Charter Schools

What are charter schools?

Charter schools receive public funds and are subject to the same requirements as public schools.  However, they generally have more freedom than traditional public schools because they function independently, without centralized administrations.  Charter schools cannot charge admission and must accept any student who wants to enroll; if too many students want to enroll, decisions will usually be made by a lottery.  Currently, 5.8% of all public schools are charter schools.


Who runs charter schools?

Currently, 67.5% of charter schools are freestanding, meaning that the individual school leaders run the school.  20.2% of schools are run by a Charter Management Organization (CMO), a non-profit group owning multiple schools with a similar mission.  12.3% of charter schools are run by an Education Management Organization (EMO), an organization or firm, usually for-profit, that receives public funds to run schools.  More information is available here.


Research on charter schools:

This 2009 report from Stanford shows that 17% of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools and 37% reported gains that were worse. (46% demonstrated no significant difference.)


More Information:
This website includes data on charter schools including national data, state data, and data for individual schools.

This report from the Brookings Institute ranks individual districts on their charter school policies.



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