Understanding the Explosive Growth of Charter Schools

More than two million students now attend charter schools, and they continue to enroll at a brisk pace. While charter schools haven't been the panacea some hoped for, they have offered many exciting and enticing changes in public education. Here are five major reasons behind their explosive growth.

Find available tutors

charter schools education reform

1. Focus on Quality

When charter schools first started to grow, many schools seemingly sprung up overnight. In recent years, though, states have developed regulations intended to support quality over quantity. For example, Florida gives each charter school a performance grade. Schools with higher grades can more easily expand. This pushes charter schools to focus on student performance, not just enrollment and revenue.

2. Better Funding

Public school funding has been slashed in recent years. As states struggle with unbalanced budgets, their school systems are not immune to significant cuts. These financial constraints hurt charter schools, too. Yet charter schools benefit from a few perks that their public school peers lack.

First, the federal government incentivizes charter schools with special funding, including $25 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education that were announced last fall. Second, many private foundations and businesses provide direct financial support to charter schools, thereby diversifying their revenue sources. Also, charter schools are often exempt from some of the regulations that burden school budgets; for example, they're not always bound by policies related to teachers' unions that impact staff payroll.

3. Choice in Schools

Many parents are intrigued by the choices charter schools offer. While all the traditional public schools in a town may seem frustratingly similar, charter schools are often created with unique missions or approaches to education. Even in places where the charter schools are simply newer versions of the local public schools, they still offer choices where choices may not have existed before.

In many ways, charter schools offer families the same appeal as private schools, which likewise can have themes and cultural foci. But unlike private schools, charter schools are tuition-free. Furthermore, while they may have waiting lists or lottery admissions procedures, they are open to all students; there are no interviews or admissions exams to pass.

4. Creative Education

Beyond offering choice, charter schools have the freedom to get creative with education. Charter schools may have particular themes, such as performing arts, foreign language instruction or experiential learning. Parents can choose to send their children to schools that match their interests or provide opportunities to directly prepare them for college. There are also charter schools focused on exploring new and innovative educational theories.

5. Racing to the Top

A key factor in the growth of charter schools is their role at the center of education reform in the United States. In many areas, charter schools are viewed as the best outlet for change and innovation. Therefore, much of the attention on schools goes to charters.

An example of this focus is Race to the Top, the $4.35 billion competition organized by the U.S. Department of Education. In order to earn the extra money for education, states must meet a variety of criteria, including promoting the growth and success of charter schools. This federal focus has made charter schools a priority in many states and furthered their rise.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Should IT Matter How Your Child's Teacher Dresses?

    Dress codes have long been a staple in many schools across the country. In some cases, students and even parents have opposed them. But what about dress codes for teachers? When it comes to this issue, just where do most people stand? And should a teacher's clothing even be of concern to parents?

  • More Blog Articles
    How Can You Know if College Is Right for Your Child?

    A prevailing school of thought is that most people need college in order to be successful. But this certainly may not always be the case. Quite simply, not everyone is college material. If your teen will soon be graduating from high school, you may need to contemplate whether college is right for your child.

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth