A charter is a legal document establishing an organization, whether a corporation or a non-profit group. It can also refer to an organized trip by a group of people. A charter can also be a lease agreement for a service or an object. In addition, a charter is the basis for an organization’s legal framework, establishing its purposes and guiding principles.

The federal and state governments fund charter schools with money based on their enrollment, but do not provide facilities. A study by the University of Arkansas shows that charter schools in 30 states receive about $3,814 per student less than traditional public schools. That is a 28% difference, and has been growing since 2003. This disparity has fueled criticism of the charter movement.

While neighborhood public schools are governed by a school board and school district, charter schools are run by independent groups. As a result, students are not assigned to a school based on where they live. Parents must enter a lottery to get a seat at a charter school. As a result, charter schools have greater autonomy than traditional public schools.

Private donations are one way for charter schools to raise additional funding. Charitable foundations and wealthy individuals are among the biggest supporters of charter schools. Philanthropy has been a driving force behind the expansion of charter schools in low-income neighborhoods, urban areas, and college-prep models. Some of the country’s wealthiest individuals, such as Sam Walton, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Reed Hastings, have invested heavily in charter schools.

While the benefits of Charter schools are undeniable, there are still concerns about their effectiveness. While some students have reported better performance than their counterparts in traditional public schools, charter schools have consistently been accused of discrimination. Charter supporters argue that charter schools can be an effective educational choice for children who are ready to work hard. Some critics say the charter model takes away the focus from improving public schools.

Although many teachers’ unions support the idea of charter schools as a way to improve education, they are skeptical of their effectiveness in practice. Opponents say they lack academic quality, are not accountable to state standards, and exclude students of color and low-income families. However, some charter schools have been proven to be effective for helping students of color, and low-income families.

A recent study from Stanford University showed that students attending charter schools learned better than their peers in traditional public schools. This effect was most noticeable for students of color and those living in poverty. The study also found that white and Asian students learned less in charter schools than they did in traditional public schools. Charter schools are becoming the norm in many communities.

As charter schools operate independently from school districts, they enjoy greater flexibility and accountability. In Missouri, charter schools are governed by independent boards of directors and are non-profit organizations. A charter is a legally binding contract between a nonprofit entity and an allowable sponsor that outlines the goals of the school. The charter is valid for a certain period of time and can be terminated if the school does not meet its requirements.