About Charter Public Schools
Every student in Washington State deserves a public education that puts them on a path to a successful future, but one size does not fit all, and many students do not get the opportunities they deserve.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Traditional public schools are working for many, but not all students. Families need free, public options that fit unique needs and learning styles.
More Flexibility, Strong Accountability
Charter public schools have more flexibility than traditional public schools to be nimble, adaptive, and take creative approaches. In exchange, they must meet a high bar for demonstrating student success and school quality.
Identity-Affirming, Community-Rooted Public School Options
Washington’s charter public schools attract and serve higher rates of Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color, and are staffed by BIPOC teachers at 3x the rate as compared to traditional public schools statewide.
Who are Washington’s charter public schools attracting and serving?
Student & Teacher Demographics
Noteworthy Gains for Underserved Students
- For the second year in a row, Black, Latinx, and low-income students in charter public schools performed higher than their traditional public school peers in all three tested subjects: English, Math, and Science.
- More students with disabilities and multilingual language learners in charter schools met proficiency standards in math, ELA, and science compared to their peers across the state.
Significant Margins of Outperformance
Black and Latinx students in charter public schools are three times (40% vs. 13%) and twice (38% vs. 19%) as likely, respectively, to meet math proficiency standards compared to their peers in district schools.
Frontrunners in Learning Recovery
Charter public school students are steadily making year-over-year improvements in math and ELA, nearing pre-COVID levels of achievement faster than the statewide and national average. There has been a 6% increase in overall ELA proficiency and a significant 15% surge in math proficiency from the 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 academic years.
Charter public schools have the flexibility to meet the needs of their students while still being held to Washington State’s high standards. They must:
- Comply with most of the same accountability, oversight, and transparency laws applicable to traditional public schools
- Be approved through a rigorous application process to assure the highest-quality schools
Be overseen by a local school board or a state commission
- Demonstrate success and high-performance
Be reauthorized after five years and can be closed for poor performance.
- Submit to the most important and direct form of local control – keeping parents and students satisfied.
How this charter public school meets the needs of its families and student
“I advocate for every child to have an opportunity. One box does not fit all, every child should be able to learn to the best of their abilities in their own personal style. Every one of my kids is different, they all learn differently. Somehow or other, PRIDE has managed to tap into how each of those kids learn and they are successful at getting them to learn.”
Janice, Parent, PRIDE Schools
"At my charter public school, the teachers and support staff have been willing to find workarounds to accommodate the challenges my family has experienced and make sure that my scholar is supported and able to learn. Parents like me can easily connect with teachers and faculty to create a support team for issues that may arise and find a solution together that will help support each kid individually."
Parent, Catalyst Public Schools
“It is so important that students see teachers that look like them, it's empowering. I just hope I’m making an impact on them that is powerful and long lasting.”
Ms. Jones, Dean of Academics, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy