charter school

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charter school,

alternative type of American public school that, while paid for by taxes, is independent of the public-school system and relatively free from state and local regulations. A charter school has a greater degree of freedom and autonomy than the traditional public school, and students attend it by choice. Each school is granted a renewable charter, usually by a state or local board for three to five years. The aim of these schools is to increase learning opportunities and to allow for greater innovation in teaching practices. Some charter schools have a higher percentage of minority or economically disadvantaged students than traditional public schools and some specialize in a particular academic area. Charter schools are usually small, mainly urban, and vary significantly from state to state. The first charter school law was passed in Minnesota in 1991, and the first school opened there the following year; California initiated similar legislation in 1992. By 2015, more than 6,700 such schools were serving 2.9 million students in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. While many applaud the charter school movement for promoting greater choice for students and parents, it has also been criticized by those, including many teachers' unions, who are apprehensive about the possible chilling effect on other public schools, the lack of adequate supervision, and, after several years of operation, the apparently unsatisfactory performance of many of the schools. The Washington state supreme court found (2015) charter schools unconstitutional because they were not under the control of the voters of a district.


See P. Berman, National Study of Charter Schools: Second-Year Report (1998); J. Nathan, Charter Schools: Creating Hope and Opportunity for American Education (1998); C. Finn et al., Charter Schools in Action: Renewing Public Education (2000); B. Fuller, ed., Inside Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization (2001).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Charter School Facility Program is designed to provide charter schools with a grant representing only 50 percent of a school project cost, while the charter must provide a 50 percent matching share.
Charter school renewal is the time when charter school authorizers must determine if a charter school is fulfilling this promise.
Seqouia Charter School is directly operated by the school district, Hart spokeswoman Pat Willett said, and deals with special-needs children.
Meanwhile, after the first charter schools opened in 1997-98, the average distance from a school to the closest charter school fell by about one-third, from 19.
Only 9 percent of public school teachers are working with out certification, while 43 percent of charter school teachers aren't certified.
Texas lawmakers approved a charter school law in 1997 but officials have been lax in overseeing the program.
The impression left by these case studies fits the research so far: Charter school children, as a whole, are not doing any better than similar children in regular schools.
75 New Charters Open this Fall, Half of All New Charter Schools are Replications of Existing, Successful Models
WASHINGTON -- Fourth-graders in traditional public schools did significantly better in reading and math than comparable children attending charter schools, according to a report released on Tuesday by the federal Education Department.
Of course, no single study will ever tell us about all charter schools, because charters are inherently diverse.
Andy Smarick, director of Charter School Leadership Council, says the studies still fail to note that charter schools are improving the achievement of low-level students.

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