How Charter Schools Fit into School Choice

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It’s National School Choice Week and we’re excited to be celebrating options for students and families to pursue an education that is right for them.

Here we breakdown what is school choice and how charter schools fit in:

What is school choice?

School choice is the belief that every family and student should have the option to choose the K-12 education structure that works best for them. That includes public options—‘traditional’ district schools, charter schools, and magnet schools—as well as private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.

We know that every child is unique. Shouldn’t their schools be, too?

Where do charter schools fit in?

Charter schools are the public school option that is free, public, and open to all. Unlike district schools, they are not limited to a certain zip code, and unlike magnet schools, they accept all students. And unlike private schools, they are free to all who attend.

Another aspect that makes charter schools unique as a public school choice option is that they often operate independently from the school district, allowing for greater flexibility in how they teach students. So individual schools (and teachers!) have the ability to meet students where they are and design a classroom that puts students first. 

Why choose charter schools?

Every family chooses charter schools for different reasons and those reasons are limitless. Some families enroll their student in a charter school because of the academic reputation. Others may make the choice out of safety concerns or because a specific program or focus is offered.

What really matters here is that the family is making a choice that is right for their student—and that should be their decision to make.

No matter the school choice made by families, we know that choice leads to increased happiness in that choice—regardless of whether it is a district school, charter school, private school, or a different school option. And we’re happy when students and families have that choice to make.

See how schools are celebrating across the country all week for National School Choice Week!


Melinda Tolliver is the senior manager of digital strategy for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.