We get asked quite often about whether a charter school is better than homeschooling. The answer, of course, is that it depends. Only you can decide what’s best for your child, and charter schools are often hotly debated.
In this article, we’ll help you learn what you need to know about the benefits of charter schools and how to navigate them. You might find that a charter school is better for your child than homeschooling.
What Is A Charter School?
Charter schools are public schools that receive funding from the government, but operate independently of the state or federally sanctioned criteria of regular public schools. The benefit of a charter school is that they can switch out a curriculum that isn’t working without having to go before the state or federal committees that could take years to make the change. They draw up a contract or charter to show how they will teach students and how they will achieve desired results. They are free to choose their curriculum, but are held to a state or federal standard of accountability. Charter schools do not charge tuition, and any child can attend. The concept of charter schools is that the classroom sizes are smaller, the curriculum can be changed quickly if it doesn’t meet the needs of the students, and they have more freedom than a regular public school to decide how best to use their resources. Some charter schools are run by for-profit organizations, others are run by parents or a small constituency. All must adhere to whatever charter they’ve agreed upon with the state or federal government.
Benefits of Charter Schools
As a parent, you want to give your child all the educational opportunities that they need. Choosing a charter school opens them up to several new avenues of learning and interaction that could be woefully under-serviced or ignored on the public school circuit. Take time and visit before you enroll, as enrollment could fluctuate.
A charter school could operate much differently than a traditional school. While they are structurally the same, a charter school will be a bit more intensive and focus the learning on your child instead of the needs of the class. This will allow them to stretch their academic abilities and grow towards their true potential, something that is perceived as lacking in public school.
Students thrive with smaller class sizes.
One of the most significant benefits of charter schools is the smaller class size that students will encounter. With a private or public school, the class sizes can be so large that students don’t get the one-on-one instruction they need to thrive. Class sizes of less than 20 are shown to have major advantages over larger classes.
- Peer Learning – Smaller class size allows the children to learn from each other. Often, being in a group work environment can be much more beneficial to the learning process than a one on one session with an overburdened teacher. Learning from their peers is something that doesn’t happen in the public school world.
- Better Assignments – When a teacher has a small class, they can create individual lessons and assignments that work for each child. A project that pushes the children individually improves their knowledge by working, and not taking notes during a lecture.
- Instructor Feedback – One of the most exciting things about smaller class size is how much more time the students have with the teacher. Having the exact feedback required to complete the lesson is critical for students. Extra time getting feedback about tests and assignments is proven to increase scores and retention of knowledge.
- Class Participation – Smaller class sizes mean that your student will be more involved in the discussion. Hearing the other students’ comments and opinions will allow them to throw their knowledge or opinions into the fray. Speaking and working in small groups increases the chances that they will interact more.
Smaller class sizes make the teachers much easier to hear and understand. They are also easier to manage as the teacher can learn more about the child and their particular learning quirks. Large classes are often filled with talkers who have no interest in the lesson. Smaller class size means the children have the ability to better absorb the contents of the studies.
Diversity is a hallmark of Charter Schools.
Students can expect to encounter diversity in a charter school. Having students from across social guidelines and financial barriers will open up new avenues of thought. Once children see that things aren’t the same across their own community, they will take an interest in where they live and the area’s well-being.
Taking a multi-cultural approach to the classroom will also allow students to experience other cultures and all the wonders that they contain. It creates a world view that allows them to look beyond the borders and invest themselves in understanding why certain parts of the world have stark contrasts in social and economic conditions. Seeing other cultures and how they interact and intersect can produce a lifelong interest in travel and new experiences.
Charter Schools can Specialize Where Public Schools Cannot.
When an issue is found with the instruction style or textbooks, it can take several months, or even years, for a city school system to correct the problem. Charter schools have the authority to fix the problem and continue to move forward without the bureaucratic red tape. Their organization keeps the power to change with a select few and not an entire city or district.
Being freed from restraints like a bureaucracy gives charter schools the ability to devote time and effort to fix the problem instead of letting it linger. Action in a fast-paced learning environment is critical because students’ misinformation could up-end their academic careers later. Kids must be prepared for their next educational steps, regardless of their school situation.
Choice is Great Trait of Charter Schools
Some students don’t live in an area with good public or private schools. Lack of funding and city politics can destroy once-flourishing schools that were the bedrock of local communities. Charter schools provide a choice for parents living in an area with less than stellar local schools.
Being able to send your child to a different school could change the trajectory of their lives. Furthermore, leaving them behind to suffer in a failing school system hamstrings their college options and could prevent them from reaching their full potential. Parents who are provided with a choice should do their research and do what is best for their child.
Charter Schools Create an Environment of Responsibility
In the end, children at charter schools are held responsible for their progress much more than children in public schools. They have all the tools they need to improve their educational skills and improve their grades. Some schools even require that students meet a series of academic requirements to continue with the curriculum.
When students realize that they have a say in where their education is going, they will begin to care more about their grades and studying. Once children get invested in their potential, it can be an exciting time for the parents and the teachers. Charter schools give a much more rigid standard to follow, which unlocks their student’s potential.
Finances for Charter Schools can be Affordable for All Students.
Charter schools are held to the same tax breaks as public schools. Each year a portion of the budget is doled out to these schools to make improvements or buy things that they need to operate. Charter schools might be accessible to students, while others might require an enrollment fee.
Students who have financial problems aren’t left out of the process as they would be with private schools. At a charter school, regardless of income, children are given the tools they need to succeed. Overburdened and overpopulated city and private schools often don’t have enough supplies for all students. Charter schools don’t usually struggle with finances.
In some parts of the country, a lack of decent public and private schools are forcing some areas to invest heavily in charter schools. Charter schools are much better fitted to the fast-paced society that children are growing up in. They can correct instructional flaws and create specific lesson plans that other schools could take years to implement.
Choosing a charter school over the traditional types of school will benefit students by giving them a personalized lesson plan while showing them that they are in charge of their learning potential. Charter schools are a bastion of diversity that socialize students just as well as they teach them.