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The Democratic Potential of Charter Schools


Stacey Smith

Since Minnesota enacted the first legislation in 1991, charter school reform has swept the country. Although their stances are vastly different, both proponents and opponents of the charter movement emphasize its privatizing aspects. In this book Stacy Smith argues that the tendency to emphasize the privatizing, market-oriented aspects of charter reform is overly simplistic. Consequently, virtually all debate on the topic neglects, or at least downplays, the democratizing potentials of charter schools. She urges others interested in preserving the «public» nature of public education to consider such potentials as equalized and expanded choice, inclusive decision making, and localized accountability before summarily writing off charter school reform as antidemocratic.