What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are non-sectarian, public schools operating with a contract - or charter - from the State Board of Education. They are usually established by parents and educators seeking alternatives within the public school system. Charter schools are free, open to all, responsive to student and parent needs, and accountable to the State Board for achieving the standards outlined in the school's charter.
Source: U.S. Department of Education
How do charter schools differ from traditional district public schools?
Charter schools operate from 3 basic principles:
Accountability: Charter schools are held accountable for how well they educate children in a safe and responsible environment. They are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter, and state standards as measured by the Connecticut Mastery Test. Charter schools must operate lawfully and responsibly, with the highest regard for equity and excellence. If they fail to deliver, they are closed.
Choice: Parents, teachers, community groups, organizations, or individuals interested in creating additional educational opportunities for children can start charter schools. Local and state school boards, colleges and universities, and other community agencies can sponsor them. Students choose to attend, and teachers choose to teach at charter schools.
Autonomy: Charter schools are freed from the traditional bureaucracy and regulations that some feel divert a school's energy and resources toward compliance rather than excellence.