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What is a Charter School?

With such growing popularity of Charter Schools many people are willing to take a closer look at them to learn if they are as effective as it is believed. While you may already know that сharter school s are popular choice of modern parents, you may not be totally familiar with these types of schools and how they work.

What Is Charter School

Charter schools are independent school systems that have the freedom to adjust or adapt their curriculum and teaching methodologies in their educational approach for the benefit of their students. These schools have been designed specifically to break away from the standardized teaching style and offer parents and students another option to meet their educational needs. In exchange for this higher level of freedom and flexibility, these schools are often held to a much higher level of accountability to produce positive results from their efforts.

The “Charter”

Each school is set up under a “charter,” which is a contract that outlines the school’s mission, the educational program they will use, their goals, types of students to be served, assessment method, and how they expect to determine their rate of success. Unlike public schools, Charter schools are set up for a specified amount of time; at which point the school is reviewed by the entity that set it up to determine if their results warrant approval for renewal.

The Authorizers

Anyone can open a charter school as this kind of schools is not sponsored by the government or any other organization. Charter schools simply need a group of authorizers who have been granted the authority to create and put the school plan into action. These people could be administrators, teachers, parents, organizations, religions, or even members of the community who are interested in contributing to the education of their neighborhood. Depending on the state you live in, charter school authorizers can be anyone from the local board of education to a private party with the time and funds to do so.

Charter Admissions

While Charter schools have more flexibility in their teaching methodologies, they are still required to meet certain guidelines when it comes to the admission process. With the exception of certain allowable admission preferences laid out in the schools specific charter, they are not allowed to choose which students they will accept. Students are instead enrolled through a random lottery selection for those living within the schools designated boundaries. Allowances for acceptance of students outside of this area could be siblings of students already enrolled in the program, students who are already enrolled in the same charter program at another location, children of school board members, staff, or administrators, or students matriculating from a local school that is already listed in the charter.

Depending on the type of charter being considered these enrollment requirements can vary. The system will accept students based on the guidelines within their specific charter.

As educational needs continue to change within our modern society, more educational reform will have to be addressed to keep up with the change. Charter schools have become another educational alternative that every community can use to meet the government’s requirements set out in the No Child Left Behind Act of 1974. They fill a middle ground that falls between the traditional public education format that has been around for centuries and the more expensive private format that has also had a long history of educating our youth. While Charter schools may not be the answer to all of our nation’s educational needs, when the right child is matched up with the right school their success rates have proven to be quite rewarding.