Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Steven Permuth, Ed. D.

Co-Major Professor

Arthur Shapiro, Ph. D.

Committee Member

William S. Lang, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Howard Johnston, Ph. D.


Charter school, reform, school board, law, school choice, legislation, education, school board, vouchers


All states have different perspectives and various statutes within broader constitutional law. Perception of public dissatisfaction with public schools has led to choice schooling options for parents. One of the fastest growing choice options in schooling is charter schools; schools privately run by organizations through public funds. This study analyzes the governance of charter schools and how charters operate under legal guidelines and Florida statutes, with significant legislative events cited. This study answers the following questions as they relate to evolution and legal parameters surrounding the charter movement using exploratory case study method: 1) What is the evolution of the charter school movement in the United States and specifically in Florida, and the legal precedence that comes from this reform effort? 2) What are legal parameters regarding the charter school movement nationally? (e.g. constitutional law, statutory law, administrative law, common or court/case law, and contract law) and 3) What present legal structures and parameters affect Florida’s charter school movement? vi The significance of this study lies in the need to understand significant legal parameters surrounding the current charter school movement and how policies and law related to charter schools impact stakeholders. All of the findings together signify the important role legislators and the judicial powers execute in the ongoing realization of the charter school movement. The legal support of the charter school movement fosters an opportunity for the development of charter schools. With charter school implementation, several issues arise in the process of the charter school practice. The study shows the following themes impacting the charter school movement: regulations, accountability, Special Education, facility concerns, innovations, and employee and legislative issues. Charter schools provide a niche for certain parents desiring a different approach from the local public school. Charter schools provide a niche to parents seeking alternatives to traditional public school education. Charter schools will continue to exist and cater to parents desiring school choice options.