It's a new year, and it's a great time to discuss school choice and specifically some of the many benefits of choosing a charter school for your child. We know that in Southern California parents have many options when it comes to your child's education. As communities continue to strive for the best educational options and push the school of choice movement forward, the decision of where to send your student can be a tricky one. Parents have to decide between the local public school, fancy private institutions, online schools, charter schools, even homeschooling is a popular choice. So why should you decide to send your child to a charter school?
The answer is clear: enrolling your child in a charter school will give your child opportunities not available in other educational environments. According to a study released last month by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) there are strong educational outcomes for students attending California's charter schools. "This report shows that California charter schools continue to beat the odds by helping their students achieve at higher levels than their peers in traditional public schools," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO, CCSA. "Year after year we see charter schools in California using their freedom and flexibility to deliver results for students that surpass expectations."
But, what is it about these schools that attract parents, help students succeed and make them stand out from their public school counterparts? Below we will explore some of the many benefits of charter schools:
1. Expands parental choice. Long gone are the days when your only option is to send your child to the traditional neighborhood public school. With the expansion of the school choice movement even parents who live in areas with poor public school systems can choose where they want their child to attend. Expensive private schools are no longer the only alternative to traditional public schooling. Now, parents have more choices and considering a charter school is a great decision. Parents are able to look for a school that will best meed the educational and emotional needs of their child. Individualized education is possible, and parents can even send their children to differing schools based on each child's interests and needs. California embraces the charter school system hosting more than "1,253 schools that educate more than 600,000 students statewide, according to the California Charter Schools Association".
2. Supports a Diverse Student Population: Because charter schools encourage the idea of school choice they often also boost the diversity in the classroom. Since parents are able to choose where to send their child they often are able to go outside the boundary of their normal, neighborhood school. In this way students are spreading into areas in which they do not live, increasing the diversity in a classroom. This is extremely beneficial for minority students as studies have shown that "Latino and African-American charter school students are twice as likely as their TPS peers to be attending a school in the top 10% statewide and over three times as likely to be attending a top 5% school statewide". All of this results in a more diverse and more successful student body.
3. Smaller Class Size: Many charter schools pride themselves on their ability to offer more one-on-one attention to students than traditional public schools can boast. This is largely due to the fact that charter schools often have smaller class sizes. Focusing teacher's attention on smaller groups of students allows for a more individualized education plan for each student.
4. Focus on the Individual Talents of the Students: Most charter schools choose to specialize in a particular area, such as science and technology or performing arts. In this way, children who attend a specific charter school are able to take classes that align with their talents and interests. Students who attend these schools can often seek additional support in classes in which they are weaker in as well. These ideals allow students to have increased classroom engagement and often result in students being more intrinsically motivated to succeed. When kids are invested in their education and interested in their classes, test scores begin to soar! Often, charter schools even allow students to choose their course schedule and take classes that will directly prepare them for a specific college major or career choice.
5. Greater Flexibility and Greater Accountability: Many people impressed by the ability charter schools have in regards to their curricular and managerial freedom, it is much more flexible than that of traditional public schools. While it's clear that charter schools do have greater freedoms than traditional schools, they are still publicly funded schools. This means that they must follow the same major regulations and laws that apply to traditional public schools if they want to maintain their funding. However, because they're able to avoid many of the political responsibilities associated with traditional schools, charter schools can devote more of their resources to focus on maintaining high academic standards. This gives charter schools more time and funding to help students achieve educational excellence and overcome areas of weakness. Due to this increased freedom, charters have to maintain certain accountability standards, or risk losing their district charters. These standards include goals for student achievement, teacher retention and student attendance and enrollment. Aside from legal accountability standards, charter schools also rely heavily on parent approval. So charter schools are also accountable to the community in which they reside, for instance, if the schools are not run efficiently parents will likely choose to disenroll their student.
At Method Schools, we provide all benefits a California charter school can offer. We have a project-based learning atmosphere which promotes student independence and leadership. To learn more about the many great benefits of a charter school education and to determine if Method Schools are the right choice for your student, contact us today.