What is a Charter School

A charter school is a school that has been freed from many of the rules and restrictions that apply to traditional district schools in exchange for increased accountability for results. Charter schools are created by individuals seeking to offer a particular program, and these schools often have a specialized academic or operational focus, such as a particular style of teaching, a longer school day, or an emphasis on a specific subject.

Nearly 5,000 charter schools in 29 states and the District of Columbia are providing over 1.5 Million students the option to break away from schools that are failing them and to enroll in schools that will serve them. Source: publiccharters.org

Although they do not fit the traditional mold, charter schools are, indeed, public schools.  Charter schools are schools of choice, meaning you get to choose them. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results. To learn more about what sets charter schools go to the National Charter School Resource Center.

56% of students in large cities attend charter schools. A growing percentage of students are enrolled in charter schools in rural areas – 14% compared with 11% five years ago. Source: Center for Education Reform, 2010

What’s the difference between charter schools and other public schools?

Unlike traditional public schools that are centrally governed by the district board of education, charter schools are governed by an independent board of trustees called a Charter Board.It is your school’s Charter Board who has applied for, and successfully been granted, a charter agreement by your state’s charter school authorizer.

The Charter Board

The Charter Board bears primary accountability for the academic performance and operational quality of a charter school. In some respects it is this governance feature that constitutes the greatest difference between charter schools and traditional district schools. Charter school boards are commonly composed of a membership drawn from the school’s community. Under state charter laws, it is the responsibility of the board to ensure that the school is successful and operates in compliance with applicable law and its charter agreement

 

 

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