What Exactly Is A Charter School?

As waves of new immigrants came to the United States throughout the 1800s, leaders began to realize that there needed to be a standard for educating everyone. Massachusetts became the first state to require compulsory education in 1852 and, by the 1930s, all states had drafted laws regarding compulsory education. Over the decades, educators worked with legislators to standardize education throughout the United States, which has greatly improved the way students learn. 

Realizing that some children can benefit from different learning environments than the norm, Minnesota approved legislation for the nation's first charter school in 1991. To date, almost all states have approved the use of charter schools in educating the youth.

 What Is a Charter School?

A charter school is a publicly funded school that operates outside of the local school district. They are run by separate entities acting as small, self-sufficient school boards and are generally sponsored by nonprofit organizations, or by corporations, like local, STEM-focused companies.   

How Is a Charter School Different From a Public School?

Charter schools, whether a K–8 charter school or a charter high school, are purposefully small and flexible. Like the idea behind lean manufacturing, charter schools can minimize waste and maximize productivity. Because of their small size, they can change course mid-school year and adopt new procedures that benefit the students and maximize funding dollars. Independence from the bureaucracy of a large school district allows a charter school to thrive when helping to educate diverse populations.

Does a Charter School Take Money Away From the Local Schools?

In a nutshell, no. A charter school in your community does not mean there is less money going to your local elementary school. It simply means that some families in your community feel that their students will learn better in a different environment. The state still allocates the same money to your local school. 

What Are the Benefits of a Charter School?

One of the most interesting benefits of a charter school is the ability to specialize. Charter schools can direct their focus on any number of specializations as a school, like nature, STEM, and even fine arts. Some charter schools choose to be gender-specific, while others focus on having small class sizes. The possibilities are nearly endless. 

Can Anyone Go to a Charter School?

Anyone can go to a charter school. Due to the popularity of charter schools in many communities, there is an application process, however. To be transparent and fair, most charter schools have an application deadline (usually February or March for a fall start date), followed by a lottery. 

K–8 charter schools offer an exciting new change to the educational system in the United States. Schedule an interview at one near you to learn more.