Charter schools in the United States

Taxation-funded privately-run schools / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Charter schools in the United States are primary or secondary education institutions that are public schools which are publicly funded and operate independently, rather than being overseen by local school districts. Charter schools have a contract with local school districts or other authorizing bodies which allow them to operate. These contracts, or charters, are how charters schools bear their name. They are funded with public tax dollars, though they also fundraise independently. Charter schools are subject to fewer rules than traditional state schools in exchange for greater accountability. Proponents argue that they are meant to serve underserved communities that wish to have alternatives to their neighborhood school. Charters are run as either non-profit or for-profit institutions. However, there are some for-profit management organizations that hold charters, though these are only allowed in Arizona.[2] Only non-profit charters can receive donations from private sources, just the same as traditional public schools.[3]

In 2003, Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles became the largest charter school in the United States[1]

As of 2016–2017 there were an estimated 6,900 public charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia (2016–17) with approximately 3.1 million students, a sixfold increase in enrollment over the past 15 years.[4] In 2015 alone, more than 400 new charter schools opened while 270 schools closed due to low enrollment, lack of finances or low performance.[5] Waiting lists grew from an average of 233 in 2009 to 277 in 2012,[6] with places allocated by a lottery.[7] They educate the majority of children in New Orleans Public Schools.[8] Some charter schools provide a specialized curriculum (for example in arts, mathematics, or vocational training).

Charter schools may be founded by individuals or teacher-parent groups. Two-thirds of charter schools are freestanding and independent, though some charters are managed through a charter or educational management organization, which can be for-profit and non-profit entities that can manage one or more charter schools.[9] The first charter school law was in Minnesota in 1991.