Charter schools are public schools that students can choose to attend, regardless of where they live in the city. Each school has a charter, or performance contract, detailing its program, goals and methods of assessment. For example, charter schools may follow a particular approach to instruction, focus on an instructional theme or serve particular populations.
Charter schools have increased autonomy in decision making in many areas. And, in return, they are accountable to several groups for both academic results and financial and management practices: the authorizer that grants the charter, the parents who choose to send their children to the school and the public that funds them. Charter schools are also governed by Maryland Charter Law.
Charter schools are open to all students, with no admission testing or screening — but when more students would like to attend the school than the school has room to serve, a charter school holds an admission lottery.