“IT DIDN’T MATTER THAT I HAD NO ONE TO ASK, I KNEW THE BEST ANSWER” THE CHARTER SCHOOL CEO: LONELY, OVERCONFIDENT, AND UNDERPREPARED
AuthorLemon Tate, Courtney
Committee memberGilmour, Allison
Cordes, Sarah A.
Gross, Steven Jay
Charter School Accountability
Charter School Leader
Charter School Leadership
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/1719
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AbstractThe advent of charter schools has been one of the biggest reform initiatives in the history of schooling in the US: charters have significantly altered the landscape of many of our country’s largest public-school systems (Bracey, 2002; Hassel, 2009; Hill, 2006). Recent studies have examined a number of aspects of charter school leadership; however, there has been little research on charter school chief executive officers (CEO). The CEO is a relatively new role that oversees the entire charter school or network and is almost always independent of the principal. This mixed-methods study examined the organizational dynamics of Philadelphia Charter School CEOs by using a survey, personal interviews, and quantitative data analysis to obtain information regarding all CEOs of Philadelphia. Interviews were focused on the CEO job role and day-to-day duties, CEO successes and struggles, and what prior experiences prepared CEOs for this role. The quantitative findings show two correlations: suggesting that male CEOs and CEOs of stand-alone schools are in charge of schools with higher school performance. Five common themes emerged across CEOs during interviews: loneliness, overconfidence, under preparedness, non-traditional career path, and having a prior work experience in the field of education was crucial to success. Lastly, it was discovered that certifications and prior education experience were not commonplace for current CEOs, 19 of the 64 CEOs in this study did not have prior education experience.
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A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS AND PARENTS IN ONE RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICT: WHY THEY GO, THE NATURE OF THEIR EXPERIENCES, AND WHY SOME CHOOSE TO LEAVESmith, Michael W. (Michael William), 1954-; Gross, Steven Jay; Hall, John; McGinley, Christopher W. (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)Two coinciding trends in education have given rise to this study: the political cycle of school reform and the heterogeneous nature of the charter school landscape. Since Minnesota became the first state to pass a charter law in 1991, the dramatic increase in the number of charter schools has provided opportunities for researchers to try to categorize the success of charter schools. Although the number of charter schools have almost doubled from 3,689 to 6,004 from 2005-2006 to 2012-2013, an average of approximately 500 charters have opened and more than 160 charter schools have closed per year during these eight years of the available data. However, students who attend charter schools do not have a monolithic educational experience. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceptions of students and parents in relation to enrolling in a specific brick and mortar and several cyber charter schools, and if applicable, leaving said schools. This qualitative study explores the lived experiences of students and parents who reside in a rural public school district and chose to attend a cyber charter or brick and mortar charter school. Survey responses and information gathered from interviews of students and their parents/guardians were analyzed to illuminate the research questions. While the results will not be generalizable, this study has led to an understanding of what led these students to enroll in charter schools and if applicable, why they chose to leave. More specifically, three themes emerged from the data: (1) Family members, primarily mothers, significantly impacted students’ decisions to employ choice to enroll in charters; (2) The lack of extra-curricular activities in charters had a substantially negative impact on students’ experiences and (3) Educational quality was the foremost characteristic named in the determination to transfer out of a charter school. While there has been research on charter schools separate from studies on perceptions of school age children with respect to education programming, this examination indicates the need to unite charter research and student voice aspects within the realm of educational research.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF TWO EXPANDING URBAN CHARTER SCHOOL ORGANIZATIONSShapiro, Joan Poliner; Gross, Steven Jay; DuCette, Joseph P. (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)Charter school expansion is on the forefront of educational reform. There is currently little research on what issues charter school organizations face when they expand, how specific organizational structures are implemented during a charter school expansion process, and which structures provide a favorable outcome of the expansion. The overall goal of this study was an in-depth analysis of two expanding charter schools. This qualitative two-site case study examined several select issues that charter schools face during expansion, with the goal of identifying differences in approach, and evaluating outcomes of the expansion in the light of these differences. Two urban charter school organizations within the same city were chosen for this case study. The following are the four specific research questions addressed: 1) What issues did the selected charter school organizations face when they were expanding? 2) What type of organizational system did the charter schools have and how did that system facilitate their expansion? 3) How was information communicated during the Charter School Organizations' expansion? 4) How did the selected charter school organizations handle heightened turbulence during the expansion period? The primary sources were: 1) data obtained through interviews with three school administrators within each organization; and, 2) data collected via questionnaires in order to determine administrator's approaches to decision making, strategic plans, and communication flow within each organization. The data were analyzed and the research reflects an in-depth analysis of the varying level of turbulence experienced by each charter school organization including factors and decisions that impacted each organization's expansion process. The findings indicate that there are a variety of internal factors and external obstacles that charter school organizations must consider and ultimately overcome before and during a charter school organizational expansion. The results of these findings suggest that each organization experienced varying levels of turbulence when expanding due to a multitude of factors including relationships with stakeholders, community support, school performance, as well as the availability of resources including students, facilities, finances, and staff. Ironically, the levels of turbulence experienced by each charter school organization were quite different given the variety of factors that impacted each charter school organization's expansion. Additionally, there were only a few areas in which each charter school organization experienced similar levels of turbulence to one another. These findings indicate that while at times each charter school organization may have faced different levels of turbulence, given a variety of internal and external factors, it did not appear that these varying levels of turbulence prevented either charter school organization from expanding. Furthermore, the degree of turbulence experienced by different individuals within iv each charter school organization, based upon their positionality, was influenced by a multitude of factors that are both controllable and uncontrollable. These factors that impact the level of turbulence experienced by each organization include the organizational structure, stakeholder involvement, and the flow of communication. The benefit of this study is to better understand the variety of factors both internal and external that influence and contribute to a charter school expansion and to better understand the varying degrees of turbulence experienced by all stakeholders involved in a charter school while the organization is expanding. The results of this study provide insight regarding varying factors charter school organizations should consider when expanding and how decisions are made and communicated to all stakeholders while simultaneously considering the impact these decisions have on all individuals.
Virtual Reality: Cyber Charter Schools And The Need For ReformDeJarnatt, Susan L. (2021)Pennsylvania needs to reform its system for funding cyber charter schools.The fourteen cyber charters draw students and tuition dollars from nearly every public school district across the state, but those districts have no say in authorizing or overseeing cyber charters. Though the cybers are a financial drain on the districts, they are money makers for their operators due to weaknesses in the Charter School Law. First, the Charter School Law (CSL) directs the districts to remit the exact same per pupil funding to a cyber charter as they do to a bricks and mortar charter, even though the costs of running a cyber are much lower. Second, the per pupil payment a district must provide to the charter is based on the per pupil spending of that sending district, not on the charter’s cost to educate the student. Finally, cybers, like all charters, receive much higher payments for students with special education needs, but cybers, like all charters, have no obligation to spend that extra money on special education.The CLS should be revised to account for the true costs of operating cyber charter schools and to provide for a voice for districts in the oversight and accountability of these programs.