Progressive Charter Schools

ERN | Progressive Charter Schools Series 

Charter schools are public schools that have more decision-making authority than do most traditional public schools. The chartering process begins when a group of people (e.g., educators, parents, teachers, or community leaders) writes a plan for the proposed school. A public authorizing entity, set up by state law, approves or disapproves the plan. Charter schools must serve all students; are barred from discriminating based on race, family income, or other factors; and are prohibited from charging tuition.

This structure provides unique opportunities for community members to create schools and instructional approaches around specific themes or missions, opportunities that typically are not available to them under traditional school governance structures.  Many local leaders have availed themselves of the charter authorizing process to found schools dedicated to community action, social justice, and empowerment of the disenfranchised. This series highlights those schools.

  1. Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School. This school, located in Holyoke, Massachusetts, is named after Paulo Freire (1921-1997), a Brazilian philosopher and educator best-known for authoring the book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”
  2. Uncommon Schools Excellence Girls Charter School. This school, located in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, is an all-girls school with the mission of teaching girls the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond by providing a rigorous education, self-discipline, and character empowerment.