Charter schools give parents choice in educating their children, and that choice is important. Because it means that all schools must perform better to attract more students to their school. That performance pressure is a huge win for families.
Some of the best things about charter schools are:
- They are local
- They are publicly funded so they are tuition free
- Many specialize in certain areas of education
- They give students an alternative to the typical public school education
The question remains, are charter schools actually successful? Do they provide a comparable education to public schools? Since anyone can start a charter school, parents need to really understand the value of the education they provide and the success rate, based on the charter school’s requirements.
With over 7,400 charter schools currently in the U.S., charter schools run the gamut of being top-notch programs that easily outperform local school districts all the way to failing schools that are eventually forced to close.
Parents need to research each charter school they’re considering before enrolling their children. Speaking with parents of children who currently attend the school is a great place to start. Understanding where the charter school is in maintaining its requirements and confirming student success rate are also critical components to evaluate.
Charter schools are required to go through a rigorous certification process every few years. They are held accountable to the same academic standards as the public school districts, including the accurate reporting of student progress and assessment results. The data is readily available for parents willing to look for it.
Academic success isn’t the only consideration that determines if a charter school is successful or not. While many parents consider sending their kids to charter schools for academic reasons, just as many consider sending them to charter schools for environmental reasons. Virtual and charter schools are safe alternatives to public schools.
Charter schools have fewer cases of physical and sexual assaults and bullying than public schools, school violence is lower and while peer pressure still exists, the amount of pressure is significantly reduced. This may be due a smaller population of students or focusing on building a positive school culture, or both. Charter schools have lower overall rates of punitive punishments like suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to law enforcement.
Charter schools are well-designed to meet the needs of individual children and they are able to drive student success without having many of the unnecessary policies and procedures inherent within the public schools.
What really matters is charter schools are an option that parents can evaluate and choose. Some students will be much better in a smaller classroom and school environment. Parents know their kids and being able to choose what school structure is best for them is empowering.