Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful
Thanksgiving Football shopping pumpkin pie fall leaves turkey dinner Family pilgrims blessings cornucopia peace love thankful

One empowered woman's struggle against the world
Tuesday March 19th 2019

Charter Schools vs. Public Schools

Are charter schools really a better choice to public schools? If you are not sure what a charter school is check here first for a better understanding of charter Schools. I had to look into the subject of charter school for the first time 10 years ago, when my oldest child was starting school. The local public school was a 20 minute drive away. A new public school was built that was 10 minutes away but after the first year of being open the school opted and lobbied to become a charter School. A decision had to be made, stay with the charter School or go back to the public school that was a 20 minute drive or 40 minute bus ride away.

The only information readily available at that time was press releases put out by the companies that ran the charter school. Of course they were all glowing and made a lot of claims about the benefits of charter school over the regular public school. Today, we have reviews by parents, teachers, parent/teacher organizations and the kids themselves. We also now have years of data to help better compare the two types of school.
So what do the reviews and studies say?

Recently, I was faced with the decision again as my youngest child requires services the charter school only provided on a limited basis. So back to researching. The majority of the studies done today have shown that charter schools perform about the same as public schools despite the companies running the charter School claiming they do better. Where academics and standarize testing are concerned the two types of schools come relatively close overall. The reviews by parents, teachers, organizations and the kids themselves are pretty equally split as well.
The real scoop on charter schools

As I mentioned earlier in this article, I had to make the decision of charter school or public school for my children. I ended up going with the charter school but mainly for location and the fact that it was a brand new school with brand new equipment and brand new supplies. I liked the idea that the charter schools could step outside of the traditional teaching methods. I loved the idea of smaller class sizes and teacher to child ratio.

After having my kids in two different charter schools for 10 years now, I am not convinced they are any better than public schools. In certain areas that became very necessary for my children the charter schools actually were worse.
Real life comparison of a charter school and Public school

Below is my real life experience with both the public school and two charter schools. As you will be able to see they are pretty similar. Public schools far outweigh charter schools in the area of ESE (Exceptional Student Education). Charter schools traditionally have better technology and more of it.

Charter vs. Public Charter School Public School
Classroom size there have been 26-34 kids per class there have been 28-34 kids per class
School lunch prices and meal options identical prices and meal options identical
Test scores reading scores were higher than the public school but still within the national average for both math scores were higher that the charter school but still within the national average for both
Security have a hired security person rely on local police
Teacher credentials college educated younger teachers college educated more veteran teachers
ESE programs access limited access to ESE programs; many standard programs not available; limited staffing for the ESE programs offered access to Federally mandated ESE programs with staff
Technology has more updated and newer technology equipment; computers in all the classrooms not as to date technology wise; older computers and not as many in most cases
Curriculum standard curriculum standard curriculum
Teaching methods traditional teaching methods traditional teaching methods
Dispute resolution charter school company; liaison in the public county school office public local school board
Transportation the county where you live decides whether or not to provide transportation; a good deal of charter schools provide no transportation school buses are available based on living distance from the school
Which is the right choice for you?

You can read article after article and go from forum to forum reading real life reviews but how do you know which is the right choice for you? You have to do your homework. My best advice is below:

* Visit the schools. There are outstanding charter and Public schools out there. Whether or not the ones in your area are outstanding, you won’t know until you visit the actual schools. Ask to see a classroom and see how many students are present; don’t just take their word for small class sizes. See how clean the school is. See how organized class changes are.
* Make sure any programs that you want your child in are available. ESE programs are limited in a lot of charter schools. Public schools don’t have an option, they have to provide services. Charter schools can pick and choose the programs they offer and staff.
* Ask about the code of conduct and how it is enforced and what the dispute procedure and policy is. You may have a perfect child but even perfect children can be wrongly accused or misunderstood. You want to make sure that there is an avenue available to resolve disputes.
* Request overall test scores and ratings for the school. In, many States schools are graded or ranked. This grade or rank is based on many factors some of which may not be relevant to your child. Make sure that the A graded school made that grade by offering and excelling in the areas that are important to you not what was important to the grading committee.
* Ask about the teaching methods used. Charter schools have the flexibility to teach “outside of the box” so to speak but many stick with traditional teaching methods. If you are looking for “outside of the box” methodology make sure it is happening throughout the school and not just with one or teachers your child will never encounter or be taught by.
* Find out about the local parent teacher organization at the school. They can be very informative on what actually goes on day to day at the school.
* Check out the transportation situation. A good deal of charter schools do NOT provide transportation. The local county school board decides whether or not to provide transportation for students living in the county but opting to attend a charter school rather than the local public school.

I know I appear a little biased against charter schools but I continue to this day to have my children in a charter school and have no plans to move them to a public school. I, however, have had many challenges in order to stick with that decision. I have found that geography, income level and parental involvement are huge factors in the success or failure of a school regardless of type. My charter school has some drawbacks such as the ESE programs. One of my children did require services and it has been a three year challenge to get those services provided but I did. Overall, it is no better than the local public school. The overriding factor in selecting the charter school over the public school came down to location for me. The charter school is within walking distance and the public school a 20 minute car ride or 40 minute bus ride away.

Getting your child educated is important. No report, study or person can tell you unequivocally that one type of school is better than the other. Hopefully now you have a little more information and some advice to help you make the right decision on whether to go with a charter school or public school. In my opinion based on my personal experience, researching the studies and meeting and talking with other parents, teachers and kids on the forums and in person both schools can perform equally well. Check out your local charter school and public school and compare them yourself. The one that meets the needs of your child best is the right choice for you.

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