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Autonomy and Accountability in Charter Schools

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Autonomy and Accountability in Charter Schools

A charter schools is a public school that operates independent of many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. They must be nonsectarian and open to all students regardless of where they live.

The basic concept of a charter school is that it enjoys increased autonomy in exchange for accountability.

A charter is a performance contract between the school being established and a state’s ruling body of education. It establishes the school’s purpose, mission, programs and goals. The stated charter also sets prescribed methods of measuring the success of the school.

Charters tend to be granted for 3- to 5-year periods and then reviewed at the end of that period of time. Charter schools are accountable to a sponsor an authorizer who ensures they adhere to the terms of their charter and are academically and financially responsible. They are also accountable to the parents who choose them and the public that provides funding.



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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.