Charter Schools 101


ExcelinEd’s new Opportunity Learning Hub offers quick, efficient videos for people interested in policies that expand educational opportunity. Take a look at these videos in the Hub’s Public Charter Schools series to become a more proficient advocate for education choice!

What are public charter schools?

Today, more than 3 million students in the US attend a public charter school. What exactly is a public charter school? Public Charter schools are tuition-free public schools open to all students and held to state academic and financial standards. Unlike traditional public schools, however, public charter schools are run independently of school districts and, instead, operate under a performance contract with an authorizer (a district, the state, or another approved entity). In exchange for more operational autonomy, public charter schools are held accountable for student success. So what are public charter schools? Learn more in just two minutes:

What is a public charter school authorizer?

Unlike traditional public schools, public charter schools are run independently of school districts operating under a performance contract—or charter—with an authorizer. These entities are important, ensuring charter schools fulfill their mission. The most common public charter school authorizers are local school districts, which account for about 90 percent of all authorizers. The types of authorizers allowed vary by state law, and they can be a school district, the state, a university, or another approved entity. Learn more about why public charter schools are important in this three-minute video.

Learn more about public charter schools and other education opportunity policies on our new Opportunity Learning Hub.

Solution Areas:

Private Education Choice


Charter Schools

About the Author

Sam Duell is the Policy Director for Charter Schools at ExcelinEd.

Solution Areas:

Private Education Choice, Public Education Choice