A Quick Introduction to Charter Schools

     Charter Schools are tuition-free schools independent of their respective school district that receive government funding.  Only about 6% of students across the US attend charter schools and students are generally selected through a random lottery. They are given the freedom to specialize in an academic subject, like language or arts, but are still held accountable for state education standards. They help broaden families’ options, especially low-income, those who live in poor public school districts, or non-native speakers. Charter schools opening in communities lacking a good public school help bring a lot of economic activity. The school is able to hire and pay teachers more than public schools and is able to hire lots of local community workers. As more and more charter schools are opening it has created challenges with state funding, however, states are putting caps on the number of charter schools allowed. The introduction of charter schools has also led to a lot of competition between them and public schools for public resources. One way that charter schools get around the lack of public resources is through private donors which creates a big driving force for most charter schools; to directly serve the parents and students.

     I went to a charter school from k-8 and asked a few families who attended it why they decided to do so. One important thing to note is not all charter schools are the same, the one I attended focused more on development and thematic learning.  One parent wanted more involvement in school activities and for her kid to be allowed to be themself rather than following the stricter path associated with public schools. Another family enjoyed the daytime and overnight field trips which focused on enhancing classroom learning. They also preferred the smaller classroom sizes as well as the parent participation. Due to the parent participation, there was a very close community feeling at the school. I personally remember most families who went to my school, and I had close relationships with them. My parents chose the charter school because they didn’t enjoy the constant changing of lines for our local public schools. They also enjoyed the close, community feeling of the charter school and how active and lively it was compared to public schools.

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