Charter Schools

What is a Charter School?

Charter schools, first opened in 1991, are elementary or secondary schools that are publicly funded, but privately operated. A charter school can be started by anyone and each has a unique mission such as a focus on the arts, sciences, etc.

Charter schools are not private schools; they are funded in the same way as traditional public schools—so they are tuition free. Since they are backed by state and local government funding, they must meet the same academic standards as state public schools; they’re graded on the same state and national school “report cards.” However, charter schools have more flexibility in how they educate students to achieve and surpass these standards.

Charter schools have only been around a few decades, but there are now more than 4,600 charter schools serving more than 1.4 million children in the U.S. This meteoric rise is due in part to the successful way charter schools respond to the demands of parents, students, educators—and the challenges of the future.

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