Do Charter Schools Pass The Test?

By giving parents more choices, the charter movement promised to transform education. It did so in Arizona--but not always for the better

Out here on the frontier, only the hardiest survive. And Paramount Academy is both figuratively and literally on the frontier. The school operates out of a handful of trailers at the edge of a cookie-cutter housing complex in Mesa, Ariz., a rugged desert city that sprouted into a Phoenix suburb two decades ago. But the academy sits on an ideological edge as well: Paramount is a charter school, a publicly funded enterprise that's privately run--in this case, primarily by a former shoe-repair-shop owner who never graduated from college--and free of the bureaucracy that bogs down so much of public education.


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