All this week, CBC Calgary is looking at pressures facing the public education system.

Alberta is the only Canadian province to have charter schools and the wait lists for many of the schools are extremely long.

Here are eight things to know about Calgary's charter schools.

1. Alberta's charter schools are not-for-profit. They receive the same public funding per student as public schools and do not charge tuition.

2. Alberta is the only province to allow charter schools.

3. They were started in the 1990s under the leadership of Premier Ralph Klein to provide innovative or enhanced education programs.

4. Alberta charter school enrolment 2012-13: 16,896.

5. There are six charter schools in Calgary: 

  • Calgary Science School:  Inquiry based learning
  • Foundations for the Future: Academics and leadership
  • Calgary Girls' School: Girls only
  • Calgary Arts Academy: Arts based education
  • Westmount Charter School: Gifted students
  • Almadina Charter School: English language learners.

6. All of Calgary's Charter Schools have wait lists. Foundations for the Future has 8,000 kids on its wait list, Calgary Science School has 1,550.

7.  Alberta's charter schools currently have a cap on enrolment.

8. Teachers at charter schools are not part of the Alberta Teachers' Association and are not unionized. That means they are eligible for performance bonuses, but can also lose their jobs more easily.