Public vs Charter Schools in the US: Which is Better?

Several decades ago, the only three options for kids to get their first education certificate were to attend public, international, or private-funded schools. In 2019, school types range from public schools to magnet schools or even homeschooling.

Nowadays, more and more parents are looking for alternative education options for their children. It is, therefore, important to know the advantages and disadvantages of a school you wish to enroll your kid in. There are some crucial differences between public and charter schools; unlike private schools, they are funded and supervised by the local government.

Basically, charter schools are no better or worse than public ones. Their only difference is that they are excepted from local school districts supervision and are not required to sign agreements with local educational boards or government bodies. Public schools, on the other hand, are dependent on school district rules and must keep their schedule, study load, and timetable in compliance with state education norms.

Comparing Public And Charter Schools

Despite the fact that both schools are funded by the government, they abide by different regulations and norms. In order to gain a better understanding of the two, we will look into these differences and explain them.

Charter schools are funded on a per-pupil basis. Partial coverage of expenses through private funds is not forbidden but it is infrequent. The more pupils are enrolled in a special school, the more prestigious it is considered. Public schools are partially funded from the state budget and local taxes. They are prohibited from receiving any funds from individuals or private companies.

When it comes to government regulation, charter schools are the only ones responsible for their own curricula. However, they must meet some state education norms (for example, a list of mandatory subjects to be taught to pupils) in order to get state funding. Public schools have to abide by all laws and regulations established by local school district commissions. The body responsible for developing these regulations is a local school board, which is locally elected and responsible for supervising the district.

With regard to teacher accreditation, special schools teachers do not necessarily have to have a university diploma or other certificates. The certification requirements vary from state to state and are usually quite lenient. In typical schools, all lecturers have to be accredited by the state education board. It means that teachers should at least have a Certificate of Secondary Teacher.

Curriculum wise, charter schools are free to decide study load for their students. However, they are still required to sign a performance contract with the local government. Traditional schools should follow established curricula which are developed by state school boards and implemented by local school boards. Thus, you can expect public schools in the same district to have identical curricula.

Finally, charter schools may require a mandatory application process for individuals, but it depends on the area they are located in. In traditional schools, all pupils can freely attend classes and should not submit any applications.

Which School Type Is Better?

It is hard to say which school type is better or worse. Those in favor of charter schools argue that in the majority of cases, kids studying there receive a better quality education. They believe that traditional schools cannot reveal pupils’ potential due to not paying enough attention to each student, poor teachers’ motivation, unsafe learning milieu, and lack of sufficient funding. Charter schools, on their part, provide their students with a more engaging atmosphere. Teachers at special schools can teach fewer students, thus being able to devote more time to each pupil. Moreover, charter schools frequently specialize in specific subjects (for example, math or religion), which helps talented pupils fully reveal their potential. For example, if your kid frequently asks you, “Can you edit my paper?”, you should consider finding a school which places a strong emphasis on language studying.

On the other hand, those who are fond of the public school system claim that charter schools support an unfair enrollment system. Traditional schools are required to enroll all students living in a specific area, while special ones frequently require applicants to meet some academic and psychological standards. The worst thing is that if too many students apply, charters schools may be forced to decide who will be enrolled on a lottery basis. A typical school must enroll any number of students who apply and hire additional teachers if needed.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were only 3 million pupils attending charter schools in 2018. In comparison, the total number of students who attend primary school amounts to 50 million. More than 56% of charter schools are located in cities, while only 10% are located in rural areas. Therefore, your choice of an educational institution depends on where you live and if a charter school’s specialization corresponds to your child’s interests. For example, charter schools in New York are outperforming public ones in terms of a higher number of A students.

Which School Is Better For Your Kid?

Is your kid interested in arts, maths, science, theatre or religion? If they are, then you should consider looking for a charter school. If your child has no distinct preferences, it would be better for you to enroll them in a public school and let them narrow down their choice while picking a college. In terms of quality, charter schools are on a par with public ones, since they are both state-funded, free to enter and have to meet education requirements.

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