Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership


Sylvia Read


The Utah Legislature enacted charter school legislation in 1998 in order to offer the state's first school-choice option. The legislation came following a task force discussion about the pros and cons of school choice and what school choice should look like in Utah. There was not agreement among task force constituents about what should be contained in the legislation, nor which entity should be responsible for the monitoring or oversight of the eight pilot charter schools. Since enactment, Utah charter school legislation has changed during most legislative sessions with some establishing stronger charter school laws and some establishing weaker ones. Strong charter school laws are designed to provide for the establishment of high-quality charter schools. In contrast, weak charter school laws would not provide for the establishment (or accountability) of high-quality charter schools. Despite the legislative changes, 81 charter schools are now in operation, serving nearly 44,900 students and seven more charter schools are in queue to open in fall 2012. Literature, interviewees, and the researcher all offered recommendations to strengthen the charter school environment in Utah that focused around topics such as flexibility from laws, changes in school funding, strengthening the authorizer environment, and working to create legitimate school choice options for all students.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.