Education Alternatives: Charter and Private Schools
In today’s society, it can be advantageous for parents to seek out alternatives to traditional public education. Charter schools provide smaller classroom sizes and are tuition-free, whereas, private education can be expensive, but may also provide more educational resources. One of the most important decisions that parents make regarding their children surrounds their educational environment. At some point, parents concerned with giving their children the best education available begin to question whether to abandon public education in favor of alternatives.
Concerned parents are always looking for alternative ways to give their children a more secure environment in which to reach academic goals
In the 1990’s, charter schools began to emerge in response to parents who were dissatisfied with the public schools that their children were required to attend. In essence, charter schools are public schools that are not under the same rules and regulations that are imposed on public institutions. In exchange for the ability to provide a different curriculum, such as one that emphasizes math or technology, a charter school must meet certain measurable, state-mandated, educational outcomes within a specified amount of time. If a charter school fails to meet these requirements, their charter is revoked. This is seen as one of the major drawbacks of a charter school. A parent never knows if the school will close due to an inability to meet the terms of the school’s charter. In addition, there is often a waiting list for enrollment since attendance is restricted to a certain number of students. On the upside, charter schools are tuition-free and publicly-funded just like other public institutions. Charter schools vary greatly and there is really no standard characteristics typifying charter schools except that they are generally smaller than public schools.
Also called independent schools, private schools are typically non-profit in nature and are completely supported by non-governmental organizations. Since private schools are free to promote a particular set of beliefs, such as religious ideas, private institutions can offer parents an attractive alternative that places their children in a learning environment that teaches values similar to their own. The major drawback to providing children with a private education is its associated financial burden. Since private schools must attract paying students, however, their emphasis is generally on promoting an educational mission, providing individualized teaching through smaller class sizes, and affording educational resources not usually available to public or charter schools.
It seems that some learning environments today are comparable to war zones with all of the gang violence, bullying, and drug activity. Consequently, concerned parents are always looking for alternative ways to either give their children a more secure environment in which to reach academic goals, or they are looking for ways to give their children a more advanced education. Charter schools are great alternatives to public schools because they are smaller and, since they are funded like public schools, tuition is not allowable. Private schools, on the other hand, are funded entirely from the private sector through fundraising, tuition paid by parents, and donations. Children in private institutions are more likely to get individual attention and have more educational resources at their disposal that can advance their education more quickly and more thoroughly.