What are charter schools?

Charter schools are a type of public school that operate under a “charter” or contract with a state or local government agency. These schools have more autonomy than traditional public schools, and are given more flexibility in terms of curriculum, budget, and hiring decisions. In exchange for this autonomy, charter schools are held accountable for student achievement through regular evaluations and performance measures.

Some key characteristics of charter schools include:

  1. They are open to all students, regardless of their academic performance or background.

  2. They are usually tuition-free, funded by public money, but may also receive private donations.

  3. They operate independently of the local school district, but are still subject to state and federal laws and regulations.

  4. They are required to meet certain performance standards in order to maintain their charter, which is usually granted for a period of 3-5 years.

  5. They often have a specific focus or mission, such as STEM education, language immersion, or college preparation.

  6. They can be started by educators, parents, community leaders, or non-profit organizations.

Charter schools have been a topic of debate, with some people arguing that they provide more educational options for families, while others argue that they divert resources from traditional public schools and can lead to increased segregation.

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