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What is a Charter School?

Public. Free. Open to All.

California's charter schools are public, tuition-free, and open to all students. California charter public schools have rigorous curriculum programs and unique educational approaches. In exchange for operational freedom and flexibility, charter schools are subject to higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools. Charter schools offer high-quality education options to communities. In fact, 70% of Californian parents support charter public schools and 72% agree they should have more public school options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why charter schools?

No two kids learn the same way, and every family and community deserves high quality public education. That’s why 30+ years ago, California families got together and created charter public schools to strengthen our public education system.
They offer a different approach to public education—one that is as unique as the kids of California, one that puts kids above bureaucracy, and one that gives passionate teachers the flexibility to create dynamic lesson plans tailored to kids’ individual needs. As a result, charter public schools send more kids to college and are preparing more kids for the jobs of tomorrow.

Are charter schools public schools?

Yes! All charter schools in California are public schools meaning they are free and open to all.

Who can attend charter public schools?

Charter public schools are open to all students and do not have special eligibility or entrance requirements. California's charter public schools are built on the belief that every student should have the opportunity to go to a great school that puts their needs first, regardless of zip code, income or ability level.

What makes charter public schools different from other public schools?

We know “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t work when it comes to education. Our schools offer the personal attention, creativity and passionate teaching that kids need to succeed. Charter public schools are free from bureaucratic restrictions and red tape that gets between students, teachers, and learning. In exchange, our schools are held to high performance standard.

How are charter public schools held accountable?

Our schools put the needs of students first, not the interests of the bureaucracy. Every family at our schools made a choice to be there – and will choose another public school if we don’t meet their needs. To ensure we meet that high standard for all families, we are accountable to state and federal public education laws and undergo extensive oversight by a local charter authorizer, which is often the local school board.

How are charter public schools funded and managed?

Our schools are publicly funded and open to all students. Like all public schools, we also fundraise and receive donations to help support our students. Charter public schools in California never charge tuition and nearly all are managed by non-profit organizations.

Who teaches at charter public schools?

The passionate and dedicated teachers at our schools are required to have the same credentials as teachers at any other type of public school in California.

How are charter public schools doing at preparing students for success?

Our schools combine the key ingredients for an excellent public education – great teachers, motivated students and involved parents – and focus on preparing students for success in college, careers and life. As a result, charter public schools are graduating more students and send more kids to college than other types of public schools.

How do charter public schools help California’s public school system?

Our schools help strengthen California's public school system by offering more kids an opportunity for a great public education at schools that put their needs first. Public education is the backbone of the American dream — and charter public schools help give every student the opportunity to grow and achieve.

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