A Charter school is a publicly funded school that gives the teacher more flexibility with educational choices while encouraging parental involvement; they seek to accommodate students who are bored or less successful in a traditional classroom setting for any reason. Student achievement at a charter school must be at or above state levels or the charter school risks losing accreditation.
A charter school is funded by state and federal taxes and therefore must follow the same admission policies as public schools. Students do not pay tuition to be accepted to a charter school, charter schools are given funds per student based on the number of students enrolled. A charter school cannot discriminate in any way on which students are accepted, they must accommodate every student that enrolls in the school. Students in a charter school must take the same state and federal exams as students in a public school and must achieve at the same level in order to maintain funding. A charter schools is not required to adhere to the decisions of the local school board, although they may if the school chooses, they are considered part of the school district.
A charter school has more freedom than a traditional public school to educate students. Teachers or administrators may make adjustments to the curriculum according to student achievement. A charter school can choose to make the school day longer or offer classes during the evening or on weekends, parents are involved in decisions. A charter school may have an educational theme which encourages community and focus, charter school curriculum can be geared towards theater, art, technology or larger themes like problem based learning or global decision making.
Teachers in a charter school have freedom to make curriculum decisions based on student needs; they can choose the amount of time to be spent on subjects according to how well the students know material. A charter school teacher is encouraged to be innovative with educational decisions like flexibility with classrooms, a teacher can choose to teach earth science in the natural environment or the classroom can exist completely online. A charter school teacher is encouraged to use differentiated instruction, where students are given assignments and assessments catered to their educational needs rather than a blanket assignment every student in the class must complete.
A charter school is held accountable to parents as well as the state and federal standards. Parents are involved in all of the decisions of a charter school; parental involvement in the school may be required when a student enrolls. A charter school may have a board of parents that make decisions for the school. A charter school encourages communication between parents and teachers; often parents are given cell phone numbers and emails for teachers and may enact policies for teachers like a 24 hour deadline to reply to a parent. Many charter schools have an open door policy where parents can visit the class or teacher anytime and even drop in without a scheduled time. A charter school depends on the parents to help supervise field trips or attend student programs so parents will be able to witness and share in their child's education.