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Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that are allowed greater autonomy than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability for meeting specific educational goals. Individual states' charter school laws vary tremendously, but charter schools generally operate as deregulated public schools, using public funds to support programs founded by parents, educators, community groups, or private organizations. State laws identify public entities like local school boards, universities, or state boards of education to evaluate proposals and grant a limited number of charters or contracts for establishing schools.

Charter schools are often launched to focus on a unique educational vision (e.g., Montessori), gain autonomy from embattled local districts, or serve a special population (e.g., children at risk of expulsion). The degree of autonomy enjoyed by charter schools varies but ...

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