Charter schools are publicly funded, independent schools of choice. Though public, charter schools are not run by the Commission. Each charter school operates independently according to the terms of a performance contract or “charter.” Charter schools commit to meeting specific academic goals set by the Commission, but are free to make their own decisions about how to achieve those goals. If the goals are not met, the charter may be revoked and the school closed.
Because charter schools are independent from the district system, they have greater flexibility in the way they operate. They are free to:
- Develop their own academic program
- Choose staff
- Set educational goals
- Offer a longer school day and school year
- Establish their own standards for student behavior.
The combination of freedom and accountability for success allows charter schools to respond to community needs, try new approaches, and put students’ learning first.
In Washington state, charter schools are operated by nonprofit, public benefit corporations. Charter schools are non-religious and non-sectarian in their practices, and are open to all students, free of tuition.