Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom


Topics Charter Schools

A Guide to Charter Schools in Indiana


Charter schools are public schools that aren’t a part of the geographic district in which they are located. The first charter schools appeared in Minnesota in 1991. They were originally envisioned as supplementary to traditional public schools, with districts maintaining a degree of oversight.

The term “charter school model” now serves as a blanket term for schools which offer a range of differing academic programming. Some charter schools were founded to service specific student communities, such as children with dyslexia. Others were created by private companies to promote a particular model of education or instruction. In some cases, charters are run as magnet schools by universities and colleges. Still others are formed by non-profit organizations.

That model has changed drastically over the years. Many advocacy groups now position charter schools as competitors — rather than collaborators — with traditional public schools.  Along with school vouchers, experts often discuss charter schools as part of a broader “market-based reform” movement.

Despite their differences, charter schools do share other common features: They cannot charge tuition or turn away any student for any reason. They are funded on a per pupil basis. They are not obligated to provide a variety of services required of traditional public schools, such as bussing, food and school age care. If their enrollment exceeds their capacity, then the school must hold a random lottery.

Currently only about half of Hoosiers live in a county with at least one charter school. The movement centers on Indiana’s major metropolitan centers in Indianapolis and Gary-East Chicago. Some Indiana towns are 70 miles or more from the nearest charter school.

Latest Posts

Could Proposed Adult Education Center Use Dropped Ball State Charter's Building?

Parents pack into a large common room in the back of Charter School of the Dunes on a recent Thursday night.  They’re here to watch student presentations — but the charter situation is clearly on everyone’s minds.

Leaders of a proposed drop out recovery center still need to find a site for the charter school in Richmond, reports Rachel E. Sheeley for the Palladium-Item: Excel Centers are public high schools that provide free transportation, day care and assign life coaches to adult students, who previously dropped out of high school, in an […]

From School Prayer To Regional Campuses, Four Indiana Ed Bills To Watch

We got our first look Thursday at more than 150 of the proposals members of the Indiana Senate plan to bring up when the General Assembly officially kicks off its session next week. Not all of them will make it out of committee, but a few of the education proposals are worth highlighting on their […]

Why We Might See More Charter Schools Close In 2013

A parent holds up a sign during a rally to support The Project School. As they marched from a nearby park to the school, they chanted, 'Mayor Ballard, we've got the power. If you can't hear us, we'll shout louder.'

A Stanford University report released earlier this month found students in Indiana’s charter schools outperformed their peers in public school. But some of the schools authorized by Ball State lagged behind those with other sponsors.

Why A Connecticut School District Won't Be The Last To Team Up With A Charter

A Carpe Diem student logs into a computer in the school's "learning center," where each student has his or her own workstation.

We’ve written about Indiana school corporations using outdoor advertising to market themselves and the bitter battle over students at four state takeover schools in Indianapolis. In a state where funding follows the student, corporations compete with charters, private schools and even other districts for enrollment. So it’s hard to imagine a school district sending its top […]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »