What is a Charter School?
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that work in collaboration with school districts. Enrollment is open to all students. Charter schools are independently operated and managed with more flexibility than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability.
The “charter” that establishes each school is a contract detailing the school’s mission, program, performance goals, and methods of assessment. The charter contract is an operating agreement between the charter school and an “authorizer”, which is responsible for holding charter schools accountable for compliance with their charter contract. An authorizer is an entity which , subject to state law, may be a district school board, university, Mayor’s office, or non-profit organization. KIPP Chicago’s authorizer is Chicago Public Schools.
Like all public schools, charter schools are:
- Tuition-free and part of the free public school system
- Held to state and federal academic standards
- Open to all students, including those with disabilities
- Funded primarily through a combination of federal, state, and local tax dollars
- Not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group
All KIPP schools are public charter schools. And yet, not all public charter schools are like KIPP. KIPP is a non-profit network of 209 college-preparatory, public charter schools educating early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students.
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