Custom Tailored: Trends in Charter School Educational Programs

May 2009

This research brief analyzes detailed descriptions of charter school educational programs to better understand how these schools tailor their programs to meet their students' needs. The research analyzes charter school applications to examine five components of a school's educational program:

1) The school's target population;
2) The curriculum used;
3) How that curriculum is delivered;
4) How teachers and students are organized within schools; and
5) What types of support services are offered to help students.

The authors conclude that charter schools pick and choose from a wide menu of possibilities and select the features that they think best match their students' needs. While charters are tailoring their programs to student need, they do not appear to be developing completely new approaches to educating students.