Karin Piper describes herself as a "freakishly tall" blonde mom who has a passion for her kids' education. Her passion led her to get involved in the charter school movement. (For the record, Karin is tall, but not freakishly so.) From charter school mom and board member, she began writing as the Colorado Charter Examiner (she is my predecessor) and now has a new book out entitled Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents.
Piper's cheery attitude about charter schools is contagious. In describing her motivation for writing the book she said, "Parents often consult parents about opinions on schools, Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents was written in an easy to read conversation style. Think of it as conversations which might take place in a playgroup, or over a cup of coffee. The Ultimate Handbook is like handing over parent-to-parent small talk about charter schools to a reader."
As she started in the charter school, she had lots of questions. Most were answered by talking with other, more experienced, parents. She says, "Parents talk to parents about their opinions about important issues regarding their children, let it be diapers, potty training or education. As charter school parents we find the same recurring questions from friends and family: What is a charter school? Is it a public school? Should I look for a charter school for my child? This book was designed to put some of the most common, noteworthy, and not-nearly-asked enough questions in one cover."
The book is currently available in four countries (U.S., India, UK, Australia) and the first purchase on Amazon.com has almost sold out (3 copies left as of a few minutes ago) even though it's only been available for a little over two weeks. Don't worry, Amazon will be ordering more.
She's been interviewed on KFTM radio, WSRadio, and by West Va Charter Schools Blog and Yellow Scene Magazine. Your Hub in the Denver Post just ran a story by Karin. The book has also received high praise from national charter school governance expert Brian Carpenter as well as Nelson Smith, the President and CEO of the National Association for Public Charter Schools.
The book covers a wide variety of topics that charter school or prospective charter school parents need to know. Piper covers basics such as what a charter school is, why a parent would choose a charter school, and the qualifications of charter school teachers. In addition, she covers more complex subjects such as how to choose an individual charter school, how charter schools are created and elements of charter school law.
This helpful guide provides a resource that had not been available generally to parents. While a lot is written about the politics and philosophy and performance of charter schools, there isn't as much for parents. Piper says, "Parents! If you want to read about charter school edu-flack, charter law, or starting a charter--there is an ample book offering. If you are a parent or casual reader, pickings have been slim. Since parents are the ultimate decision makers in schooling choice for children, this is a natural audience for an ultimate charter school handbook."
So, here's to parents and parent empowerment in public school choice. Piper's book provides parents with information so that they can empower themselves, and that's the ultimate goal of this handbook.
See Karin's Examiner Articles