Just What Exactly is a Charter School?

Open Education:

One of the more consistent, ongoing suggestions for improving America’s educational system centers upon the creation of greater competition amongst public schools. The reason for the steady drumbeat centers upon a belief that a change to the free market system would be one of the best methods for creating better educational opportunities for children.
In direct response to the push for greater competition, forty states across America have now initiated legislation to allow the construction of new public schools called charter schools. Minnesota was the first state to pass laws regarding charter schools, doing so in 1991.
The concept is definitely catching on. Today, according to USCharterSchools.org, there are nearly 4,000 charter schools across our country educating more than 1.1 million children. The state of California, the second to enact such legislation, has more than 600 such schools educating about one-fifth of all charter school students.
While the number of schools continues to grow, large numbers of Americans, many even within the field of education, simply do not know what a charter school really consists of or how this new school concept differs from traditional public schools. Today at OpenEducation.net, we provide our readers the fundamentals of the charter school concept.