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ABSTRACT. Contemporary educational reform initiatives emphasize the retrenchment of the state and the assumption of critical educational functions and provision by private providers. The growth and expansion of the charter school movement within the United States is being paralleled in many other countries with the most direct overlap found in the United Kingdom. The similarities between these trans-Atlantic charter school movements are most visible in terms of the political discourse within each country. The political motivations and rationales for charter schools are very similar in both countries; concepts such as accountability, choice, competition, merit pay, and even supply-side provision of education are presented as the answers to all that ails state-run schools and public education. This essay will comprise a brief overview of American and British charter schools and New Academies, respectively, as well a comparison of the different models. Comprehensive data currently available indicates that charter schools are not conclusively delivering consistently higher-quality educational outcomes for students, but their appeal may not stem primarily from educational outcomes. Rather, charter schools and related educational reform movements enjoy considerable support from actors who seek to reduce the capacities of states and who advocate increased privatization of state-run enterprises, includ- ing public schools. pp. 56–67

Keywords: educational reform, charter school movement

BRIAN D. SUTLIFF
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