Forty-three of fifty states in the United States have charter school laws that allow the operation of schools that are publicly-funded but operated and managed by nonpublic entities – sometimes not-for-profit, sometimes business corporations. The purpose of these charter school laws is to offer a public alternative to education that is provided by publicly-elected boards of education and subject to state education laws and policies. Generally speaking, the purpose of charter school laws is to authorize a system of schools that operate independently from existing school districts and that provide an opportunity for educators to develop schools that are assessed on the basis of student achievement, rather than on compliance with the state and local laws that govern public education.
Many proponents of “school choice” refer to Charter Schools as a choice option to be encouraged because a publicly-authorized charter school offers the possibility of an educational opportunity that is free of local control but also tuition-free and accountable to State authorities and public charter authorizers. Other choice options, such as vouchers for private schools, may favor families who can provide some share of the cost of private education, may allow public support of sectarian schools, and may leave children without the protection of state and federal civil rights, safety, and disability laws and without public accountability for academic standards.
This program, taught by Marion Katzive, a Member of Bond Schoeneck & King, will provide a broad strokes overview of the different kinds of Charter authorization laws that may exist – whether a state allows for-profit Charter Schools, for example, or requires accountability for examination standards. The course will use the New York State Charter Schools Act of 1998 as a jumping off point to discuss different types of Charter School considerations, including the criteria for issuance of a charter and the criteria for revoking or terminating a charter, what accountability measures are provided to allow data-based assessments of achievement levels for students with disabilities, students who are English language learners, and students who are eligible for free and reduced priced lunch, and whether Charter Schools are “exempt” from state and local laws, rules, regulations or policies governing other public or private schools.
- Understand the different types of Charter Authorizations across the country
- Identify the organization and legal status of a Charter School, including governance considerations, and the interplay between Charter Authorizations and education laws, not-for-profit laws, and tax and revenue concerns
- Understand which state or local law may or may not be applicable to Charter Schools in your state
- Understand the differences between Charters and public or private schools in terms of student admissions, due process rights, and remedies