On paper charter schools look a lot like public schools. They receive public money, are reviewed and regulated by the state, and do not charge tuition. But unlike public schools, charters have a degree of freedom in setting their curriculum. This independence has made a rapidly growing number of American families enroll their children in charter schools. In 2011 the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reported that two million students attend charter schools.
Charter schools may be popular, but they are not always effective. Their autonomy from state-mandated education methods means they can look to alternative and innovative ways to teach their students. These novel approaches do not always work and sometimes lead to charter school’s performing poorly as compared to regular public schools. According to a Stanford University study published in 2009, only 17 percent of charter school students performed better than their public school counterparts. Meanwhile, 37 percent of them did “significantly worse.”
Given the varying success of charter schools, it’s important to be picky when deciding where to enroll your kids. To help, US News & World Report has compiled a list of the Best Charter Schools in America. They ranked them by examining their students’ college readiness and test proficiency.
Click through the gallery to learn what makes these 10 the best charter schools in America.
(Photo: P.E. Reed)