Giving Compass' Take:

• The 74 interviews Cara Stillings Candal, a senior fellow at Boston’s Pioneer Institute, about her book and the discussion of the success of Massachusetts charter schools. 

• What are the key aspects of charter school networks that supporters should understand to better evaluate these schools? 

• Read about charter schools and successful partnerships with colleges. 

Cara Stillings Candal is a senior fellow at Boston’s Pioneer Institute and has spent the past 10 years studying and writing about Massachusetts charter schools. Her new book, The Fight For The Best Charter Public Schools in the Nation, delves into why the state’s charters are exemplary, what forces are keeping them from expanding and what the future for charter schools in the state might look like over the next 25 years.

In this exclusive Q&A with The 74 on the eve of her book release, Candal talks about why she wrote it and what lessons she hopes it holds for charter school supporters.

The 74: What made you want to write the book?

Candal: As the charter school movement became increasingly partisan and contentious after the last cap lift in 2010, I felt motivated to compile what we know about the value that charters add to public education in the Commonwealth. I also wanted to address head-on what charter supporters need to confront about the state of the movement if they are going to grow the sector and meet parent demand for a charter school education.

What did you discover about why the Massachusetts charter sector is the best in the country?

First, the Commonwealth’s one authorizer (the state) has taken the charter concept of autonomy in exchange for accountability seriously. It has generally guarded charter schools from much (though not all!) of the regulatory creep that charters experience in other places across the nation. It has also never hesitated to close charter schools when they don’t meet performance expectations.

Read the full article about charter schools in Boston at The 74