What to know about charter high schools

ByKelly Mae Ross

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Parents researching high schools for their children might come across a charter school as one of their options, as Gustavo Gonzalez did when looking into schools for his daughter Katia.

Katia is now a tenth-grader at KIPP San Jose Collegiate, a California charter school, which Gonzalez says he chose for several reasons, including its smaller class sizes.

“Going to a large, comprehensive high school wouldn’t have worked for her because of who she is and her personality,” he says.

But what is a charter high school?

There are about 7,000 charter schools in the U.S. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, charter schools made up around 7 percent of all public schools in 2015-2016, and around 35 percent of charter schools served students in grades 9-12.

Charters have more freedom than traditional public high schools to do things differently – they are exempt from some or most state and local regulations that affect public schools. The idea is that this autonomy will allow for more innovation in education, experts say.