In this essay, Harry Brighouse and Gina Schouten outline four standards for judging whether to support the chartering of a new school within a given jurisdiction. The authors pose the following questions to a hypothetical school board member: Will the school increase equality of opportunity? Will it benefit the least-advantaged students in the jurisdiction? Will it improve the preparation of democratically competent citizens? Will it improve the quality of the daily, lived experience of the students? Brighouse and Schouten suggest that most of the evidence concerning charter school performance focuses on just the students within the schools, without addressing a charter school's effect on students who do not attend. They argue that a full evaluation requires both kinds of evidence and that these questions are the four standards that should guide both the decision maker and researchers gathering evidence on the effects of charter schools.

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