Saturday, November 7, 2009

Charter schools defined


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Charter schools are institutions of public education.  The authorizing legislation for charter schools is state-level. State legislation exempts charter schools from having to follow most of the state rules governing public schools.  As of this writing, there are only ten states that do not allow charter school. Washington state is one of these ten.

The administration of President Obama favors charter schools, merit pay for teachers, and regressive school reform. All of the 2008 Stimulus Funding package for education is designed to promote the school reform agenda.

Charter schools can be operated for profit or as non-profits. Charter Management Organizations (CMO's) can also be organized for profit or as nonprofits.  CMOs may operate more than one charter school.  Charter schools get the per-capita state funds for K-12 education for each student that enrolls. Typically, enrollment at charter schools is by lottery, unless the demand for seats is less than the number of available seats.

All public schools - both charter and non-charter public schools -- must operate in accordance with the Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. The most significant aspects of this legislation are the definitions given for school failure, annual yearly progress (AYP), and intevention, and the consequences of school failure. The provisions for parent choice and school interventions come in to play when a school is classified as having "failed" under the terms of NCLB.

Seattle has a school that resembles a charter school in many respects. You can read more about this school in the internal article New School - SPS' psuedo charter school.

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