K–8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap
Innovations in Education
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From our small towns to our inner cities, I’ve visited innovative charter schools throughout the country that are changing the face of education. Like the schools highlighted in this guide, successful charter schools are showing their drive to improve levels of student achievement and their commitment to the difficult task of educating every child.

The seven schools profiled here are dispelling the myth that some students cannot achieve to high standards. They demonstrate that when presented with a challenging curriculum, high expectations, and the proper support, all our students can excel academically.

In this guide, you will read about schools that are acting as laboratories for innovative educational practices. Many implement a longer academic day and year, some provide programs based on community needs, and all are proving that breaking tradition and taking risks can yield tremendous results for students.

This guide is part of a series produced by the U.S. Department of Education, and it builds on two previous works: Successful Charter Schools, which was published in 2004, and Charter High Schools Closing the Achievement Gap, which was published last year. Previous guides have highlighted promising practices to expand the pool of high-quality charter schools and strategies to engage parents. A forthcoming publication will feature ways in which distance learning can increase students’ access to rigorous academic course work.

I hope the following examples of charter schools will help other schools and communities as they work to close achievement gaps and reach our goal of every child reading and doing math at grade level by 2014. The demands of the 21st century are not going to wait, and we need schools that will help every child reach his or her potential today.

Margaret Spellings, Secretary
U.S. Department of Education

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Last Modified: 11/17/2009