Summer 1997 Home   Newsletters

Fall 1997


President's Message (Jean Aoki)
Tom Grey of NCALG Coming to Hawaii
Education Committee Report
Web Page
State Board Actions
League Local News - Hawaii County
League Local News - Honolulu
League Local News - Kauai
National Domestic Violence Conference (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Cindy Spencer Receives Unsung Hero Award '97
National Convention
Reflections on Hawaii (Mary Anne Raywid)
Making Democracy Work Campaign Finance Reform (Toni Worst)
New York State Con Con Vote
Thank You!
Meet Your Board
Charter Schools (insert)
Hawaii's Bill of Rights (insert) (Ann Feder Lee)

Charter Schools

Self-Government for Public Schools in Hawaii

What is a Charter School?

A Charter school is a public school that has been granted a charter to operate independently in matters of budget, curriculum and staff. It is responsible to one of the public agencies authorized in legislation to establish charter schools.

A Charter School:

  • is a school of choice for students, parents, teachers, staff.

  • is governed by an elected Board of Directors.

  • selects and manages its own staff and organization.

  • receives public money for each student in the school, and manages its own budget.

  • designs its own curriculum to fit its students' needs.

  • contracts independently for goods and services.

  • has a performance contract for three to five years.

  • meets educational standards or loses its contract for non-performance.

A Charter School must be organized and operated by some state-approved agency: the University, perhaps, or a community group, or a group of teachers, parents or community members.

There is more than one charter-granting agency, so prospective charter schools could approach the Board of Education - or, perhaps, e.g. the county government, or possibly a special charter school commission - to obtain a charter. There is more than just one authorizing body.

There are now 700 charter schools operating
in 26 states, and their number is growing.
Hawai'i should be part of this

 Benefits of a Charter School

A Charter School has the enormous advantage of controlling the decisions critical to the success of its educational program. Good enabling legislation bestows on each charter school the following


It has an identity that makes it distinct, a recognition of something "special"

As a school of choice for everyone enrolled, it builds a sense of ownership, responsibility for results.

It preserves "common school" ideals: it cannot discriminate, charge tuition, or use prerequisites for school admission.

It is free of the bureaucratic rules and regulations that constrain traditional schools.

It has discretion over what is taught, how it is taught, and who it teaches it.

It encourages teachers to collaborate and innovate in meeting student interests.

It involves parents and community in school activities.

It operates with high expectations for faculty, students and staff.

Important to note:

A Charter School may be either a completely new school organized outside the school system, or it may be an already established school that chooses to become a Charter School.

Hawai'i needs to pass legislation that clearly authorizes and defines the authority for Charter Schools - if they are to exist and succeed. The autonomy to define themselves and control their own operations is critical to the success of Charter Schools.


Join the League of Women Voters Education
Project The Revitalization of Public Education

For further information:

Call the League


The Education Project

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