The conventional answer is, of course a charter school is a public school; it just operates under a different set of rules than so-called traditional public schools. But as Ravitch and Baker point out, it’s a little more complicated than that.
“Those who casually (belligerently & ignorantly) toss around the rhetoric that ‘charters are public schools’ need to stop,” Baker argues. “This rhetoric misinforms parents, teachers and taxpayers regarding their rights, assumptions and expectations.”
The argument that charter schools are public schools rests largely on two factors: 1) they are funded primarily by the public through state and/or local taxes, and 2) they are established by public agencies.
In Indiana, the adoption of the nation’s most extensive education voucher program makes factor No. 1 less of a bright line. Private schools get considerable public funding through vouchers awarded to students. Is that so different from the per-pupil funding given to charter schools?
Regarding factor No. 2, it used to be that Indiana charter schools were sponsored only by public entities, answerable either directly or indirectly to the voters: local school boards, state universities and the mayor of Indianapolis.
But the Indiana legislature expanded sponsorship in 2011 to include 30 private colleges and universities Continue reading