Charter schools are public schools. Though they are independently run, charter schools are free and open to all, and are subject to several of the same state requirements as other public schools—including tests.
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 requires all students in a state to be assessed annually in reading in math and once in high school. It also requires states to have a single state-wide accountability system for all of its public schools, including charter schools. Charter schools have to meet state accountability requirements, as well as the requirements in its charter agreement.
Unlike most traditional public schools, charter schools can be closed if their students don’t do well enough on their tests.
Charter school leaders are given autonomy over staffing, model, curriculum, budgeting, and schedules to meet the individualized needs of their students. A foundational tenant of the charter school model is meeting high standards of accountability in exchange for flexibility in the school’s approach to education.
Charter schools are held accountable to state academic standards, ensuring a high-quality education for their students. Though efforts have been made to reduce testing for all students, students attending charter schools have to take state tests, just like at all public schools.
Melinda Tolliver is the manager of digital media at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
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