Charter School FAQs

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are free public schools that are open to all New York City children. Charter schools operate independently, according to the terms of a performance contract or “charter.” Though public, they are not run by the NYC Department of Education. Charter schools commit to meeting specific academic goals, set by New York State, then make their own decisions about how to achieve them. If the goals are not met, the charter may be revoked and the school shut down. The combination of freedom and accountability for succeeding allows charter schools to respond to community needs, try new approaches, and put student learning first.

How are charter schools different from NYC public schools?

Because they are independent from the district system, charter schools have greater flexibility in the way they operate. Charter schools are free to develop their own academic program, choose staff, set educational goals, offer a longer school day and school year, and establish their own standards for student behavior. Charter schools are required to raise student achievement. If they do not meet their performance goals, they can be closed.

What are the benefits of enrolling my child in a charter school?

Charter schools provide an alternative to traditional district schools. Charter schools allow parents the opportunity to choose a school based upon what they think will work best for their child.

Are charter schools successful?

New York City’s charter schools have a good record of achievement overall. To read more about Coney Island Prep’s results, please go to our results page, which can be found here.

What types of students attend charter schools?

There are approximately 70,000 students who attend New York City’s charter schools. Students come from all backgrounds and income levels.

Do charter schools charge tuition?

No. They are free public schools.

What is expected of charter school students?

As each charter school is independently run, expectations differ from school to school. Most charter schools are committed to providing their students with structured and safe environments where they can focus on learning. Many charter schools require their students to commit to a set core of values centered on respect, hard work and achievement. To read more about Coney Island Prep’s core values, please go to this page.

Do charter schools serve English Language Learners or students with IEPs/special needs?

Definitely! All students are welcome.