Dr. Rich Patterson

Charter Schools:  Pro or Con? Part 6

Charter schools got their traction from being able to be more inventive or creative in their approach to education than their counterparts in public education.  They do have a more relaxed regulation in many states and school districts, which encourage them to try something different to reach special populations of students or special areas of a city that need help with student achievement.   Another plus is that it encourages competition among public schools and charter schools, something that many believe has been missing and find encouraging.  Charter frequently have a particular focus or approach that they take, much more so than public schools.  I like to encourage parents to be very familiar with the curriculum, values, mission, vision work that the school has done.  Look everything over closely to ensure that their approach is in alignment with what you want for your child.  Some charter schools special is STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, others may take more of an arts approach, or a particular focus on the needs of one particular ethnicity or race.

Through the years, charter schools have consistently run into funding problems.  At times even mismanagement of funds has resulted in court and civil cases.  This can create a difficult for the parents as they must reconsider another school and thus have to move their children to a new location.  Although somewhat rare, charter schools can be closed depending on long-running student achievement issues as well as financial problems. Support for more regulation or less regulation varies according to one’s particular view of charter schools, which by now if you have read the six parts, can be a bit muddy.  Some public school advocates say that charter schools drain money from school districts and/or drain bright students because charter schools may pick students according to their focus.  There isn’t a clear picture here.  I like to remind parents to simply do their diligence before making a decision.  Do not go simply on public opinion of any particular school, dig into the numbers and then talk with people and make a determination.

Source:  Prothero, Arianna. (2018) Charter Schools: 7 Common Questions, Answered.  Education Week, August 9, 2018.