Internship: Tracking Charter School Rejections

Charter Schools offer a valuable alternative to conventional public education, but there are not enough spaces in charter schools to serve all interested students


The purpose of this internship was to inform debate about the state of access to charter school education in Canada. At the time of the study, Alberta was the only Canadian province that permitted the establishment of Charter Schools – publicly funded schools that offer students an alternative learning environment which is structured around specific goals and outcomes determined by the charter granting organization. The study examined the requirements and processes of applying to a charter school. Students who were rejected from the schools were interviewed to ascertain where they went after the rejection and how they estimated their schooling was going. Key interviews with personnel involved in the application process were conducted in order to determine schools’ reasons for rejecting students. This research was applied to further analyses about charter school applications and the difficulty of establishing charter schools to serve interested populations.

Grant Outputs

School Choice: Under Open Enrollment –

This report highlights the impact of legislation enacted in 2002 that made school district boundaries more permeable. The intention of the legislation is to respond to parents’ demand for more control over their children’s education. The report finds that schools and districts responded to the legislation in a variety of ways, some favouring the outcomes inherent in a competitive, choice-based climate, while others followed the letter of the new legislation while still establishing barriers, making it more difficult for students to transfer out of their neighbourhood school. The report also identifies that from 1999-2004, 74 applications for new schools or programs were proposed, usually driven by parents with support from school districts. It concludes that based on the evidence collected, the prospects for public school choice under the new legislation are mixed.

Grant Details

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