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Title: Quality Versus Equality: What Data-Driven Studies Can’t Tell Us about the Charter School Movement
Authors: Rogers, Anne
Advisors: Fernández-Kelly, Patricia
Department: Sociology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: Charter schools – public schools of choice – have incited controversy due to divergent results from many data-driven studies. I ask two research questions: how do evaluations of charter schools differ; and do data-driven critiques tell us anything about the reality of a charter school education? I focus on four debated topics: achievement, segregation, effects of competition, and treatment of students with special needs. I consider these elements using three methods: content analysis of existing studies, re-analysis of racial data from a diverse urban district, and ethnography from original interviews. Using Merton’s framework of means and ends, I show how the goals of various charter schools differ and what this range of goals means for our society. I conclude that aggregated data fails to show that charter schools represent a continuum of reforms related to either quality or equality of education. Policy should increase oversight by allowing for more independent authorizers in order to reduce the effects and number of unsuccessful schools and expand the reach of effective ones.
Extent: 136 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Sociology, 1954-2016

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