Hopes, Fears and Reality: A Balanced Look at American Charter Schools in 2006
Robin J. Lake & Paul T. Hill, Editors
National Charter School Research Project
University of Washington
December 2006


Hopes, Fears, & Reality examines the consequences of charter school expansion from the perspective of several leading players in the charter school debates. In particular, this volume looks at the implications of charter school growth for families, who now find themselves able to consider new options because of charter school expansion; existing public schools, who find themselves in competition with charter schools, and in some cases losing students and funding because of families’ decisions to transfer to charter schools and other public schools of choice; teachers unions, who now uneasily coexist with non-union charter schools; school districts and school boards, who are now charged with the challenging and unfamiliar task of authorizing new charter schools and assessing the performance of existing charters; and state departments of education, who are obliged to evaluate the performance of charter schools, at a time when even experts seem unable to agree on the impact that charter schools have on academic achievement.

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