As defined in federal and state law, all charter schools are public schools. They are tuition-free, open to all students, and held to the same (or higher) accountability standards—including state testing.
Charter schools are not a controversial issue—in fact, charter schools have a long history of support from both political parties.
Charter schools have earned the support of prominent members of the Republican Party, including current Senators Lamar Alexander and Tim Scott and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. And President George W. Bush was supportive of the federal Charter Schools Program during his time in office. But Democratic and progressive leaders have been, and remain, among the strongest proponents of high-quality charter schools.
President Bill Clinton spearheaded the passage of the first federal law designed specifically to support charter school start-ups and Ember Reichgott Junge, a Democratic State Senator from Minnesota, authored the nation’s first charter school law. President Barack Obama created the first-ever federal funding stream dedicated to replicating and expanding high-performing public charter schools, and President Obama increased funding for the federal Charter Schools Program more in his first year in office than President George W. Bush did over his entire eight years as President.