Charter schools are present in more than 40 states in America. They are different from private schools in that they do not have tuition, but unlike public schools, charter schools can design their own curriculum and grading system, and are not bound to the strict rules governing their public counterparts. Also, charter school teachers are not required to have masters degree or state teaching certification. To keep the quality of education in charter schools in check, they are required to attain certain outcomes in three to five years.
A number of parents are confronted with the dilemma of which educational institution they would best send their children to. To help weigh the options, here is a list of pros and cons of charter schools.
List of Pros of Charter Schools
1. No Tuition Fee
Since charter schools are basically publicly funded schools but of a different format, they are ideally better learning alternatives to students of color and from lower income families.
2. Promote Competition
As more learning alternatives are present, students have more choices where to study. This fosters competition among various educational institutions, particularly competition between traditional public schools and charter schools who both get funding from the government.
3. Close Knit Community
Charter schools normally have fewer students, about half of traditional public schools. This means that charter schools have a community feel in them, making it easier for teachers, parents and students to get along in a harmonious communal way.
4. Less Bureaucracy
The principal takes up all the accountability and responsibility for the performance of the charter school. They have huge authority over the implementation of the charter. This reduces the bureaucracy.
5. Innovative Education
Charter schools are in a way experimental over the course of three to five years, wherein they need to perform and achieve certain outcomes. This encourages charters to think of innovative ways to educate and nurture students.
List of Cons of Charter Schools
1. Lower Funding
The government does not actually extend separate funding for charter schools. What it does is to divide or allocate more or less the same budget across public schools and charter schools. This means lower funding for either one or both.
2. Unfair Student Selection
Charter schools are basically free for all, but due to limitations and the need to achieve, charter schools strive to select their students based on certain criteria. This ultimately creates a niche, which is not essentially bad, but discriminates students who the charters think are not at par with their selection standards.
3. Less Transparency
Unlike public schools, charter schools are not bound by law to make public necessary information about their institution. Also, the board in charter schools is elected by charter organizations, so the public has little say over the administration despite the fact that charter schools get their funds from the government.
4. Less Diversity
Charter schools purposely target or select their students to improve their chances at maintaining their quality and performance. This ultimately promotes racial, intellectual, and economic discrimination against non-targeted students.
5. Less Support for Teachers
Teachers in charter schools need to perform or else their performance would affect the entire school, risking revocation of the charter. Nevertheless, teachers do not get as much support and collaboration they need to meet those very high expectations.