Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools governed by parents, teachers, and administrators rather than the school district. There are about 40 charter schools, right here in the 510.
Charter schools are open to all students, unlimited by geography. That is, Oakland charter schools are open to Berkeley residents and vice-versa. When there are more applicants than spaces available, a lottery system will be used to grant admission.
The California Charter Schools Association website reads
Charters have more flexibility than conventional public schools in exchange for being held to additional standards to make sure they are meeting their student goals. It is for those reasons that public charter schools are part of the solution to a better education system; they offer an alternative to the monopoly that is leaving so many students behind.
Parents and educators can start their own charter school to fill a need they believe is unmet. The process involves drafting a petition, a budget, managing a facility, and hiring personnel. Teachers must be credentialed and accountability is overseen by parents, authorizers, and the state.
East Bay charter schools range in focus from the Yu Ming Mandarin immersion school on Alcatraz and San Pablo to the design thinking-focused REALM charter school in Central Berkeley. To see a complete list of charter schools in the East Bay, visit the California Charter Schools Association online.
This is a (non-interactive) map of charter school locations in our area.