Charter schools are public schools: free to attend, publicly funded, part of the state school system, and accountable to public bodies for their results. They are schools of choice, so they do not enroll students based solely on where they reside. They are privately managed by an organization that has a charter (contract) with an authorizer. The first charter school in the United States opened in Minnesota in 1992. The initial, main argument for creating charter schools focused on a desire to create greater flexibility for innovation within public education.
- Charter schools have more autonomy than traditional schools.
- While charter schools are freed from some state and local regulations (varying widely from state to state), they are held accountable for student performance and if the goals of the charter are not reached, the school should be closed and the charter not renewed.
- 43 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing charter schools.
- The most recent data showed 4.6% of public school students attended charter schools
- Many studies looking at student achievement measures show very small differences in student achievement between charter schools and traditional public schools, some favoring traditional district schools and some favoring charter schools.
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