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Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are nonsectarian, do not charge tuition, and operate under the terms of a "charter" that sets forth the school's mission, program, goals, and ways to measure success. In California, charters are granted by local school districts for an initial period of up to 5 years, after which they may be renewed. Charter schools are financed directly by the state and exercise increased autonomy in return for accountability in both academic results and fiscal practices.

Charter schools were created to:

  • Increase opportunities for learning and access to quality education for all students

  • Create choice for parents and students within the public school system

  • Provide a system of accountability for results in public education

  • Encourage innovative teaching practices

  • Create new professional opportunities for teachers

  • Encourage community and parent involvement in public education

  • Leverage improved public education broadly

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