Public Schools vs Charter Schools. Union vs Non-Union. Education For Real.
What Are Public Charter Schools?
Charter schools are independent public schools allowed freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improved student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved, teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn, with all three held accountable for improved student achievement.
What makes charter schools public schools?
Public charter schools are intended to improve our nation’s public school system. Charter schools are public schools because, while they operate independently of the school district, they are:
tuition-free and open to every student who wishes to enroll
non-sectarian, and do not discriminate on any basis
publicly funded by local, state and federal tax dollars based on enrollment, like other public schools
held accountable to state and federal academic standards.
How Do Charter Schools Work?
Charter schools are free to innovate in ways that improve student achievement. Here are some specific examples of how charter schools do it: Offer longer school days. Charter schools are designed to be free to set their own operating hours. If the school strives to boost student achievement by giving students more time in the classroom, the school can offer classes into the evening, on weekends and into the summer months.
Adjust curriculum to meet student needs. A charter school can breakup the day to provide students with more time on the core subjects they need most. Charter school teachers have a say in the curriculum they teach and frequently change materials mid-year if they need to in order to meet students’ needs.
Create a unique school culture. Charter schools build upon the core academic subjects by creating a culture or adopting a theme. For example, there are charter schools focused on STEM education, performing arts, project-based learning, college preparation, career readiness, language immersion, civic engagement, classical education, global awareness or meeting the needs of autistic students – just to name a few.
Develop next generation learning models. Charter schools are completely rethinking the meaning of the word “classroom.” In Hawaii, students learn biology with the sky as their ceiling and the ocean as the classroom. Virtual schools, which exist completely online, use technology to change the dynamics of the classroom. Others combine virtual classroom time with classroom time in a physical school building. In either case, students can learn from experts located anywhere in the world. Excellent charter school management companies like KIPP and Uncommon Schools are codifying how to build an excellent teacher.
Why do we need charter schools?
Millions of students across America are not getting the education they deserve. Some are forced to attend chronically underperforming public schools in their communities. Others struggle to fit their learning styles or personalities to outdated educational models that don’t meet their needs. In either case, these students are leaving school unprepared for the workforce or higher education, and limiting their long-term potential.
These children and their families deserve a better option, and public charter schools can provide that option for families who need it.
Charter schools are closing the achievement gap. They are raising the bar of what’s possible – and what should be expected – in public education.
Charter schools are shattering low expectations and breaking through long-standing barriers that have prevented large numbers of students from underserved communities from achieving educational success.
Charter school studies that use the best data and most sophisticated research techniques show charters outperforming comparable traditional public schools. Studies have also been clear that the quality of a state’s charter school law is a critically important factor in the success of public charter schools.
Charter schools are always public schools. They never charge tuition, and they were designed to boost student achievement. If a traditional public school is not addressing a student’s needs, charter schools offer parents another public school option. Increasingly, when given that option, parents are choosing to enroll their children in charter schools. In fact, the demand for charter schools is far outpacing the supply in most communities.
And, at the same time, while the ordinary citizen isn’t paying attention, charter schools are undermining the public schools. Money needed for public school education received from the government is paid per student who is enrolled. With enrollment down at the public schools, money from the government is down, too. The teacher’s union is threatened because with fewer students, you need fewer teachers. Innovation. Indeed. The public schools had better take notice. In a few years, the typical public school will not exist, and it is partly their own fault. I actually saw a yard sign that advertised high school online. There may be more of those to come. That’s just my opinion.