What is a Charter School?


Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a businesslike contract or ‘charter’ between the operator and the sponsoring authority. The Oklahoma Charter Schools Act gives charter schools freedom from all state rules and regulations except those listed in the Act. In exchange for this freedom, a charter school must show greater accountability for results. The charter establishes the missions and methods as agreed to by the charter school and the sponsor. The sponsoring authority holds the school accountable to its charter. ‘Autonomy for accountability’ is the basis for charter schools.

The Act states the purposes for charter schools in Oklahoma are: to improve student learning; increase learning opportunities for students; encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods; provide additional academic choices for parents and students; develop different forms of measuring student learning; establish new forms of accountability for schools, and provide new opportunities for teachers and administrators.

Charter schools provide an avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to take responsible risks and create new, innovative, and more flexible ways of educating children within the public school system. Different students learn differently and charter schools provide a means for the development of different and more effective learning systems. A charter school can create a delivery system that individualizes and customizes education to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population. . .

Charter schools are a way to address specific needs and interests in a public school setting, while being free from what they see as overly burdensome regulations. The cost of this freedom is greater accountability for results.

Source: Sandy Garrett, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
“A Developer’s Guide to Quality Education”
Published by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, 1999

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