The Associated Press
Friday October 13, 2000

What: Charter schools are public schools created by parents, teachers and/or community members that operate free of much of the 7,000-page state Education Code.  

They have independence in staffing, curriculum design or budget. The charter, outlining how they will operate, must be approved by a local district, county office of education or the state Board of Education. 

How many: The state Board of Education has given numbers to 335 since 1993, all chartered by local districts or county offices of education. There are also 11 schools in four small all-charter districts. Twenty-three schools’ charters have been withdrawn, revoked or are inactive. Approximately 287 of the authorized charter schools are operating in 2000-2001 with more than 125,000 students. 

Content: Some schools have a rather traditional curriculum, while others emphasize a wide range of methods or subjects such as basics, multi-age classrooms, bilingual or immersion languages, Waldorf, Montessori, arts, science or home schooling.