The curious case of charter school innovation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Wesley Graner (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kimberly Kappler Hewitt

Abstract: The purposes of this study were to locate the innovations that are occurring in North Carolina’s charter schools and classify them. My engagement in the study of charter schools and with the construct of innovation then assisted me in determining the status of innovation in North Carolina’s charter schools. This study utilized original North Carolina charter school applications to identify proposed innovations and their websites to identify purported innovations. To classify the innovations, it was necessary to create new terminology to judge the level of innovation in these charter schools. My methodological choice of Content Analysis necessitated the creation of an Analytic Construct to help me describe the array of innovations and gauge the status of innovation in North Carolina charter schools. Part of this construct was arriving at an understanding of what society expects when the term innovation is employed. All of the instructional methods I found were catalogued, but the level of innovation in North Carolina’s charter schools, according to my Analytic Construct, was non-existent. Almost all instructional methods were recycled methods or multiple recycled methods used in conjunction with each other. Implications of my study revolve around the potential need to choose new language, other than “innovative,” to describe current instructional methods. I think the term retrovation might be appropriate, rather than innovation. Retro- frequently references an older fad or trend that can once again become popular, and charter schools tend to implement to implement previously used trends, so this term might represent a more apt description. My study creates a catalogue of all purported innovations that are being implemented in North Carolina’s charter schools. Additionally, I used state standardized testing data and school demographics to find schools that might be worthy of replication. My study also suggests the need for more qualitative research focused on charter schools that have successfully educated minority groups (African-American and Hispanic) and students from lower Socio-Economic Status (SES).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Charter schools, Innovation, Innovative, Innovative instructional methods, Instruction, Practices
Charter schools $z North Carolina $x Evaluation
Educational innovations $z North Carolina $x Evaluation
School improvement programs $z North Carolina $x Evaluation
Educational evaluation $z North Carolina

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