The Truth About Charter Schools

The Truth About Charter Schools

myths_week1_square-01Charter Schools are Public Schools

MYTH: Charter schools are not public schools.

FACT: As defined in federal and state law, charter schools are public schools. They must meet the same academic standards that all public schools are required to meet:

  • tuition-free and open to all students
  • non-sectarian, and do not discriminate on any basis
  • publicly funded by local, state, and federal tax dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools; and
  • held accountable to state and federal academic standards

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STORIES:

  • All Adali Ortiz wanted was another shot at a high school diploma – can you imagine turning her away? That’s what several traditional public schools did when she attempted to re-enroll after giving birth to her daughter, but a charter school saw her potential. Read her story here and see how charter schools are giving all students a shot at a great education.

wk2_infographic_503x503-02Charters Serve All Students

MYTH: Charter schools skim or cherry-pick the best students from traditional public schools.

FACT: Public charter schools are generally required to take all students who want to attend.

If there are more interested students than available seats, the schools are generally required to hold lotteries, which randomly determine which students will be enrolled.

Unlike magnet schools overseen by school districts, public charter schools cannot selectively admit students. According to federal law, they must accept all students, including students with disabilities and English Learners (ELs), regardless of previous academic performance.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education revised its long-standing policy requiring charter schools to use a “blind” lottery when they are oversubscribed. Where it is permitted by state law, charters can now use “weighted” lotteries to preference “educationally disadvantaged” students. This change will likely result in charter schools serving an even greater share of disadvantaged children than they already do.

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STORIES:

  • A California teenager with autism spent most of his life not being able to express himself, until he was able to share his voice with his fellow charter school students at his graduation ceremony. Read his story here and see how charter schools are giving all students a shot at a great education.
  • Demand for charter schools is at an all-time high. There are currently over 1 million student names on charter school waiting lists.

myths-week3-503x503-04Charter Schools Serve English Learners

MYTH: Charter schools serve fewer English Learners than traditional public schools.

FACT: There is no significant difference in the percentage of of English Learners (ELs) served by traditional or public charter schools.

The most recent Department of Education survey data show that 10 percent of charter school students are ELs, compared to 9 percent of students in traditional public schools, however, there is no measurable difference between the two groups. More importantly, EL students are showing great academic success in charter schools.

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STORIES:

  • Carlos Corona’s family brought him to the United States from Mexico when he was 16. He didn’t know a word of English. Three years later, he’s graduating from MAAC Community Charter School in San Diego and fluent in English. Read more about his storyhere.
  • Demand for charter schools is at an all-time high. There are currently over 1 million student names on charter school waiting lists.

myths-week4-1048x1048-05Public Charter School Students are Excelling Academically

MYTH: Public charter school students do no better than traditional public school students.

FACT: Between 2010 and 2013, 15 of 16 independent studies found that students attending public charter schools do better academically than their traditional public school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

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