The Charter School Difference

  • Charter schools have been around in Texas since 1995. While the structure and accountability for schools has evolved over the years, high performing charter networks like Uplift Education have risen to the top of the education landscape. Every year, more and more families in Texas are choosing a public charter school for their child’s public education.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is a charter school a public school?

    YES! Charter schools are schools that are publicly funded but operated by independent groups. (The name comes from the contract, or "charter," that a group gets to operate a school.)

    Do charter schools have selective enrollment?

    NO! Families fill out an application for their child to attend, and schools have a lottery draw to fill available spaces each year. Charter schools are open to all students.

    Do charter schools have the same accountability as public ISDs?

    YES! While charter schools have more flexibility on how they set curriculum, school hours, and generally how the educational experience looks, state tests are still administered and schools are rated using the same process as public schools. Public charter schools in Texas are held to even higher and stricter levels of accountability than traditional ISDs.

    Does it cost anything to attend a charter school?

    NO! Since charters are public schools, they are tuition-free.

    Do charter schools receive the same amount of state funding as public ISDs?

    NO! Charter schools to not receive local funding, which means that public charter schools receive only 85% of total per-pupil funding that traditional ISDs receive. Many charters, Uplift included, rely on fundraising and philanthropic efforts to bridge the funding gap.

    Do public charter schools cater to students from high income areas?

    NO! Traditionally charter schools enroll students from underserved, low income areas at a higher rate than traditional ISDs. 75% of Uplift's population are on free/reduced lunch.

    Do charter schools offer services for children with special needs?

    YES! Public charter schools are prohibited from excluding students on the basis of disability, and all state and federal laws regarding special education programs apply to open enrollment charter schools, just as they do at traditional ISDs.

Teacher with students
Photo of Uplift Triumph Elementary