Choosing the right school for your kids is a big deal for parents. Schools do more than just impart knowledge. They equip children to deal with the real world. A place they can learn about themselves and how to interact with others.
Charter schools are on the rise in the US, offering another option for parents to consider. If you’re thinking about sending your child to a charter school, it’s important to understand what they are. What are the benefits? What are the potential cons?
Let’s dive in and explore charter schools in more detail.
What Is a Charter School?
Charter schools are independently operated public schools. All charter schools have a contract with a charter school authorizer. This is a body such as a non-profit organization, government agency, or college. The school sets a charter – what it sets out to achieve. The agency makes sure that it fulfills its charter.
Charter schools are open to all students. They do not serve only a limited zip code or school district area. They are tuition-free public schools, not private schools with fees. In this way, they look and feel like other schools. Get into the classroom though, and things are a bit different.
How Does a Charter School Work?
A charter school allows for greater freedom and flexibility in how education is delivered to the students. They are not directly controlled by government agencies. In many cases, the curriculum is not set for them. They have the freedom to create a school culture that meets students’ needs.
This does not mean that results are out the window. In fact, charter schools must agree to produce certain results to continue operating. There is a tough application process. The goals and plans of the school will be thoroughly analyzed before they get permission to go ahead.
Anyone can start a charter school. They are often started by teachers or principals who have gained a wealth of experience of what actually works best in the classroom. They want to share that experience and its benefits by creating a whole school according to their methods.
Communities may see a need for a change from the traditional model of education public schools have provided. Some have worked together with professionals to create charter schools.
Benefits of Charter Schools
Many parents and teachers are excited about charter schools and the freedom they offer. There are many advantages to greater independence while being held to the same high academic standards.
Innovative, Individualized Teaching and Learning
Charter schools allow teachers to design their classes according to the needs of the students. They don’t have a traditional, rigid curriculum to follow. Teachers take into consideration the end learning goal. They can design an exciting, innovative set of classroom experiences. These take into account the learning styles and past knowledge and experience of their students.
Royal Public Schools is a local public charter school that captures this ethos. They empower skilled subject specialist teachers to create interactive, project-based instruction sessions. Children don’t memorize facts – they actively learn and problem-solve. They learn collaboration and communication skills a traditional classroom setting can’t provide.
Higher Level of Flexibility in Scheduling
Charter schools are designed for the community in which they operate. They can take into account the needs of that community when planning an effective school schedule. Consultation with parents and teachers will help to create a school schedule that suits learning and family life.
Smaller Class Sizes
Charter schools generally have smaller class sizes than general public schools. This is beneficial for students as they have more 1:1 time with teachers. They also have more opportunities to work together and strengthen bonds with each other.
Smaller class sizes translate into higher test scores, better participation in school, and improvements in behavior.
Cons of Charter Schools
Charter schools sure offer plenty of benefits. That said, there are some downsides to think about.
Difficult to Get a Place
Many charter schools are oversubscribed. To assign the places they do have, many schools use a randomized blind lottery. While this is fair, it can be disappointing not to get a place in a school that you, or your child, had set their heart on.
They’re Not All Equal
Charter schools are doing something exciting, but not all are doing it to the same standard. There are some mediocre charter schools out there, so don’t misunderstand charter as synonymous with quality.
Talk to other parents to find out their experiences. Read reviews online and check out the test results. This will give you a good idea of the school. You can gauge whether the school will give your child the best opportunities.
Can Be Intense for Children… and Parents
Charter schools often include a lot of extra-curricular activities. This may keep your child at school the whole day. While some kids may love this, others may find it too intense.
Parents, too, may find that charter schools make demands on their time. Some may require help with volunteering and fundraising. Schools differ in this way, so check out the expectations of the school you’re applying to. If this is too demanding for you, it’s good to consider other options.
Charter Schools – Yes or No?
Charter schools have shaken up the educational establishment. They’ve opened doors to exciting educational experiences for children they didn’t have before. On the other hand, they can demand a lot from kids and parents.
Doing your homework is key. A charter school could be perfect for your kids, helping them achieve their goals and setting them up for future success. Speak to other parents, read reviews, and you’ll be able to make the right choice for your family.
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