Charter Schools
Charter schools are publicly funded, privately run primary and secondary schools. They can be run by individuals or organizations, and they can be run for profit or not for profit. The laws governing charters differ from state to state, but generally speaking, they admit students on a lottery basis and receive per-pupil funding similar to or less than that of regular public schools. Many charters supplement their public funding with private donations, but in most cases, their total per-pupil budget is comparable to that of regular public schools. They are often located in inner-city neighborhoods, and may of them (but far from all of them) are No-Excuses schools. (See my post "The Charter Movement is not the No-Excuses Movement.")

Document Camera
A high-tech, digital replacement for an overhead projector, document cameras are widely used in modern classrooms. They consist of a video-camera aimed downward and a projector aimed at the wall. Anything (document) or otherwise, is projected onto the wall, and students can watch, in real time, as their teacher writes or draws on the document.

Dough Lemov & The Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices
Doug Lemov is an educator and education researcher who works for the Uncommon Charter School network. His Taxonomy of Effective Teaching Practices, laid out in his 2010 book Teach Like a Champion forms the basis for teacher professional development at many No-Excuses schools and for the curriculum at Teacher U, the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program run jointly by the three major charter networks of the North East (KIPP, Uncommon, and Achievement First), all of which follow the No-Excuses model.
     I've received professional development in several of Lemov's techniques and studied many of the others independently, and I think a lot of them. Not only are the techniques eminently practical and effective, Lemov's writing about them is insightful and deeply thought provoking. Although Lemov's approach displays s clear bias towards the No-Excuses philosophy, his work has broad relevance and would, I believe, make worthwhile reading for anyone working in education.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
NCLB is George W. Bush's seminal education act. Signed into law in 2001, NCLB did not begin to take effect until 2003. NCLB is often associated with standards-based reform, but in fact, it says nothing specific about content: it allows states to make their own curricula, their own exams, their own standards, and their own timetable for improvement. The law requires, however, that every student in every state attain proficiency (as defined by each states, individually) in math and reading, by 2014. As Ravitch points out, that's clearly impossible, unless you define "proficient" to mean something absurdly remedial. Under NCLB, schools failing to meet the state's time-table towards 100% proficiency are punished with various sanctions, mostly various types of restructuring; students at these schools are also given the option of transferring out to other schools in the area.

Romantic-Progressive Education
see Romantic Education.

Romantic Education
Romantic education, along with classical education and Deweyan progresive education, is one of the three major branches of educational philosophy discussed in this blog. Romantic education first appeared in the late 1700s and was dominant in American pedagogical thought during the middle decades of the 20th century. It is characterized by a belief in the natural genius and goodness of children and a view of adult society as a corrupting and distorting influence. Romantic educators generally favor a child-centered classroom and exploration-based learning; they eschew authoritarianism, harsh discipline, and strict rules. The Romantic classroom, in its ideal conception, is organic, spontaneous, and creative; uniformity and order are avoided.
      Romantic educators apply the same values of organicism and spontaneity to curriculum: they seek to soften divisions between subject areas and to provide a cohesive, holistic education, whose different topics flow naturally together in the creation of a single, interlinked body of knowledge. Teachers are given significant leeway to steer the class according to their own interests and the curiosity of their students.
      Romantics are wary of measurement and quantification. (See my post on attitudes towards intangibles in Romantic and No-Excuses schools.) They believe that the most important aspects of education (deep comprehension, love of learning, etc.) are difficult or impossible to assess, and they therefore reject tests and grades that seek to measure and quantify student achievement.
      A note on terminology: Romantic education is often conflated with Progressive education. John Dewey's progressive ed was entirely distinct from Romantic ed, but early in the 20th century the two philosophies became thoroughly entangled with one another, so that, for many, the term "progressive education" now calls to mind a set of ideas that is more Romantic than Deweyan. E. D. Hirsch uses the term "Romantic-Progressive Education," which I have appropriated. Ideally, I would prefer to use "Progressive education" only in the Deweyan sense, but "Romantic education," on its own, is simply too unfamiliar to most readers.

Standards-Based Reform
Standards-based reform, which became popular in American education in the 1990s, is a movement that seeks to create more cohesion in primary and secondary school curricula by creating common learning "standards" that all students at a given grade-level, within a given district, state, or other region, must be taught. Standards-based reform was, in large part, a reaction against the perceived softness and inconsistency of American curricula. As E. D. Hirsch explains, in The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them, given the high rates of mobility among American families, especially those living below the poverty line, lack of consistency in curricula, from one school to another, leads to haphazard, repetitive, and incomplete educational experiences.
As Diane Ravitch argues in The Death and Life of the Great American School System, recent education policies, especially No Child Left Behind, embody the values of the assessment movement, rather than those of the standards movement. The two movements are distinct, but they're often associated with one another, because accountability depends on standards: you can't hold students and teachers accountable for learning if you haven't agreed on what they're supposed to be learning. The difference in emphasis is a crucial one, however: the standards movement focuses on content; the accountability movement focuses on measurement.