Although there have been charter schools in Louisiana since 1995, many people do not know how a charter school differs from other public schools. The most important thing to know about charter schools is that they are public schools that do not charge tuition and are open to all students.
The Louisiana State Board of Education provides a summary of the charter school legislation on its web site, including the following points:
- Louisiana charter schools are free from many laws and regulations governing public schools, but in the place of regulations, charter schools are held accountable for student achievement and other results.
- Performance levels must be achieved even though charter schools are required to reflect the same “at-risk” percentage as the public school district in which the charter is located.
- Failure to achieve objectives results in a school’s charter being revoked.
- Charter schools may use a wide variety of educational resources and are not required to use state-approved textbooks.
Minimum standards of instructional time must be met but the length of the charter school day and year varies from school to school.