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Charter school

A charter school is a term for a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established public school system in which it is located, and in some cases are privately owned. Charter schools are an example of alternative education and public asset privatization.

All Australian private schools receive some federal government funding. They are technically all "charter" schools (though the term is not used in Australia). Since 2010, the government has trialled an initiative in Western Australia called the Independent Public School (IPS) Initiative. There have been mixed reviews of this system, some of which have been politically fueled. However, the national government has shown interest in rolling out the IPS initiative nationwide.

The Canadian province of Alberta enacted legislation in 1994 enabling charter schools. The first charter schools under the new legislation were established in 1995: New Horizons Charter School, Suzuki Charter School, and the Centre for Academic and Personal Excellence.

Alberta charter schools have much in common with their U.S. counterparts. As of 2010 there were 22 charter schools in the province, operated by 13 charter school authorities, compared with over 50 school boards, with the largest one alone having over 200 schools. The idea of charter schools initially sparked great debate and is still controversial, but has had limited impact. As of 2010, Alberta remains the only Canadian province that has enabled charter schools.

Chile has a long history of private subsidized schooling, akin to charter schooling in the United States. Before the 1980s, most private subsidized schools were religious and owned by churches or other private parties, but they received support from the central government. In the 1980s, the dictatorial government of Augusto Pinochet promoted neoliberal reforms in the country. In 1981 a competitive voucher system in education was adopted. These vouchers could be used in public schools or private subsidized schools (which can be run for profit). After this reform, the share of private subsidized schools, many of them secular, grew from 18.5% of schools in 1980 to 32.7% of schools in 2001. As of 2012, nearly 60% of Chilean students study in charter schools.

See also Education by country


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