they will just get more of the same. In Colorado, between 9% and 10% of the state's students qualify for special education services. During the 1995-1996 school year, approximately 6.15% of the charter schools' students were in special education programs (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). This percentage remained relatively unchanged during the 1996-1997 school year when the percent increased to 6.18% (Clayton Foundation, 1998, p. ii). With two concurrent years of below state average percentages in special education this trend is one to monitor closely. Charter schools across the state varied in the number of special education students 384

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they enrolled (see Table 5.8, p. I75). Seven of the twenty-four schools included in the I998 study had more than I 0% of their students in special education programs. Community of Learners Charter Schools enrolled a special education population of I8.9%, Community Involved Charter School enrolled I4.6% special education population, and at Community Prep Charter School enrolled I4.5% of their students in special education programs. In all three cases, the districts enrolled fewer than I 0% of their students in special education. In these instances, the charter schools have been found to be a refuge for special education students. In contrast, four charter schools enroll no special education students in districts with special education populations. If schools continue to enroll no special education students over time, an investigation into why that is the case should be conducted to ensure that discriminatory practices are not in place at the charter school. Clearly, discrepancies between cha1ter schools exist with reference to their inclusion of special education students. Ideally, charter schools should enroll percentages of special education students that are similar percentages to those of the sponsoring districts. (No information on Freedom Charter Schools special education population was available at the time of this study.) Special Populations. Students from a various special populations are present in most states across the nation. Special populations are those categories of students who have conditions that might make them less likely to succeed in education. These students include those on free or reduced lunch, Title I students, ESL students, and gifted and talented students. While included in the first evaluation study, all but free or reduced lunch percentages were left out of the second study. In the I997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, it was apparent that for the most part charter schools have fewer students receiving free or reduced lunch. Only seven of the twenty-four schools in the study had a percentage of free or reduced lunch students equal to or greater than the percentage of their sponsoring districts (Clayton 385

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Foundation, 1998, p. 16). This may be true for several reasons not anticipated at the time the charter legislation was written. One factor is that so many charter schools have not been able to secure building facilities and in their rented facilities they may not have access to a kitchen that meets code and therefore a school lunch program is not offered. In addition, many charter schools attract a clientele that is in a higher socioeconomic bracket than those on free or reduced lunch. The sma11er percentage of students on free or reduced lunch has the potential effect of eliminating students from participation in Title I programs. In many districts, school participation in Title I is determined by the percentage of students that qualify for free or reduced lunch. If a school lunch program is not offered, no other option for the school to demonstrate its need for Title I services may be available. For students who would qualify at another site, the lack of Title I services for the student is an unintended outcome. Freedom Charter School does not qualify for Title I services. ESL students are students who receive English language support because their first language was not English. In states like New Mexico, Texas, and California, the number of students receiving ESL support is significant. That is not the case in Colorado where only 3.3% of the state's students qualify for these services. A small number of students who qualify for ESL services have elected to go to charter schools. In 1995-1996, only seven ESL students attended a charter school or charter schools. With such a small number of students receiving language support in the state's charter schools and mandatory service required for such students, an economy of scale problem arises. Itinerant teachers may be required to go to a charter school to provide service for one or two children. Travel time and expenses associated with such a practice were probably not considered at the time the legislation was drafted (Clayton Foundation, 1997, p. ii). (The statistics on ESL students were not included in the 1998 study, nor were statistics on Freedom Charter School's ESL students available.) The special population that has found charter schools most attractive has been the 386

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gifted and talented population. In Colorado, gifted and talented students have been defined as those school-aged individuals who have such talents or learning potential as to warrant special classroom provisions or programs (Colorado Department of Education, 1995, p. 1 ). In 1995-1996, the percentage of gifted and talented students in Colorado's charter schools was 5.4% and the state gifted and talented population was at 7.5% (p. ii). Although most closely aligned with the special population statistics of the state, the gifted and talented percentages still fell below those of the state. It is obvious that the charge that charter schools "cream" the best and brightest students was not so at the time of the study. To the contrary, few gifted and talented students may have been attracted the the majority of the state's charter schools that year. Stargate Charter School was created to meet the needs of their district's gifted and talented students. During this same school year, Stargate enrolled 175 of the state's gifted and talented students (p. 30). Using these figures, it appears that 4.1% of the state's 5.4% of gifted and talented students attended Stargate in 1995-1996. Thus, only 1.3% of the gifted and talented students were dispersed across the remaining charter schools. Perhaps, in an effort to avoid elitism, charter schools have under enrolled gifted and talented students. Increase in Involvement. Parental involvement has been designated as a component that is important to the effectiveness of any school. Parents who trust the personnel at the school their child attends to make informed decisions are most often those who have been involved at some level of the school's functioning (Chubb & Moe, I 990, p. 147). A growing awareness in public schools about the need to involve parents more and keep them better informed has evolved. Legislators have recognized that parents want to be involved and in many states charter legislation makes it possible for parents to charter their own schools without educational system intervention. In turn, many charter schools have capitalized on this and have made parent participation a mainstay of their school. 387

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Charter schools have often created opportunities for involvement in the governance of the schools as well as through more traditional forms of volunteerism. Different configurations for governing boards have come into existence in Colorado, yet all have one ingredient in common, parents are members of the governing board in some capacity. In most cases, parents are in the majority on the governing boards (see Table 4.8, p. 115). In three of the charter schools included in the 1996-1997 evaluation study, only parents were on the board and in another five of the school only parents and community members served on the boards. This means that in at least one third of the charter schools no staff members served on the board of directors. In most cases, little training has been available for members of the board of directors, as a result numerous problems have emanated during first years of operations. Many boards lack a sense of how to function appropriately as a member of a board. Disagreements have arisen that have caused hard feelings to take place. By the time of the 1997 Colorado Charter Schools Evaluation Study, twelve of the twenty four schools participating in the study had changed their board structure between the time the school opened and the end of the 1996-1997 school year. In many cases, one or more board members quit the board due to disagreements about governance (Clayton Foundation, 1998, pp. 25-26). It is clear that the legislation was not set up in a manner that would bring about such a high degree of modification in charter governance plans or attrition on the part of board members. Bill Windler, from the Colorado Department of Education has put together guidelines for charter governance design. These materials may assist schools in the future should they choose to avail themselves of it. Charter schools are frequently able to make use of volunteerism to a high degree, particularly in the early stages of the charter application process and initial preparations to open the school commence. Some of the charter governing boards have kept beautiful documentation of the time that has been invested in the process. Other boards have not. What is clear is that starting a charter school takes much time, energy, and 388

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patience on the part of those invested in the process. The act of writing the charter, particularly when done by more than one person, can be extremely time consuming. Hearing to tell the community about the school must be made. Advertisements are often created. Hearings before the local board of education and possibly additional negotiations time must be invested. These hundreds and thousands of hours are volunteered with no guarantee that the school will be approved. Perhaps, the law would have better served the needs of the applicants and the district had a preliminary meeting been included as a part of the process. At this point, an outline of the school could be shared and concerns addressed before the applicants added detail to the proposal. As it stands, with the time invested in the application process, it is not surprising that applicants are angered when suggestions are made to modify an application or when an application is denied. This "wasted" time serves no one well. For those applicants whose application is approved, much time is needed to develop curriculum and assessment, prepare the facility, procure resources, hire personnel, and find families willing to participate. Once the school is open volunteer time in the classrooms, on the playground, in providing car pools, and other school-related opportunities can be afforded. These activities also take time. It is no wonder that the charter. schools report that up to 20,000 hours of volunteer time can be invested in the school in a single year (see Table 4.9, p. 116). Freedom Charter School is a school in which an enormous amount of volunteer time was invested. In a conversation with the headmaster, she reported that they estimated the accrued volunteer hours in 1997-1998 to be 38,948 (Hess, personal communication, September 9, 1998). It is clear that much volunteer time is invested in a charter school during the early stages of its development. From this perspective, the manifest outcomes of the legislation have been fulfilled. The sustainability of this time is somewhat in question. Of the thirteen schools reporting volunteer hours in 1995-1996 and 1996-1997, eight of the school reported a drop in volunteer hours the second year, and one school 389

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reported the same number of hours. In two cases, the schools dropped by approximately half and one school retained less than 10% of its first year's volunteer time. If high levels of volunteerism are to be maintained, charter schools will have to continue to create opportunities for volunteers as do other public schools. Curriculum and Instruction. Few guidelines for curriculum and instruction were outlined in the Colorado Charter Schools Act. The legislative intent was to make more opportunities for different types of curriculum or different forms of instruction to take place than what existed in other public schools. No limitations on how many schools of one type could be replicated within the 60 allowed by state law. For this reason, by the time the first 50 schools had been approved, almost half of them, 22, were replicated using the same curricular model. This model is one based on the Core Knowledge Sequence designed by Hirsch. The similarity of these schools may be quite high due to the fact that charter applicants desiring this type of school have shared and replicated each other's applications (Turner, Interview Data, 1997). Of the remaining schools, ten adopted an educational model that advocates the creation of an individualized learning environment. While nothing is inherently wrong with either of the purposes to which these schools aspire, the proliferation of two types of schools in a situation in which numbers are limited may not allow for the variety of curriculum and instruction originally intended in the law. Consequently, what began as an idea in which charter schools would serve as the research laboratories in which new models would incubate and be shared has become more narrowly focused than was originally intended. Innovation. The greatest difficulty with this intent is that innovation in schools is hard to define. While I believe that the legislators initially viewed this element of the law as a way to bring truly new and unique ideas to the system, the intention has become more fuzzy over time. This has happened for several reasons. First, the definition of innovation is not well understood. Rosabeth Moss Kanter defined 390

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innovation as "the process of bringing any new, problem-solving idea into use" (1983, p. 20). As I look at this definition, the word new is one that seems to have much weight. This perspective was also evident in my early conversations with legislators. Yet, as time has gone by and few new ideas have surfaced, the concept of innovation has been modified to reflect what is new or unique to the charter applicants. This brings to light the second reason little true innovation has occurred. For many who submit a charter school application little may be known of the existence of a practice they wish to employ. A practice may be perceived as innovative simply because it has not been available to them in the past. Third, in this age of criticism of public education, accusations have been levied that public schools may represent some of the schools, but may not be inclusive of all schools. Yet, all schools often get lumped into one package when criticisms are raised. Fourth, the innovation may not be extant in what is done, rather how it is done. The true innovation in charter schools may rest in the fact that they are often started by those not previously trained in the educational field. Applicants often include only parents and community members. If it is true that this innovation is most prevalent, the question arises about whether the legislature had as a primary intention that public education be taken out of the hands of the educators. The latent consequences of this outcome will be most evident over the passage of time. Outcomes in Vista School District As charter legislation has been combined with other legislative efforts on choice, several systemic effects have resulted in Vista School District. Schools have had to become more competitive. As charter schools, alternative schools, and other neighborhood schools have been able to interest students once bound by geographic limitations, schools have had to work harder to maintain or broaden their own enrollments. This has occurred through several means. 391

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Marketing. The district now has a web page and information about the district and individual schools can be accessed by individuals from their homes. Data on the web page includes locations of each school, demographic information, test scores, and individual school web pages. Top district administrators have identified a public relations firm and encouraged principals to attend presentations on how to market their schools and have suggested that school work with this company to devise a public relations plan. Many schools now have one or more school brochures that are given to prospective clients. Two employees now have responsibility for district public relations where one assumed these responsibilities up until three years ago. News releases, articles for the newsletters at each school, test information, program overviews, and curricular adoptions are now generated through this office. In addition, greater efforts are made to publicize what the schools are doing through the development of a close working relationship between education writers at the Local Newspaper, the public relations office, and building staff. Enrollment Practices. New sets of policies and procedures around the movement of students from school to school have been created. School-of-choice forms are now used by the district to formalize the requests of families to move from one school to another. Because school attrition effects building staffing allocations, school-of-choice enrollment deadlines have been established and families are required to make their choices by February of the proceeding year. Kindergarten enrollment is now held earlier in the year to assist principals in making school-of-choice decisions. Transiency rates have gone up. People once tied to the local school due to geographic locations are able to move from one location to another until they find a best fit. Alternative and charter schools often have waiting lists. As a space becomes available, students may leave their current school to attend the school that they had been waiting for. Conversely, some who attend an alternative or charter school have 392

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become disenfranchised with the school and have returned to their home school or another school of choice. In all cases, movement of students from school to school is on the rise. Some principals have begun to hold exit interviews in an effort to learn why the family has made a decision to leave their school. While no compilation of those factors exists to my knowledge, this information could be most helpful to schools that wish to be more responsive to the needs of their constituents. In addition, the district has started tracking the students who leave their neighborhood school and what school they choose to attend. While the reasons people choose to leave a school are not always clear, attrition patterns can now be made over time. This effort may better help administrators project what their enrollment will be in subsequent years. Disenfranchised Parents are Appeased. At one time, parents unhappy with a school or school personnel were stuck or forced to consider private schools or home schooling. This is no longer the case in Vista School District. While those options are still available to parents, they have other options from which they may choose. This has made it possible for parents unhappy with their current situation to find a school more to their liking. It has also made it possible for administrators to suggest that an unhappy parent might want to consider a different alternative to the home school. In general, this has reduced the friction level that existed between staff members and some parents prior to these forms of choice. Improved Relationships with Alternative Schools. With the advent of charter school legislation and the application for Freedom Charter School, the relationship between the district and other alternative school personnel has solidified. Alternative schools first given pilot status in 1993 were awarded permanent status in 1995. The Experiential School experienced conditions that suggested they too would apply for charter status, found they were able to negotiate for their needs without formally becoming a charter school. District administrators worked with the alternative Core Knowledge School to 393

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address facility issues faced by the school and ended with the decision to build a new school for the alternative school's use. Local Control is Examined. A major concern that has risen from the charter school movement is a challenge to local control. Charter advocates believe that true local control is placing the schools into the hands of the parents and taking local school boards and central office administrators out of the mix (Crawford, Interview Data, 1997). This belief challenges the long-held practice of placing the local board of education in control of decisions that affect the community in which the district is housed. With charter schools, a high degree of autonomy is present. While by law, a charter school is a public school of the district in which it resides, in practice the local board of education has found that it has limited decision-making power about whether the school is to be approved or denied, whether conditions can be placed upon the school, whether the local board is responsible for monitoring the progress of the school, and whether the school is behaving in a fiscally responsible manner. Over time, amendments to the law have seemed to reduce the amount of district local control to an even greater extent. Clarification from the state board of education in an effort to resolve the ambiguity of control has yet to be given in a manner that district administrators and board members approve (Reynolds, Interview Data, 1997). Public Schools are Supported. As the board of education and administration dealt with charter issues they found frustrating, a group of parents and community members organized themselves as a local coalition in support of the public schools. This coalition first met to help arrive at an amicable solution when the alternative Core Knowledge School was recommended to move to Patterson Elementary. Members of this group were later involved with the preparation and presentation of a petition to the state board of education in which the support of the decision of the local board of education with reference to the charter school application was sought. Coalition 394

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members expressed concerns about the lack of diversity in the alternative schools and one member generated a study of demographic information on these schools which he presented to the board. The coalition remains in existence today and continues to champion causes to strengthen the district. Improved Practices in Schools. Although some of the effects of charter legislation have been looked upon as unfavorable, several changes in practices have resulted. Far and away, public school staff members have become more responsive to the demands of their constituents. Administrators have become better listeners and according to one charter advocate, less patronizing (Davis, Interview Data, 1997). In fact, the degree of responsiveness has become so strong that some administrators are forced into a corner when parents make demands. One principal has found that she spends time with the families of potential new students, takes the families on a personal building tour, and fears that parents will pull their children if she does not respond to their wishes (Williams, Interview Data, 1997). Most sites have become more self reflective. Many administrators, staff members, and site-based teams have begun to ask themselves why students choose to stay at their schools or leave their schools and numbers of defectors and loyalists help them to do so. For the buildings using an exit interview, the data available for site analysis has been invaluable. Jim Swenson, an elementary principal said that he worked with his staff and site-based team for about a year to dete1mine what they really believed in and what type of education they hoped to provide for each child (Swenson, Interview Data, 1997). Professional Development. Both research and development opportunities and professional growth experiences have resulted from charter school legislation. Teachers have become more familiar with the kinds of curriculum and instruction that parents express interest in adopting and have read information to Jearn more about these ideas. Staff members who have chosen to transfer to a charter school or alternative 395

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school where different curriculum or instructional practices are promoted have engaged in staff development programs to help them integrate the new practices into their classrooms. These ideas have been shared informally by some educators across the district. The opportunity for the charter school to serve as a research and development site is one yet unrealized. The school has only been in operation for a little over a year and may not yet be ready to open its doors for other district personnel to observe, converse about, or serve as a teaching center. Hopefully, the door will swing both ways and charter school members will view some neighborhood school practices as ones worthy of emulation. Policy Issues Colorado charter school legislation has had far-reaching ramifications for schools throughout the state. Immediately following the adoption of the law, implementation fell from the hands of the legislators and into the hands of the Colorado Department of Education, State Board of Education, and local school districts. The staff at the Colorado Department of Education was charged with the monumental task of establishing new policies and procedures for charter school applicants and school districts. This resulted in the establishment of the Charter Schools Project Team, a group assembled for the express purpose of assisting with implementation of the law. After receiving training, the members of the team began to provide charter school information through various means. Team members were able to answer questions, conduct presentations, bring together community resources, developed information and application packets, published a newsletter, created on-line reference sites and provided technical assistance to applicants (Windler, 1996, p. 67). The Charter Schools Project Team made it possible for libraries throughout the state to have a set of charter school information that is periodically updated. 396

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The state board of education assumed a new role pursuant to the adoption of the law and new operating policies have been established. The Charter School Law states that the local school board has the authority to determine whether a charter school application should be approved or denied. It also asserts that if a charter is denied, an avenue of recourse is available. Up to two appeals may be filed with the state board of education when a charter has not been approved. State board members have been assigned the semi-judicial responsibility of hearing appeals from charters when the local board has denied their application. While decisions often are remanded back to the local district, the state board does have the authority to overturn the decision of the local school board. Attorneys now specialize in arguing charter school cases for applicants and for school districts. Local policy has been affected by the charter school law. In anticipation of the law, Vista School District developed an alternative schools policy and approved several schools of choice and alternative programs before the law was passed. Other Colorado districts have made alternative schools a reality in their districts. Whether they were created due to charter school speculation or for other reasons is beyond the scope of this study. Although 'not required in the law, Vista School District administrators adopted a charter school policy, set of procedural guidelines, and an application for those who wish to apply. One staff member was assigned the role of project manager in the development of the policies and ma