Charter Schools

A Growing and Diverse National Reform Movement Gao ID: T-HEHS-95-52 January 19, 1995

Charter schools are a rapidly growing education reform, offering a new model for public schools. These schools are intended to address a variety of concerns about the public educational system, including unresponsive bureaucracies, restrictive rules, limited choices among types of schools, and a lack of accountability for student performance. As the number of charter schools has grown, so has their diversity. These schools vary considerably in their autonomy, their instructional programs reflect diversity and innovation, and they vary in how they plan and measure student performance. Because of this diversity, these schools pose new challenges for federal program administration. These challenges stem from the lack of connection of some charter schools to local school districts. Meanwhile, states are uncertain about how to treat charter schools in regard to federal programs and federal requirements such as those for special education.

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