The Oklahoma Charter Schools Act was enacted to encourage the creation of public charter schools with the purpose of improving student learning, increasing learning opportunities for students, encouraging the use of different and innovative teaching methods, providing academic choices for families, to require and create innovative measurements of learning, establish new forms of student accountability, and create new professional development opportunities for teachers. Charter schools are public schools established to allow greater flexibility in exchange for greater accountability. They operate under a performance contract, specifically a charter contract, with the authorization or sponsorship of a qualified public entity. While freed from some of the regulations created for traditional public schools, charter schools are held accountable for the operational, financial, and academic responsibilities of all Oklahoma public schools.
Virtual charter schools are Oklahoma public schools where the primary means of instruction is through online delivery and communication. To become a statewide virtual charter school in Oklahoma, the school must be authorized or (sponsored) by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, created through enabling legislation passed in 2012.