Differences between Charter and Public Schools - Rhodes School - blog

Five Differences between Charter and Public Schools

Choosing a school for your child could be daunting. Why? Because finding the right fit for your child in terms of education is of utmost importance. Schools with goals that align with yours are always the best choice to make, especially when those goals ensure your child/children’s future is secure. Charter schools are gaining popularity because of their flexible curriculum, but how do charter schools differ from public schools?

Charter Schools

Charter schools are a type of taxpayer-funded education in the United States that cost little to nothing. How is this different from traditional schools? It gives students admission, notwithstanding the family income. This means minority families get a chance to send their kids to this school. Charter schools might be publicly funded, but they are autonomous and have no ties to the school districts; they achieve this through state or local board contracts. Independence is usually given to charter schools in return for accountability.
These schools are usually created by the community to bridge a certain gap or achieve certain goals. As a result, all charter schools are not the same. They could be broadly different when considering teaching practices, curriculum, and a host of other factors.

Public Schools

Public schools are also funded by taxes and are often open to students at low cost. Public schools have strict curriculum that is only reviewed periodically, and the classes offered are the same regardless of location. Public schools are regulated by the school district and tailor their curriculum based on state education standards. Public schools are accountable to the state education board and are mandated to adhere to all laws regarding education.

Similarities between Charter Schools and Public Schools.

Public schools and charter schools are mandated by law not to charge tuition and not to give admission based on entrance exams. These two schools must be accountable by taking state tests and participating in federal accountability programs. Charter schools uphold the accountability end of the bargain by setting up a charter, defined as a group of rules and performance criteria they have to meet.

Differences between Charter and Public Schools

Charter schools and public schools are similar in some ways, but differences do exist. What are the differences between charter and public schools?

Admission

Admission to charter and public schools is mostly similar in that all children can go. However, for public schools, this is dependent on the district. This also depends on if the school is open enrollment. For counties that are open enrollment, parents are allowed to choose the schools their children attend.  Public schools that do not offer open enrollment do not offer admission to all. These schools might also have provisions for schools in other districts; students could be transported in by the school’s transport system.
Parents are able to send their children to any charter school in and out of the district, provided they can transport them there.

Charter schools cannot deny admission. The only way a denied admission is acceptable is when the student does not meet grade or attendance requirements. Charter schools also admit based on lottery systems, and students who don’t get picked are not offered admission. Public schools are not allowed to deny admission to any student within the stipulated geographical zone of the school.

Funding

Charter and public schools are both funded by the government. Charter schools are run like privately owned schools; public schools are not.

Charter schools get their funding from state tax income, grants, awards, and donations. Public schools get their funding from federal government, state government, local government (taxes), grants, awards, donations. In essence, charter schools get their state funds on a per-student approach, while public schools get more funding in terms of taxes. Charter schools might receive private funds to augment, but they get less funding in total.

Flexibility

The difference between charter schools and public schools in terms of flexibility is, charter schools are run by a private board and public schools are run by the state board of education.

The implications of these two different bodies is the degree of flexibility. Charter schools are not strictly regulated; public schools are run with a rigid curriculum. These two schools are accountable to their regulatory bodies.

Charter schools might be autonomous, but they are required to run based on their charter. Failure to do this might cause dire consequences, one of which is preventing these schools from securing funding from the state, and the other being the school might get shut down. Public schools are to follow rules governed by the school districts that establish the state law.

Charter schools are flexible, yes. This is somewhat due to them being exempted from at least some or even all the state, local, and federal laws that govern public schools. Public schools follow all these laws, as this is how they earn funds to run the schools. It is noteworthy to add that charter schools still get funded by the public.

Charter schools do not offer many electives; public schools do. Charter schools are often referred to as electives themselves, as some of them offer specific courses to meet the needs of certain children. For instance, Performing Art schools offer a majority of courses that are targeted to improve the artistic flair of the student. Public schools often merge graduation requirements with electives.

How Many Students can be Admitted?

For public schools, this is also dependent on the situation of the school and its district. Public schools are not allowed to turn students away, even if the school is at full capacity. When the school exceeds the set capacity, students are still allowed a place at the school. Open enrollment schools allow parents to apply to them, even if they aren’t in the same district. Open enrollment schools do not offer children admittance, even if it is a school of their choice, once the school is full. Children who don’t get admitted have to choose a neighboring school. Public schools, once they exceed capacity, employ more teachers to meet the growing demand. This will keep happening as more children apply. Charter schools admit based on a threshold. These schools are designed to be a bit more personal, thus the students admitted are limited. However, if the schools exceed a threshold, a lottery system is implemented.

Social Life and School Administration

Charter schools offer a more relaxed educational system. This creates opportunity for people to form real and lasting friendships. This is mostly because of the small class sizes. Charter schools are known to offer a family type setting, where older students help younger students. Charter schools do not have many sport facilities, but they can join their larger public counterparts. Charter schools provide students with social interaction skills, as well as problem solving skills that allow them to flourish after school.  Public schools have sport opportunities, community groups, and other after-school activities that allow students to broaden their boundaries.

Charter schools implement teaching structures like online learning. This allows students to learn from home. Public schools provide classroom learning facilities. Some charter schools are fitted with modern technology, depending on the goal.

Charter schools employ teachers based on the school goals. Some require the same certification as public schools, and others need high qualifications in a professional field. Public school teachers have to be proficient in their field. Some teachers in public schools have a masters, but they must have at least a BA.

Rhodes School for the Performing Arts

Rhodes School is a fully funded public charter school located in Houston Texas. We’ve got a flexible and extensive program, tailored to suit your child’s needs, and we have multiple campuses to choose from. Our student to teacher ratio ensures your child gets the proper personal education they need to help them make critical decisions.

You can learn more about our school here:  admission to Rhodes School for the Performing Arts.

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