What is a Charter School?
A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment.
Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They operate with freedom from some of the regulations that are imposed upon district schools. Charter schools are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charters. They must demonstrate performance in the areas of academic achievement, financial management, and organizational stability. If a charter school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed.
No. Charter schools can vary a great deal in their design and in their results. Uncommon Schools creates schools based on the principles and practices that have proven successful in producing significant academic gains at high-performing urban charter public schools across the country.
This varies from state to state, depending on the state's charter law. In New York, there are three authorizers: the New York State Board of Regents, the State University of New York Board of Trustees, and local boards of education (in NYC only).
Parents, community leaders, social entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers, school districts, and municipalities can submit a charter school proposal to their state's charter authorizing entity.
Nationwide, students in charter schools have similar demographic characteristics to students in the local public schools. In some states, charter schools serve significantly higher percentages of minority or low-income students than the traditional public schools. Charter schools accept students by random, public lottery.
As public schools, charter schools are tuition-free. They are funded according to enrollment levels and receive public funds on a per pupil basis. Charter schools are entitled to federal categorical funding for which their students are eligible, such as Title I and Special Education monies. Federal legislation provides grants to help charters to manage start-up costs.
Certification requirements vary on a state-by-state basis. In New York, while the state does not require that 100% of teachers be certified at each charter school, the rules under the "No Child Left Behind" Law mean that teachers need to get their licenses with reasonable speed;
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