What is a charter school?

Open-enrollment charter schools are public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students. These schools vary in mission and model, serving a wide range of students, many with needs beyond the one-size-fits-all traditional public school. Often, these charter schools provide a personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement. In exchange for some autonomy, charter schools have increased accountability, and must meet the testing standards dictated by the state.

On charter campuses, school leaders are permitted more freedom in managing their school, allowing them to respond in the best interest of both parents and students. Teachers at charter schools are encouraged to structure lessons to the specific needs of their students. Some charter schools even provide curriculum that specializes in a certain field such as the arts, mathematics or science while others provide a more general education.

Charter schools receive state funds based on the average daily attendance of students (same as traditional public schools); however, they do not receive funds from local tax revenue and the majority, including Texas charters, do not receive state facilities funding. Texas Education Agency (TEA) data indicates that charter schools receive approximately $1200 less in total revenue per pupil than traditional public schools.

In exchange for some autonomy, charter schools have increased accountability, and must meet the testing standards dictated by the state.

Key takeaways

  • Free, open enrollment public schools;
  • Personalized learning environment that promotes greater student achievement;
  • State funds received based on the average daily attendance of students, resulting in $1200 less in total revenue per pupil than traditional public schools