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NEPC Review: Going Exponential: Growing the Charter School Sector's Best (February 2011)

This Progressive Policy Institute report argues that charter schools should be expanded rapidly and exponentially. Citing exponential growth organizations, such as Starbucks and Apple, as well as the rapid growth of molds, viruses and cancers, the report advocates for similar growth models for charter schools. However, there is no explanation of how the dramatic growth observed by these “exponential growers” is applicable or desirable for charter schools. The report‘s critical shortcoming is the almost complete lack of acceptable scientific evidence or original research supporting the policy suggestions. The report presents nine “lessons” or suggestions that are essentially common and abstract aphorisms from the business world. Unfortunately, the report fails to make the case that the suggestions or references are relevant to school improvement. The research section of the report includes, in fact, only three references – all from the business literature. Such fundamental shortcomings greatly undermine the report‘s suggestions. Therefore, charter school leaders and policy makers should regard the nine suggestions as speculation rather than well-grounded policy alternatives.

Suggested Citation: Garcia, D. (2011). Review of “Going Exponential: Growing the Charter School Sector’s Best.” Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] from

Document Reviewed:

Going Exponential: Growing the Charter School Sector's Best

Emily Ayscue Hassel, Bryan C. Hassel and Joe Ableidinger
Progressive Policy Institute