This book will reset the discourse on charter schooling by systematically exploring the gap between the promise and the performance of charter schools. The authors do t defend the public school system, which for decades has failed primarily poor children of color. Instead, they use empirical evidence to determine whether charter schooling offers an authentic alternative for these children. In concise chapters, they address a series of important questions related to the recent ascent of charter schools and the radical restructuring of public education. This essential introduction includes a detailed history of the charter movement, an analysis of the politics and ecomics driving the movement, documentation of actual student outcomes, and alternative images of transforming public education to serve all children.