Dr. Rich Patterson

Charter Schools:  Pro or Con? Part 6

Charter schools got their traction from being more inventive or creative in their approach to education than their counterparts in public education.  They have a more relaxed regulation in many states and school districts, which encourages them to try something different to reach special populations of students or particular areas of a city that need help with student achievement.   Another plus is that it encourages competition among public schools and charter schools, which many believe has been missing and find encouraging.  Charters frequently have a particular focus or approach, 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 aligns with what you want for your child.  Some charter schools special are STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; others may take more of an arts approach or a particular focus on the needs of a specific 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.  Mismanagement can create difficulty for the parents as they must reconsider another school and thus move their children to a new location.  Although somewhat rare, charter schools can be closed depending on long-running student achievement issues and 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 charter schools drain money from school districts and 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 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 decide.

You can find Part 1 of this series here, Parenting on Purpose: Charter Schools & Questions, Pt. 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Are Charter Schools Better?  You can read this link to decide, Are charter schools better? | Parenting (

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

Yours for Better Parenting,