There is currently a bill in debate in our state's capitol about whether or not 10 lucky schools (or districts?) in Kansas can become "innovative." Basically meaning that they are exempt from the same rules, regulations, etc. that all other state public schools are responsible for. It gives these chosen schools a little more freedom, a little more flexibility to decide what is best for their school versus a mandated version.
I teach at a charter school, which in TONS of ways is very innovative. School barn, farm animals, chore boots lining the hallways....things are different. But there are many challenges as well. We are part of a larger district; four other elementary schools, two middle schools and a large high school. Our district still expects (for the most part) us to be in line with the other schools. We still have many district requirements, assessments, meetings, etc. that we are responsible for. A lot of times there are misconceptions about what we are and are not. We are still very much responsible for all state standards, we just teach them in a different way. We integrate as much as possible. We do not get paid more (although rumor has it we do). We do work hard (weekends are a must, animals must be fed, integration takes work, etc. etc. etc.). We truly do want what is best for our students. The path we chose was not an easy path. Curriculum had to be created....by us. We couldn't purchase textbooks to go along with our new charter. Roadblocks were often in our way...and often still are.
Flexibility and freedom to be different would be a very freeing experience. We are different and different is difficult when your school is still expected to be the same.