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Charter Schools

Charter schools are operated with public funds as an alternative to regular public school. They provide additional options for parents who feel that regular public schools don't provide the desired education that they want for their children.

Charter schools are often described as schools that operate simultaneously under both public school and private school guidelines. This is because they are funded with public money, yet, operated as independent entities under the jurisdiction of the state and local authorities in which they are located.

Charter schools do not charge tuition or require parents to make donations. They are open to all students who wishes to enroll and cannot discriminate for any reason.

What set charter schools apart from traditional public schools is that they are exempt from certain local and state rules and regulations pertaining to education. Even so, they are still held accountable for standards that are set forth in their charters and are expected to meet a certain degree of educational performance.

Charter schools are given the freedom to develop and institute curriculum designed to enhance educational opportunities for attending students. They are set up to create an environment that gives teachers the freedom to try innovative techniques and to promote greater interaction between teachers, students, and parents.

Charter schools are allowed to set their own operating schedule. They can open their classrooms in the evening, on weekends, and during summer months to help increase student achievement.

The main goal of charter schools is to offer greater educational opportunites that are lacking in regular public schools. Many parents look to charter schools as a better way to prepare their children for college and life beyond.

Charters schools must negotiate contracts (charters) with local school districts or the state. Contracts must explicitly state the goals the school wants to reach, the amount of public funds they will need to function effectively, and how the school will be operated.

They are usually given contracts that last anywhere from three to five years. Under state and local guidelines, charter schools must meet and maintain academic performance rates that are comparable to, or better than, that of regular public schools.

Charter schools are allowed to hire and fire teachers as the need arises, promote the higher standards of education that they are trying to achieve, and are given a certain amount of independence to do the things that they feel are needed to be effective.

Charter schools are held accountable for student achievement. They must provide proof that their curriculum meets state and local standards and that students are provided a learning environment that is beneficial to them and promotes a high degree of academic success.

If a charter school falls below academic expectations, their contracts can be revoked and the school shut down permanently.

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