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American Education Commentary Website

Hello and welcome to ACMC06. This is an American website that features interesting articles on education in the US. Browse through our posts, find a fun factoid and learn more about how education is shaping this nation. Happy reading!

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The Differences Between Charter Schools and Public Schools written by: CariJean

Posted by on 7:08 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Oftentimes, people misunderstand what a charter school is and what it entails. The most basic definition is that it is a school publicly funded but independently operated. Even though it is publicly funded, it is different from public schools.

The first charter school in the United States was established in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1992. Since then, 41 states along with the District of Columbia have allowed these schools to be established. The three states with the highest number of students enrolled is California, Arizona and Michigan. Charter school legislation has not yet been passed in these states: West Virginia, Vermont, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Kentucky and Alabama. In 2012, there were 5,700 schools with 2.1 million students in attendance.


One of the main differences between public schools and charter schools is the latter type of schools have more flexibility in their rules and regulations. This is not to say these schools go unregulated. They must still meet the goals of the charter put in place by those who created the school. This charter includes the school’s mission, performance goals and how the students get assessed in their learning. Rules for these types of public schools vary from state to state and it also varies from state to state who can authorize charters. For example, in some states they are authorized by the State Board of Education while in other states it is up to the local school district. Students must still meet certain academic guidelines and if the school fails to meet such regulations or they lose their funding, they have the potential to close. Since their inception, 200 schools have closed citing reasons such as not having enough students, lack of financing and unmet academic performance.

Unlike private schools, students do not have to pay tuition in order to attend a charter school. Like public schools, they are funded by the state but get less money and the amount of funding is usually a fixed rate per student. Since they act as nonprofit organizations, they can also be funded through charity and other private sources. Many times, they are also eligible for grants.

When it comes to the public schools system, students usually have to attend the school located in the district in which they live but when it comes to attending charter schools, there are no such boundaries. This allows for families to have more of a choice when it comes to deciding where to send their children to school.