Public school is a school that is maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district and that constitutes a part of a system of free public education commonly including primary (grades 1-6) and secondary schools (9-12 grade). They do not charge tuition, but many school districts now have nominal fees for school supplies, field trips and special programs.
Public schools educate nearly 50 million children per year.
Another type of public school is the charter school. It is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment.
Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They operate with freedom from some of the regulations that are imposed upon district schools. Charter schools are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charters. They must demonstrate performance in the areas of academic achievement, financial management, and organizational stability. If a charter school does not meet performance goals, it may be closed.