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The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

Attachment D

Attachment D Charter School FAQ’s Page 38 of 43

What is a charter school? Charter School FAQ’s A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment. What is the difference between charter schools and other public schools? Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They operate with freedom from some of the regulations that are imposed upon district schools. Charter schools are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charters. They must demonstrate performance in the areas of academic achievement, financial management, and organizational stability. If a charter school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed. Are charter schools all the same? No. Charter schools can vary a great deal in their design and in their results. Uncommon Schools creates schools based on the principles and practices that have proven successful in producing significant academic gains at high-performing urban charter public schools across the country. Who authorizes charter schools? This varies from state to state, depending on the state's charter law. In New York, there are three authorizers: the New York State Board of Regents, the State University of New York Board of Trustees, and local boards of education. In New Jersey, there is one authorizer, the state Commissioner of Education. In Massachusetts, the authorizer is the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Who can start a charter school? Parents, community leaders, social entrepreneurs, businesses, teachers, school districts, and municipalities can submit a charter school proposal to their state's charter authorizing entity. Who attends charter schools? Whom do they serve? Nationwide, students in charter schools have similar demographic characteristics to students in the local public schools. In some states, charter schools serve significantly higher percentages of

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