Charter Schools: Authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Education Reform Act of 1993, charter schools are independent public schools that operate under five year charters granted by the Commonwealth's Board of Education.
The increased freedom available to charter schools coupled with increased accountability, infuses all aspects of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's oversight of charter schools, beginning with the rigorous application process that groups must go through to receive a charter. Once the Board of Education has awarded a charter, the new charter school has the freedom to organize around a core mission, curriculum, theme, or teaching method. It is allowed to control its own budget and hire (and fire) teachers and staff. In return for this freedom, a charter school must demonstrate good results within five years or risk losing its charter.