Essays in Education


American public schools have been entrusted with the responsibility of inculcating citizens with democratic values. However, schools have come under attack for a variety of reasons. School choice provides parents with opportunities to select from options, both within and outside the public system of schooling, which will provide their children with the type of education they desire. Among these school choice options are charter and magnet schools. This article begins with a discussion of the basic similarities between magnet and charter schools, followed by a discussion of a legal research study which examined the extent to which U.S. charter school statutes foster equality of student access to charter schools. The data for the study were derived from the U.S. charter school statutes for 36 states, and the investigative framework was provided by seven research questions addressing student recruitment, admission and enrollment, student transportation, and information dissemination. Three areas affecting both magnet and charter schools are identified for which key research findings are presented. The final section discusses the implications the findings have for magnet and other choice schools and concludes with recommendations for policy development.

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