Charter School's started popping up in 1996. Since then, they are in 46 of the 67 school districts in the sunshine state. So what's the difference between a charter school and a public school?
According to the department of education, "Charter schools are tuition-free public schools created through an agreement or "charter" typically between the school and the local district school board. This agreement gives the charter school a measure of expanded freedom relative to traditional public schools in return for a commitment to higher standards of accountability."
In a nutshell, that means charter schools have more flexibility in what they teach. In exchange for that flexibility, students are required to hit higher benchmarks.
A charter contract is between the charter school's governing board and the sponsor. It details the school's mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment and ways to measure success. The contract also "outlines expectations of both parties regarding the school's academic and financial performance."
Charter schools are organized as or operated by a nonprofit organization and receive most of their money from the state. Federal funding through grants is also available.
They must follow the same standards as public schools when it comes to services to students with disabilities, civil rights, student, health, safety, and welfare. Charter Schools are also required to keep public records; hold public meetings; have a public inspection, and can be prone to penalties. The sponsor school district's policies do not apply to a charter school.
Floridacharterschools.org explains that every charter school has to be evaluated on its academic progress and how they hold up their end of the school's binding contract. Each school is evaluated and assigned a school grade using the same standards and criteria as traditional public schools.
In conclusion, a Charter school is just another option for parents and more flexibility for students.