The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) instilled new urgency in the quest to improve America’s public schools.1 NCLB requires schools to meet state-defined performance benchmarks, and schools that fail to do so are deemed as in need of “school improvement,” “corrective action,” or “restructuring” and are subject to escalating penalties.2 The most severe sanction occurs after a school fails to meet a state’s benchmarks for six consecutive years and, therefore, must fundamentally reform its governance operations through the process of restructuring.3 NCLB delineates five ways in which a school may restructure, one of which is the charter conversion option, whereby a school reopens as an independent entity but still operates within the public school system.4 Charter schools provide autonomous and alternative education models. Since these schools are governed according to state law, however, many states micromanage charter schools to the point that they are virtually indistinguishable from traditional public schools.5 A tension arises between NCLB’s focus on fundamental restructuring and charter school statutes that do not allow for a complete overhaul of a school’s governance structure.

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