About Charter Schools

Charter School Myths & Realities

Myth

Charter public schools are protected from cuts in local aid. They “take their money off the top.” 

Reality

Because funding for charter schools is tied to how much districts spend on each student, local cuts affect charter schools also. When that spending gets cut, so does the amount that charter schools receive.

Myth

Charter public schools do not take special education students.

Reality

Of course they do! Charter public schools are under the same state and federal obligations to provide services to special needs children as other public schools, and indeed take on a similar percentage of such students. All public schools (including Charters) usually leave the education of students with needs that exceed capacity to experts at specially equipped independent schools.

Myth

Charter public schools play by their own rules.

Reality

Charter public schools must follow the same educational standards, administer the same standardized tests, employ the state’s curriculum, and abide by all the same laws and regulations as other public schools. The difference lies in the management flexibility they are given. Charter schools can lengthen their school day and year to provide more time in the classroom, establish their own educational culture, hire and fire teachers for performance, and tie teacher pay to performance.

Myth

Charter public schools are an unproven experiment.

 

Reality

The first Massachusetts charter public schools opened back in 1995, and since then, studies have repeatedly found that most outperform their district schools. In Massachusetts and nation-wide charter schools are helping to close the achievement gap between white students, suburban students and minority children throughout Massachusetts.