What is a charter school?


Charter schools are public schools created by parents, educators and communities to provide innovation in the classroom and an alternative to traditional public schools. A "charter" is essentially a contract: charter schools operate free from red tape and regulation, and in return they are held to high standards for student achievement. Unlike a traditional public school, if a charter school does not meet these high standards, they are shut down.

Charter schools represent one of the fast-growing movements in education.

The original California charter law proposes to:

  • Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning opportunities for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving.
  • Encourage the use of innovative teaching methods that address the needs of all learners.
  • Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.
  • Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system.
  • Hold the schools accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide those schools with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems.
  • Provide vigorous competition within the traditional public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.

Charter schools are public, tuition-free, and non-religious. Admission is determined by lottery. Because no one is required to go to a charter school, charter schools must meet and exceed parent expectations in order to keep their students.

Many of the best schools in Los Angeles are Charter Schools.

For more information on what a charter school is, please visit the California Charter School Association (CCSA).

Larchmont Charter School's Renewed Charter Petition (November 10, 2014)