Blue Flower

A charter school as defined by the United States Department of Education is: A nonsectarian, tuition-free, public elementary or secondary school that is exempt from significant state or local rules that inhibit the flexible operation and management of public schools. Charters are created by a developer as a public school or adapted by a developer from an existing public school, and are operated under public supervision and direction. They operate under state charter laws in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives determined by the school’s developer and agreed to by the authorized public chartering agency. All charters have a written performance contract with a public chartering agency that includes a description of how student performance will be measured pursuant to state assessments that are required of other schools. Charters also comply with federal civil rights laws and IDEA, and applicable federal, state and local health, safety and audit requirements. (sec. 5210(1)).What this means is:

  • Choice in education - parents have choices inside their community on how they want there child educated. A charter school must meet the educational requirement set by the Department of Education or it will be closed. This is different from a public school were unacceptable performing schools are "re-organized" and can continue poor performance.
  • Lower Cost - A charter school must operate within their budget. All public and chartered schools are given a fixed income from their state for each student they are teaching. They also receive additional funding for low income students and students with special needs. A charter school is not eligible for local funding and will never be on a ballet asking to pass a levy for more money.
  • Exemption from significant state or local rules that inhibit flexible operation - A charter school is governed by a board of individuals, often successful business people and educators. The Board decides the direction a school will go, how and where funding will be spent and are able to make decisions a public school can not.

There are many arguments for and against charter schools. To put it simply, if public schools were capable of providing a viable education for all students. there would have never been a place for charter schools. Choice matters. Competition matters.