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The Charter School Wars

Insight from a Charter School Innovator

Thomas Lubben

Educational reform has been a topic of scholarly conversation for a long time, but little significant movement toward action has been made. Charter schools were discussed in varied forms throughout the 1980s, but it was not until 1991 that the State of Minnesota put charter school law into practice. Thomas Lubben entered the charter school world in 1996 when the State of Pennsylvania was in the process of discussing its law that was passed the same year. The Charter School Wars closely follows the personal life of a lifelong educator as he negotiated the political and personal steps involved in creating a school from nothing. The first several chapters focus on the obstacles and pitfalls that the author faced during the seven-year struggle to create a charter high school based on the creative and performing arts. Later chapters focus on the expansion of this proven artistic model into additional schools. Lubben compliments the personal narrative with a chapter, "A Charter School Primer," that focuses on the critical elements needed to open a charter school. Charter school parents, teachers, administrators, and enthusiasts will find this book an interesting and poignant read as they navigate their way through the charter school landscape.

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Chapter Ten: The Emergence of TLC-Art Schools


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Chapter Ten

The Emergence of TLC-Art Schools

As I moved toward the Middle School, I began to rethink my role. I was clearly the founder and the driving force, but I no longer wanted to run a new school on a full-time basis. But, given the problems with separating from LVPA, I wanted to have a more long-termed relationship with this school. So I initially prepared a consultant contract to help assist the new school. In truth, the “founder” puts an incredible amount of time, talent, and energy to create a school from “scratch.” I was fully partly rewarded by LVPA for providing me with a well-paid (earned and deserved) job for seven years. But there was little that supported the creation efforts and development that went into that school. I hoped to avoid that moving forward.

Since one of my best friends would be running the school, I felt that a long-term relationship was possible on a trust level. That proved to be unworkable. Once the work of creation was over, I did work closely with the school throughout their first year. But at the conclusion of that time I was politely told that my services were not needed any more. Once again, the development, creation, and implementation of the school did not merit a significant reward! I had now discovered ← 81 | 82 → the mechanism to create multiple schools! Some consultants work in the charter arena, start schools, collect a...

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