Want to know more about charter school? This article will give a run down of what charter school is, how to get admission into it and the amount you can pay.
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Education is a very important to every society. A society that wants to succeed and grow has to greatly invest in education of the younger ones.
Most governments go as far as subsidizing education, some offer scholarships for indigent students and gifted young people.
Societies with a greater population of educated people tend to be more developed so it’s easy to say that the level of education of the greater population is directly proportional to level of development of that particular society.
Educational systems are very important and a lot of communities have charter and public schools to serve different aspects of their population.
What are Charter Schools?
Charter schools are academic institutions that are funded by the government. They are funded by the government but they are run independently by the school board.
The schools are completely autonomous for accountability. They are free for the rules that bind a lot of schools in the public school system.
However, they are accountable for results of the students. They seem more like private schools that are extremely subsidized by the government.
Who Should Attend Charter Schools?
In a way we can compare charter schools to public schools because they are open to everyone and because they relatively affordable everyone can get into a charter school.
They provide the students with what can be referred to as the “best of both worlds”.
In the California Education Code section 47605(2)(A), “A charter school shall admit all pupils who wish to attend the school”.
These charter school also cannot discriminate against any pupil with an Individualized Education program or even discourage them from applying. It is part of its purpose to provide access to quality education for all.
However, schools are allowed to reject student if they have exceeded the number of pupils, they are able to take on every session.
Why Charter Schools?
There is a lot of misinformation about charter schools. A good number of parents still believe that charter schools are private owned and therefore they would charge a tuition but this is not the case.
I think parents who are out for schools to send their children should look into charter schools for the following reasons.
They are Economical:
Charter schools cater for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and do not discriminate by race, gender, socioeconomic background or academic backgrounds.
For this reason, it is a great opportunity for low-income households to get a decent education at no cost at all.
Charter schools accommodate students of varying English language proficiency:
Charter schools are tailored to meet students where they are, taking their strengths and weaknesses into consideration. This also includes English language learners.
It also supports access to public education to everyone no matter their immigration status. They exist basically to support and to empower everyone with education which is one of our fundamental human rights.
Charter schools support students to grow and improve their abilities:
Rather than opt for the strict and traditional education system, charter schools take into consideration that not all students are the same and therefore create a system that allows everyone to thrive.
Many of them offer inclusive classrooms that allow general education and special education students to study alongside each other.
Charter school students are no limited by geographic location:
The admission process of charter schools does not insist on only students from the district. Literally anyone can attend as long as you have the means to show up for class every day.
This makes for a diverse and inclusive social environment for the students.
Students in charter schools have reported less and less safety concerns over the years than those in public schools.
Charter schools have a smaller class size that encourages more teacher-student interaction, greater participation and ultimately better learning experience.
Virtual Charter Schools:
In today’s world with the reality of the covid-19 it is obvious that we should begin to look more into building virtual systems that ensure that life can continue even in the event of a lockdown.
Charter schools are taking the bull by the horn and implementing systems that do this work perfectly.
Sophisticated Alternative Teaching Approaches:
The fact that charter schools are not run by the state gives some freedom to function.
With freedom comes innovation and charter schools are always exploring sophisticated teaching methods to optimize the learning experience.
Special Focus on Specific Goals:
Charter schools are known to have specific targets, where some charter schools focus on sciences others focus on arts and maybe economics.
This allows to students to be focused early in their career on course they would eventually pursue.
Students of charter schools have better chances at getting into good colleges:
This is a given considering all the previously named advantages. This should seal the deal for any parent who is still having second thoughts on this.
Differences Between Charter Schools and Public Schools?
Charter schools are independent based on the fact that they are run by a private board and must not keep to the curriculum and rules binding public schools. They are created by communities to meet their specific needs therefore not all charter schools are the same.
Also, they are, however, still very much accountable even though they do not have a uniform curriculum. They revise their curriculum based on what is required in the community but they are still held accountable for the performance of the students.
The public schools on the other hand, all follow the state approved curriculum and are therefore uniform in academics.
Meanwhile, they are answerable to the state board and have to meet up with state approved standards. They are mandated to obey all the laws regarding education within the state.
Admission to these institutions are similar in that anyone can attend either of them. They are open to the general public and the fact that they do not charge tuition solidifies the fact.
The public schools are open to all depending on district. It also depends on if the school offers open enrolment or not.
For schools without open enrolment, they may also offer transportation so the parents don’t have to bother about getting the child the school as the school transport system can be used.
In charter school’s system, parents can send their children to any school within or outside their district provided they can transport them to the schools.
Charter schools can only deny a student admission if they do not meet up with the grade or attendance requirements, they also admit using lottery system but they cannot deny admission based on the geographical location of the student.
Both charter schools and public schools are funded by the government but do not function similarly.
Charter schools are funded from state tax income, grants, awards and donations. Public schools get their funding from the federal, state and local government taxes, grants and donations.
The charter schools are funded with a “per student” approach and can also receive donations from private bodies but in total, they often get less funding.
Public schools are run by the state under rigid laws while the charter schools are run by a private charter board so they have more flexibility.
Charter schools do not offer elective because some of them are electives themselves, however some public schools offer electives alongside the graduation requirements.
Social Life and Administration
Charter schools have a more relaxed academic system which is unlike that of the public schools. Their methods are less rigid and class sizes are smaller which makes room for optimal social interactions.
This helps students build relationships that will stand the test of time. The charter schools do not have sports facilities that are as elaborate as those in public schools but they can join with sports facilities in public schools.
They are structured in a manner that encourages out of the box thinking and drastically improves problem solving skills.
Charter school employ teachers based on the goals of the school; this means the students are given room to interact with unconventional tutors who are professionals in their fields but may not necessarily have a teaching degree.
Number of Students
Public schools cannot turn down students no matter what. Rather than turn down students they employ more teachers to fill the gap.
This is not the case in charter schools because they are built for a more personal experience. When charter schools exceed their designated quota, they employ the lottery system to admit students.
How Much is Tuition for a Charter School?
Charter schools are publicly funded by the local, state and federal tax and therefore students are not expected to pay any tuition fees.
In other words, charter schools are FREE for any pupil who wishes to attend these academic institutions.
What Scholarships are Available for Charter Schools?
Scholarships are academic financial grants given to students to help them fully or partly cover the financial cost of their education.
There is no need to bother about having to pay back this money because a scholarship is not a loan.
Scholarships are however, not open to everybody, as the organizations who often provide these funds have a limited. That said, several scholarships have a number of criteria that you must meet in order to qualify to benefit from them.
For charter school students these scholarships are available if they wish to continue on their education in college. This is a great opportunity for students including those in the public school system.
The most common types of scholarships are merit based or need based.
- Merit based scholarships – These are open to most students but only academic high flyers are expected to benefit from this. Here, the sponsors are looking to fund students who are well above average in their academics and can be referred to as “gifted”. For these you would need to show proof of an outstanding academic performance.
- Needs based scholarships – These are open to the indigent students in our communities, people who, of no fault of theirs, are unable to afford an education. These funds exist to help educate as many as possible. The right to an education is a fundamental human right of every human being. Everyone should be able to get to whatever level of education they wish without having to bothered about their background.
What are the Admission Requirements of a Charter School?
Even though charter schools are not run by the state, they still have to comply with the guidelines and requirements for admissions as stipulated by the state.
Some of these guidelines include but are not limited to the following:
- The prospective student must apply to the intended school and complete the application forms (or whatever method is used by the school) on or before the deadline date.
- All applicants are considered eligible till the number of applicants exceed the carrying capacity of the school.
- Returning students should be given preference. Siblings of currently enrolled students are also given some preference.
When the applications still exceed carry capacity, admission is offered using the lottery method with siblings of already enrolled students still getting preference.
The school may also give preference to people living with disabilities and English language learners.
Best Ranking Charter Schools to Attend?
The charter schools in the United States of America are ranked yearly by the U.S News. Their ranking is nationally accepted and often referred to.
They take a few factors into consideration when ranking charter schools based on student performance.
First, they consider college readiness, for this, they check the proportion of 12th graders in a school who take AP and IB exams and how many of them earn a qualifying score.
They also consider how many students take these AP and IB exams in multiple areas. Multiple exams always rank higher, taking and earning a qualifying score ranks 3 times higher than merely writing the exam.
Equally, they consider the math and reading proficiency of the students by their aggregate scores on the state assessment tests. They are all required to write these state assessment tests before graduation.
They also consider, especially, the state assessment scores of students who are Black, Hispanic and/or from low-income homes. Schools with more students of this bracket performing well are ranked higher.
Finally, the schools are ranked by the number of 9th graders who eventually graduate after four academic years in the institution.
Based on this listed criteria, the following Charter schools are ranked the top 5 charter schools in the United states of America by the US news.
It is located on Arizona Avenue, Chandler. Its student body comprises students from 5th grade to 12th grade.
They are ranked number 1 nationwide with 99% graduation rate and 100 on college readiness. They have about 291 students enrolled every year.
This is a charter school located in downtown Evansville, Indiana.
They have a 100% graduation rate, are ranked second place in the entire country, and have a 100 score on college readiness.
Basis Oro Valley
It is located in Oro Valley Arizona. They have both a primary school and a high school.
Also, they have a 100% graduation rate and a 100 score on college readiness. It is one of the schools in the Basis Schools chain.
It is located at W Yearling Road, Peoria, Arizona, USA. This charter schools offers tuition free education for students from 5th grade to 12th grade.
Their students have a great academic record with 100% graduation rate and a 100 college readiness score.
This is located on 128th street, Scottsdale Arizona, USA. They have the highest students’ capacity of all the schools on our top 5 list with an impressive 352 new students enrolled this past year.
Also, they cater for students from 5th grade to 12th grade. Their students have a 100% chance at graduation and are also always college ready.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Students of charter schools do not perform notably better than students of public schools academically, however the charter schools do have their advantages.
They offer freedom and flexibility which is not common in the public school system.
Charter schools are popular because they offer quality education.
In the 2013-2014 academic session, Los Angeles recorded the highest number of students enrolled in charter schools in the entire country with a whooping 139000 students.
Yes, students living with a disability can attend charter schools.
Yes, students of charter schools are required to wear school uniforms. However, they are not expected to pay for these uniforms. Paying for the uniforms is strictly voluntary.
Education is a fundamental human right and its importance cannot be overemphasized.
It is wonderful that charter schools are catering for various people no matter where they are coming from or what their needs are.
Also, it is important that this system is sustained to allow young people to continue to benefit from them.