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Charter schools in the United States (and some other countries—see below) seek to reform public education through a blend of elements found in public schools (universal access and public funding) and elements often associated with private schools (choice, autonomy, and flexibility). While the definition of charter schools varies somewhat by state, essentially they are nonsectarian public schools of choice that are free from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Over the past two decades, charter schools have remained one of the most widely discussed and debated topics when it comes to U.S. school reform. This entry discusses the policy objectives and theoretical arguments for charter schools, research on how they have performed in relation to their objectives, and the challenges and obstacles facing ...

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