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What is a Charter School?

Free. Public. Open to All.

California's charter schools are tuition-free, public, 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.

California's charter public schools strengthen our public education system

No two kids learn the same way, and every family and community deserves high quality public education. That’s why over 30 years ago, California's 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. In addition, California's charter public schools are held to high performance standards.

Explore the critical work and successes of California's charter public schools:

High-quality elementary schools successfully prepare children for later learning and life in general. Discover California's best charter public elementary schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Successful middle schools put students on the right path toward success in high school and beyond. Discover California's best charter public middle schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. 

Excellent public high schools can help students nurture their passions and reach their college or career aspirations. Discover California's best charter public high schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Stanford University's 2023 study found California's charter public schools are performing well, gaining the equivalent of 11 days of reading and 4 days of math compared to similar students in traditional public schools.

New research finds California's charter school teachers are a diverse group with Asian and Black charter school teachers being more likely to hold advanced degrees than their traditional public school peers.

As part of California's public school system, charter schools are free and open to all students. Charter schools never charge tuition, do not earn profits, and do not have special entrance requirements.

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California's charter public school students are as unique and diverse as the Golden State

California charter public schools are open to all students and do not have special eligibility or entrance requirements. Just like other public schools, charter schools are tuition-free. 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. Charter public schools offer the personal attention, creativity and passionate teaching that kids need to succeed.

See how California's charter public schools are providing high-quality education options for our students:

Stanford University's study found Black and Hispanic students in charter schools advance more than their traditional public school peers by large margins in both math and reading.

A higher proportion of California's charter public schools are accelerating the closing of opportunity gaps for Latino students than their traditional public schools counterparts according to the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

In the state's seven major school districts, Black charter school students are academically outperforming their peers in traditional public schools in both English Language Arts and Math.

This report takes a snapshot of the 2021-2022 school year for California charter public schools and underscores the unique role that charter public schools play in California's AAPI communities.

A new research brief offers insight into English learners (EL) who attend California charter public schools. The brief finds a sizable percentage of ELs enrolled in charter schools have achieved proficiency and are considered Reclassified Fluent English Proficient.

A 2023 study found six out of 10 California voters call for major change to the state’s public education system. In addition, the research finds parents want more public education choice and support for charter public schools is at all-time high.

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