The National Association for Public Charter Schools has produced a valuable list of Frequently Asked Questions to address the most common misconceptions about charter schools:
What are Public Charter Schools?
Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that have more freedom for innovation and are accountable for improved student achievement. There are currently over 5,000 public charter schools open in 42 states and D.C., serving more than 2 million students. Children have different ways of learning, and public charter schools simply offer families a wider variety of options to serve such differences.
Do Public Charter Schools Employee Educators Like in Traditional Public Schools?
Public charter schools employee thousands of educators across the country. This innovative school environment attracts teachers from all walks of life and is a choice for employment, just like for students. Many educators prefer charter schools because they are able to match their vision for education with a school that meets that vision. Others prefer the flexibility associated with blended learning and online models.
How are Public Charter Schools Held Accountable to State Educational Standards?
Public charter schools are required to meet all state and federal education standards. In addition, they are judged on how well they meet student achievement goals established by their charter contracts. A quality public charter school must meet rigorous academic, fiscal and managerial standards.
How are Public Charter Schools Held Financially Accountable?
Yes. Because public charter schools are funded with public dollars, they are required by law to be held accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars. Regular audits and ongoing reviews from their authorizing entities insure maximum accountability.
What are Some Successful Innovations within Public Charter Schools?
Across the country, public charter schools are creating a wide variety of innovations, including:
- Curriculum design (e.g., Montessori, Core Knowledge, Advanced Placement Courses, Foreign Language Immersion Programs, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics)
- Extended learning time
- School cultures with high expectations for all students and adults
- More structured and disciplined learning environments
- Rewarding high-quality teachers with higher pay
- Parent contracts
- Multi-age programs
How Are Public Charter Schools Funded?
Charter schools are funded on a per-pupil basis, meaning when a student transfers from a traditional public school to a public charter school, the funding associated with that student will follow him or her to the public charter school. Public charter schools do not add any new costs to the state’s public education system, but reallocate financial resources from one school to another based upon the decisions of families.
How are Public Charter Schools Performing?
Not only are public charter schools raising the standard for public education, but they are also providing options to families and closing the achievement gap. These schools are shattering low expectations and breaking through long-standing barriers that have prevented large numbers of at-risk students from achieving educational success.
Hundreds of charter school studies show charters outperforming comparable traditional public schools. Studies have also been clear that the quality of a state’s charter school laws is a critically important factor in the success of public charter schools.
Want more information? Visit the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ website.