WATCH: What is a Charter School?

February 23, 2023 2:44PM

What on earth is a charter school? They’re a hot topic in Tennessee right now, so let’s talk about what they are, and why they matter.

First thing: Charter schools are public schools. They’re free to attend, as in no tuition. They’re non-religious, non-profit, and there’s no admissions tests or interviews – charter schools are open to anyone who’s eligible for public education. Charters have to meet the same state testing requirements as zoned public schools, and their accountability requirements are even higher.

So what are charter schools for, and how are they different?

Charter schools were created to help expand and improve public education. They have the flexibility to innovate and experiment. They can design their classrooms, culture, and teaching methods to give students the best possible education, and they can focus in unique ways to meet students’ unique needs like a focus on STEM, the arts, or college prep. 

And they work! Growth scores for charters outperformed traditional public schools by nearly double. 

Most importantly, charter schools give parents and students more public options to receive a life-changing, high-quality education.