The Alabama state legislature is speedily heading toward approval of legislation that would allow Charter Schools in the state. The House committee has already tweaked the bill, even though the overall plan is unchanged.

What are charter schools? Simply put, a charter school is a non-religious public school operating under a contract, or "charter" that regulates it operation. All details of school operation, its name, organization, management and curriculum, are set by the charter, which in addition would outline how the school would measure student accountability. The charter schools will be publicly funded, they must have open enrollment policies, may not charge tuition, and must  participate in federal and state accountability processes.

The main differences between charter schools and the traditional public school is in the way that they are regulated. The charter school would actually have autonomy from state and local rules in the selection of personnel, budget management, and curriculum selections.

It may very well be much too early to draw any conclusions about the charter school and its ability to increase student achievement.