About Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools, and they’re open to any student who applies. In exchange for strict accountability to maintain high standards, charter schools are given freedom from many of the regulations that apply to other public schools, which allows for greater flexibility and innovation in the classroom.

The 2013 School Profiles will tell you about every charter school in Illinois, and the Find a Charter School page can show you exactly where each school is. INCS What You Should Know document serves as a background of basic information about Illinois' charter public schools. Click here to download an electronic copy of this brochure. 

Charter schools bring benefits to the entire public school system in a number of important ways.

Student Outcomes

  • Excellence: Charter schools are setting high standards for academic excellence, including strong results on the ISAT and PSAE tests and a high rate of student advancement to higher education.  Learn more about charter results.
  • More Learning Time: Charter schools offer longer academic years, longer school days, and often smaller classes. This means more time to learn and a more focused learning experience for students.
  • Flexibility: Charter schools have more freedom in setting curriculums and designing programs, allowing them to tailor lessons and activities to the individual needs of their students.

Parent and Community Empowerment

  • Options: Charter schools give parents and students more options within the public education system.
  • Access: Every student who applies to a charter school has the same chance of getting in.
  • Community Involvement: Charter schools directly involve parents, community members, teachers, and civic leaders who serve on their boards of directors.


  • Charter schools are directly accountable for high academic standards-to local school boards and the State of Illinois, as well as to parents and the public at large.


  • Charter schools’ autonomy allows them to test innovative practices that can then be put to work to benefit the entire educational system.