Whether you consider charter schools to be a good alternative to traditional public schools or not, there is no denying the fact that they are becoming more and more popular. A charter school is an independently run public school which, as a result of its status, has greater freedom in regards to its operation. Again, as a result of their status, most charter schools are very different from one another. Even when it comes to funding, while most of these schools receive their money from the government, there are some which are operated by private for-profit companies.
If you’re trying to decide if your child should go to a charter school, then it is important to know that these schools are practically public schools. In exchange for being accountable for the academic results of their students and for respecting the promises which they’ve made in the charter, they receive more freedom with regard to their operation. Because charter schools have more freedom, they don’t usually have an enrolment cap, which means that you can choose any charter school from your district and try to enrol you child in it. This, unfortunately, might be a titanic task on its own. Most charters usually have so many applicants that they end up relying on lotteries in order to choose the students which will be admitted.
They might be different, but they’re not necessarily bad
Due to their nature, charters usually give their students more creative freedom and, as a result, can be more suitable for children which tend to solve problems by thinking out of the box. These schools also tend to be more liberal when it comes to hiring teachers. While they will only hire teachers with proper education, they will not necessarily hire the ones with the most experience. Charter schools tend to hire young teachers who are just starting their careers. This can be a blessing or a curse, and unfortunately there’s no way of knowing which one.
Bear in mind the fact that there is no guarantee that a charter school will help your child have better academic results than a traditional one. Just as there are charters which have turned out to be better than regular schools, there are also a few which are worse. This having been said, there are studies which show that the charters which underperformed the classical ones, are improving at a steady pace.
Financially, even though they’re funded by the government (funding varies from school to school, depending on the number of students enrolled), most charters are run by either companies, parents, NGOs or teachers or by a combination of them.
Lastly, if the information above appeals to you, remember that charter schools can be closed down at any time. The organisations which have granted a school its charter can close it down if it hasn’t managed to recruit enough students, if it is unable to manage its finances or if it cannot find a stable location to operate. Charters closing down are very rare, though, and shouldn’t worry you too much.