Are charter schools public schools?
Yes, Tennessee’s charter schools are public schools. In fact, Tennessee law states that public charter schools are part of the state public education system and receive public funding through the Basic Education Program. Charter schools are opened after reaching an agreement with the local school district. Test scores and performance results from charter school students count toward the results of the school district they are a part of.
Are there special requirements for enrolling students in a charter school?
No. Like any other public school, charter schools provide learning opportunities for students of all abilities, and achieve strong results with their full student populations, among them special needs, gifted, and English Language Learners. Tennessee charter schools are not allowed to recruit students based on ability or performance, nor are they allowed to turn away students for any reason.
Do charter schools provide transportation for students to and from school?
This will vary from school to school. Charter schools are required to notify parents about transportation options available for their student. If a charter school chooses to provide student transportation through the local school district, an agreement shall be made with the local education agency to do so. If charter schools identify a more cost effective means of transportation outside of the local education agency, the charter school receives funding that would have been spent with the local education agency to put towards that method. If the charter school does not provide transportation, they do not receive funds from the local education agency that would have gone towards transporting their students.
Are teachers at charter schools certified?
Absolutely! Teachers at charter schools must be certified under the same qualifications as traditional public school teachers. They must meet the same qualifications and standards as outlined in state law (T.C.A. § 49-5-part 1) and must be licensed to teach in the public school system in compliance with the rules and regulations of the state board of education. Teachers are not assigned to charter schools. Because choice is a founding principle for charter schools, school leaders are able to recruit and hire their own staffs, and teachers are able to decide if they want to work in a charter school.