Charter schools are part of the solution in public education.
Each of the 7,800 charter schools is unique—both inside and out. Some focus on college prep, some follow a STEM curriculum, and others integrate the arts into each subject. Most charter schools are located in cities, but there are charter schools in suburban and rural areas as well. Some charter schools require uniforms, others have longer school days, and some teach their entire curriculum in two languages. The possibilities are endless, but charter schools aim to provide a range of options so that parents can choose the public school that best fits their child.
Key attributes of charter schools
Always public schools.
Never a cost to attend.
Open to any student who wants to attend.
Accountable to state and national educational standards.
Schools have autonomy and flexibility with curriculum, staffing, culture and academic focus.
Provides a public school option for students beyond the school they are zoned to attend.
Frequently Asked Questions About Charter Schools
Are charter schools private schools?
No, charter schools are independently-operated public schools that sit outside the control of school districts. Charter schools provide a high-quality public education option to all students choosing to attend them, upholding high standards that meet and often exceed what is required by the district and state.
Do charter schools take money from public schools?
No. Charter schools are public schools. They are unique public schools that are independently operated. Although charter schools sit outside the control of the local school district, they are still part of the public education ecosystem, rather than entities that divert funding from this ecosystem.
Public schools—both district and charter—have three primary sources of funding: federal, state, and local. The relative amount of funding from each of these three sources differs between charter schools and district schools. While charter schools receive less total funding than district schools, they usually receive a higher proportion of their funding from states and a lower proportion from local sources. Learn more at data.publiccharters.org.
How does a child qualify for enrollment at a charter school?
Charter schools do not have admission requirements or entrance exams. Most charter schools have an enrollment period when parents can submit applications for the school. If there are more applications submitted than seats available, they will hold a randomized blind lottery to determine which students are admitted or may preference students by need or location.
Are charter schools better than other public schools?
There are exceptional public schools of both types–district and charter. Charter schools provide a high-quality education option to public school students whose families are looking for something different, while upholding high standards that meet and often exceed district or state requirements.
Each of the roughly 7,800 charter schools is unique—both inside and out. Some may focus on college prep, some follow a Montessori curriculum, and others integrate the arts into each subject. Most charter schools are located in urban areas, but there are charter schools in suburban and rural areas as well. Some charter schools require uniforms, others have longer school days, and some teach their entire curriculum in two languages. The possibilities are endless, but charter schools aim to provide a range of options so that parents can choose a public school that best fits their child.
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Did you know?
The first public charter school opened in 1992, only one year after the enactment of the 1991 Omnibus K-12 Education Finance Bill.
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