A charter school is a tuition-free, non-selective, public school operated by an independent board of directors and funded through a three-way agreement (the “charter”) between the charter school’s board, the charter school’s sponsor, and the state board of education.
In exchange for increased accountability, the charter school’s board is granted the flexibility to operate with increased autonomy.
Charter schools frequently use this autonomy to innovate or differentiate in the areas of educational philosophy, academic programming, hiring practices, or other school policies (length of school day, use of technology, etc.).
Charter schools create choices for families who seek the most appropriate public school environment for their children.
The presence of public school options encourage existing schools to compete, and there is substantial evidence that charter schools positively impact the public systems of which they are a part.
Charter schools are not a “silver bullet”. Successful charters must adhere to universal organizational essentials. They must have a sound philosophy, clear mission, effective governance, talented leadership, a mandate for uniformly excellent teachers, and a sound financial plan.
For more information on charter schools in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Education (http://sde.ok.gov/sde/faqs/oklahoma-charter-schools-program) offers some excellent resources.