Berkshire spent 10days in New Orleans, at a research conference re: the changes in the schools since Hurricane Katrina, and met with a number of local African-American activists who were all former enthusiasts for the charter revolution. Part of the 'reform' was the wholesale firing of some 7,000 teachers, most of whom were black,- the backbone of the city's middle class. One parent complained that the all-choice system actually disempowered parents who risked being asked to leave the charter school if they complained. The schools have more autonomy, but parents have less power.
She says the charter sector consolidates with chains taking over most of the stand-alone charters -- with the successful charters-defined as those that produce the highest scores. What is common practice is long days, tough discipline, testing, and 'no excuses.'