As of December 2014, there were over 6,500 charter schools serving over 2.5 million children across the United States. Out of the 6,700 charter schools that opened between 1994 and 2014, 1,036 of these schools, representing 15 percent, closed during this period.
Charter schools are public schools created through a legislative charter, which means they fall outside of the scope of municipal control. As such, charter schools are exempt from certain state and local regulations applicable to regular public school systems. While charter schools enjoy greater freedom over school and curriculum management, they are required to meet accountability standards to retain their charters.
California has issued the largest number of charters to schools, accounting for 471,000 students and 8 percent of total public school student enrollment within the state as of 2013. In comparison, charter schools over the United States accounted for 6.2 percent of public school student. The highest percentage of public school students in public schools was in Washington D.C., with 42 percent, though this represented only 31,600 students.
As of 2013, legislation approving charter schools had not been approved in Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. As of 2014, 14 of the states that permit school charters enacted tax credit-funded scholarships, which account for the tuition of over 190,000 students.