Parents

WHO CAN ATTEND A CHARTER SCHOOLS?

Parents choose whether to send their children to charter schools; the district does not assign students to them. In many states, more than half the students in charter schools are minority students, and in some cases, the percentage of low-income and disabled students exceeds the percentage of those students in regular public schools. Schools sponsored by a local district will be open to all students in that district. If room will allow, they may admit students from other districts. Schools sponsored by the state will be open to any student in the state. Organizers will be required to publicize the existence of the school and the procedures for enrollment. At least one public meeting is required where the organizers provide information and answer questions.

By law, charter schools must have a fair and open admissions process, conducting outreach and recruitment to all segments of the community they serve. If more students apply than there is room to accommodate, names will be drawn, although limited preference (no more than 10% of the student population) will be given to teachers’ children and siblings of students already in the school. In the first year, preference may also be given to children of the organizers of the school, but that, too, is very limited.

WHY SHOULD MY CHILD ATTEND A CHARTER SCHOOL?

The educational needs of some children are not being met in their current school setting. Parents who want to change that setting, however, do not have that option unless they can afford private school tuition or unless they are in a position to homeschool. Charter schools offer those parents the opportunity to send their children to – and even help design and/or govern – a public school that meets those needs. This results in a sense of “ownership” among the parents who choose to send their children to the schools, which leads to a higher level of parental involvement in helping the school succeed.

WILL I HAVE TO PAY TUITION IF MY CHILD ATTENDS A CHARTER SCHOOL?

No. As public schools, charters are not allowed to charge tuition, and they are publicly funded according to enrollment.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and students choose them. They operate with freedom from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They generally offer teachers and students more authority to make decisions than most traditional public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance with rules and regulations, they are accountable for academic results and for upholding their charter.

What sets charter schools apart from traditional public schools is their ability to: (1) increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students, (2) create choice for parents and students within the public school system, (3) provide a system of accountability for results in public education, (4) encourage innovative teaching practices, (5) create new professional opportunities for teachers, (6) encourage community and parent involvement in public education, and (7) leverage improved public education broadly.

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