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Charter Schools Vs. Public Schools: Which Is Better?

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2017

WORD 2Charter schools turn 26 in a few months this year. The innovative ‘new’ school system has become an increasingly popular choice for American parents with more than 2 million enrollments recorded each year. Despite this, a lot of parents are confused on which option is better for their ward, traditional public schools or charter schools.

To attempt to answer this question, there must be a fundamental understanding of how charter schools and public schools differ. While many know that charter schools are a sort of public funded private schools, there are still many differences in curriculum, governance, accreditation and more that many do not know.

Differences between Public and Charter Schools

1.) Public schools are created and run by school districts. Each school district can form any number of public schools. To govern the school district, a school board is formed. The school board takes the final decisions on what policies are implemented and how the schools operate day to day. Charter schools, however, can be created and run by almost any individual or group of individuals who contract with the government.

2.) Public schools have a wide reach for funding including state taxes, federal grants, local property taxes, fund allocations and municipal bonds. Charter schools, however, have very limited sources of funding. Their main funds come from local taxes or municipal bonds. Any other funds will have to come from awards, donations, and grants.

3.) Public schools receive accreditation from the state board of education. The state also sets Their curriculum and standard with mandates on what educational materials to use, restrictions on what will be taught, and certain prohibitions.

4.) Charter schools, on the other hand, receive accreditation from a private body. Although they have to maintain the same academic standards of public schools, their curriculum is less rigid. Most charter schools have a particular focus in one aspect of education be it music, art, or science. Some highlight a specific approach to learning, and as a result adopt wide alternative curriculums, and teaching practices.

4.) Public schools are open to everyone living in the locale. Charter schools are also open to everyone, but because they mostly cannot handle a large capacity, so lotteries are used to pick spots for kids. Charter schools can also target a particular demographic in a way public schools can’t. This can range from low-income families to minorities.

Which is better?

Both school types have their strengths and weaknesses. Charter schools are more flexible in learning, are usually a tightly knit community, and can be perfect for kids who want to specialize in a particular discipline. They can, however, be disorganized, shut down unexpectedly, and underperform. Public schools are more structured and stable but can be rigid with a learning approach that doesn’t suit most kids.

At the end of the day, the question of which is better does not have a general answer. Some states have excellent school districts that outperform charter schools. But other places have very successful charter schools that do better than their public counterparts.


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