Charter schools are nonsectarian public schools that are authorized (“chartered”) by a state or local school board to serve the full range of students who attend public schools. Through the chartering process, schools are able to propose, gain approval for, and implement innovative curricular and instructional programs that meet the needs of their public school communities. The “charter” that establishes the school is a performance contract that details the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. The length of time for which charters are granted varies from usually three to five years. At the end of the term, the authorizer may renew the school’s charter if the school has produced positive academic results and adhered to the charter contract.
At the heart of the movement is the concept that schools should have increased autonomy from bureaucracy in exchange for greater accountability for student achievement. It is this movement to increase the scope and quality of educational opportunities for public school students that guides the work of the Hebrew Public. We join the movement at an auspicious moment: Nearly 5,000 charter schools have been launched since state legislatures began passing charter legislation in the 1990s, and the federal government is placing charter schools at the center of its educational agenda for the 21st Century. Hebrew Public plans to contribute to the growth and success of the charter school movement by supporting a network of 20 new Hebrew language charter schools by 2025.