A charter school is a privately controlled institution. As a parent or guardian, one of the most difficult choices that you make is your kid’s school. Many factors are considered when choosing a school. Factors include school reputation, achievements, school location, curriculum, accessibility, and, most of all if there is a tuition fee to be paid and how much it will be. Sending a kid to school can be expensive, from clothes or uniforms to school materials, projects, bags, shoes, daily allowance, and transportation.
No matter what happens, these expenses will always come second to your children’s best interests. If given a choice and a way to enroll your child in a private school, it is highly unlikely that you won’t. Although not everyone can get a chance to make that choice, giving your child excellent quality education is still possible without hurting your finances.
Between 2016 and 2017, the estimated number of charter schools in the US has reached 6, 900, with around 3.1 million students. The first charter school founded in 1992 in Saint Paul, MN, had given the education system and parents the hope for a better education that is realistically affordable. Twenty-eight years later, one would expect that charter school is well-known and is part of an educated choice of every parent, but that is not the case.
After almost three decades, there are still a lot of parents and families that have a misconception about charter schools. A common misconception is that charter schools are religion-based schools, or that parents are the ones paying the tuition, and that charter schools are private schools. These misconceptions only show that there are still several things about charter schools that are not known to the public because charter schools are not part of any political discussions and are left unexplored and unexplained.
What is a Charter School?
At the same time, their funding comes from the government, which means and students do not need to pay tuition fees. Charter schools are not under the regulation of the school district and have autonomy over some rules imposed by the school district under a given condition – they will be held responsible for the school’s success and their students as what was pledged by the charter.
Think of a private school with a maybe lesser facility ad grandeur, but free access to quality education like public school. Imagine the best qualities of the two worlds placed into one entity. This exceptional provider of learning is fully accountable for the knowledge and success of each student. Still, they also receive lower funding because they receive funding on a per-pupil basis.
Let’s start with Charter School’s history.
Like any other great thing, it also started with an idea during the 1970s with a particular goal in mind: to empower educators to provide better education. By the 1980s, schools began to carry out the trial, and they started to create charters within their school. When the tests gave positive results, the state of Minnesota began to launch its first Charter Program. The first-ever charter school was founded in 1992 in Saint Paul.
In the past twenty-eight years, not everything has gone smoothly for charter schools, especially since they weren’t exactly on the right terms with teacher unions. Since charter schools are independent in their preferred way of operation, being part of a union to air grievances is not common. The majority are not part of any union, which could help them with collective bargaining in terms of salary, time off work, etc.
Due to the continuing success of charter schools, little by little, one state after the other created their very own charter program. Right now, millions of students have and are still benefitting from charter schools.
Public School versus Charter School
When choosing a school for your kids, one question always comes to your head: “What’s the difference? What’s the edge of one school over the other?”. Weighing your pros and cons will help you reach a decision. Public schools and charter schools are both funded by the government. Therefore both can not discriminate against students because of their race, religion, age, and the entrance exam is not a requirement to get admitted to the school.
Charter schools have the option to accept teachers that are not certified by the board of education. They have a flexible curriculum that aligns with the needs of their students to maximize learning and bears the responsibility for the school’s performance and students based on the contract or charter guideline. Public schools, on the other hand, strictly follow all state regulations and are ruled by the board of education of their respective state. The Board of Education provides the curriculum of public schools and is overseen by the school district for implementation.
Public school students are not required to wear a school uniform, while most, if not all, charter schools are like private schools that have school uniforms and blazers that are required to be worn by their students.
What is the purpose of Charter Schools?
Charter schools exist to help parents get the education that they want for their children without paying extra tuition fees. Charter schools also give students the option to learn thru alternative methods and hands-on experience; thus, maximizing the full potential of kids learning at school while having fun. They also have a specialized curriculum to help students find their career interests and develop their potential to be ahead of the competition as they go to college.
What is the advantage of Charter Schools?
Like any other school, charter schools like American Preparatory Schools have one goal, to educate and provide a competitive future for every student. Moreover, since charter schools have some freedom from some of the regulations set by the board of education, they can adjust, reshape and make their curriculum fit what they think is the best way for students to learn. They can adopt specific methods of teaching from a private school, an international school, or a public school if it helps build bridges to a better future. The good thing about it is that it is free education at a much higher standard.
Charter schools also have the option to specialize in a specific field of studies like science and technology, which can help students to create a strong portfolio for their college applications. As early as middle school, students can start specializing in their chosen field and have advance and continuous learning.
Choosing the right school will always be part of what a parent will want for their child. The school’s choices in the area can even be a deal-breaker when buying a new home. Regardless if it is a public, private, or charter school, your child’s advantage will be the first thing you look at and then the resources to sustain the needs as they go to that school. Charter schools offer both, and American Preparatory Schools is one of the best and most successful charter schools in the country. It molds students not just academically but also socially.
Remember that no matter how right the school is in teaching your child the lessons taught at school, you should still reinforce them at home. Your child’s success does not only take credit on the school or the teacher but also from you as a parent.