Losing voice? Educational management organizations and charter schools' educational programs

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Charter schools are one form of decentralizing public education by shifting power into the hands of school stakeholders by providing them with more "voice" in day-to-day decisions. However, the increasing involvement of educational management organizations (EMOs) as managers of charter schools raises new questions about the influence of school stakeholders. This exploratory study examines the experiences of three very different EMOs and two schools operated by each company. Specifically, the author describes the role of each company in the development of the educational programs in the schools it manages. The three companies varied in the extent to which they limited school stakeholder "voice." The analysis builds toward a greater understanding of the impact of EMOs on decentralization, including an exploration of the power of charter schools in the EMO-school relationship that examines how "exit" from the EMO-school relationship may provide power in a way that "voice" does not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-234
Number of pages31
JournalEducation and Urban Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Charter schools
  • Decentralization
  • Privatization
  • School choice


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