Charter School FAQ

What Are Charter Schools?

  • Charter schools are independent public schools that provide another education option to parents and students. They were created to give educators and parents the freedom to innovate and develop successful teaching models to increase student achievement. Because a charter school is not managed by the local school district, it is free to design the environment it believes will best serve students' needs. 
  • High-quality charter schools are making a difference. Across the country, charter schools are associated with higher proficiency rates in math and English, as well as higher rates of high school diploma attainment. 
  • Charter schools don’t charge tuition and don’t require any entrance exams or interviews. All children who live within a charter school’s district, including children with special needs, are eligible to attend a charter school on a space-available basis.
Why are they called "charter schools"?
  • Because the plan for each school becomes its charter, subject to approval by the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE).

Why are charter schools considered "public" schools?
A public school is defined as a school that is open to the public, funded by the public and accountable to the public. Charter schools meet all three tests. They must be open to all students on a space available basis including students with disabilities or limited English proficiency. Charters cannot select students based on skills, ability or past performance, have a selective admissions policy, charge tuition, and or have a religious focus or affiliation.

What makes charter schools be considered "schools of choice"?
Charter schools are just one more option for parents to choose from when making decisions about what’s best for their child and the child’s educational needs and learning style. Not every option is going to be the best fit for every child. That’s why having a choice among various schools becomes an important advantage for parents.

Who can start a charter school?
Educators, parents, community leaders, educational entrepreneurs and others design charter schools. Founders of charter schools must include at least some teachers and parents who live in the school district where the charter school will be established.