Everyone wants what is best for their children, especially when it comes to studies and education. Yet, making choices about the best learning institution for children to attend can be daunting. In fact, many parents have indicated that choosing an appropriate institution for their children is more stressful than many other critical life decisions, such as buying a home. In recent years, yet another decision many families must now make is whether their children should attend traditional schools or opt instead to send their kids to a charter school. While charter education establishments are frequently in the news for a variety of reasons, the fact is that many people remain confused about them. Here is everything you are probably wondering about regarding charter schools and how they compare to the public schools most people are quite familiar with.
Charter schools are learning institutions that operate on contracts granted through local school boards. The contract, or “charter” of these schools, is an agreement to provide education in a specified manner to students who will attend. In establishing this contract between the school and the school board, the charter institution then operates independently from the district, with the tradeoff of being more accountable to the students and the director via the contract vehicle. Here are three other critical facts people should know about these learning institutions:
Why should parents consider sending their kids to a charter institution? Charter schools offer many benefits for students that they would not otherwise receive, even if they attended a comparable public school in the same district. Here are some of the key advantages of a charter school education.
• Class Size. One common complaint among parents, students and educators alike in many school districts is class sizes being too large. Students can often get lost in the crowd when teachers have too many kids in a classroom to manage. Charter schools, on the other hand, tend to have smaller classes than their public counterparts, which gives students more opportunities to interact with teachers and learn their subject material.
• Real Choice. Before the advent of charter schools, parents in under-performing school districts had few choices, especially if they couldn’t afford to send their kids to private schools or didn’t have the means or desire to move elsewhere. Now, families who live in close proximity to charter schools have additional options when it comes to pursuing the best educational opportunities for their kids.
• Specialized Education. Charter schools often have the freedom to provide a more unique, specialized education to their students. The curricula at these schools can focus on things that traditional schools neither have the time nor the authorization to offer. As a result, students can often have opportunities to study subjects not available elsewhere or more in-depth than they otherwise could, which could lead to them being more invested in their education and give them a competitive advantage when they apply for colleges later on.
While charter schools offer some terrific advantages and options for families, they are not perfect and definitely have issues of their own. This leads to charter schools having garnered a great deal of scrutiny and controversy over the past two decades. Here are some of the shortfalls and worrisome aspects of charter schools that parents and students should be aware of.
Charter schools definitely have advantages and shortfalls. However, when it comes to deciding whether or not to send kids to public schools or charter schools, it is important to remember every learning institution is different. Parents who have the option to enroll their children in a nearby charter school should do their due diligence and determine whether or not it is a quality institution. Talking to families, board members, and even students can be a great way to do this. Parents should also investigate the convectional public schools in their community as well, applying the same methods they did to check out the charter schools. After all, there are hundreds of high-performing districts across the country, and in many cases, students can receive an education in these districts’ public schools that are far superior to what charter or even private institutions can offer. Overall, parents that take the time to assess the schools in their towns and cities should be able to find an option that is a good fit for their children.