Online charter schools are exploding in popularity. Unfortunately, as soon as parents start investigating these schools, they’re finding both online schools and charter schools are plagued with myths.
If you’re considering an online charter school for your child, you deserve to know the truth. Here are the six biggest myths about online charter schools and the reality behind each misunderstanding.
1. Myth: Online charter school financing is unregulated.
Reality: Online charters often have even stricter financial reporting responsibilities than traditional public schools.
School financing can be a complicated subject. So it’s no surprise that parents are often misled to believe online charter schools aren’t held to the same financial reporting standards as traditional public schools. In reality, online charter schools are bound by California legislation to report how they’re using money, and in many instances those regulations are even more demanding than with alternative school types.
2. Myth: Online charter schools don’t encourage social growth.
Reality: Some online charters focus specifically on creating social growth.
You’re right to be concerned about your child’s social growth. After all, social skills are becoming more and more valuable for success after graduation. However, in many cases, online charter schools have designed programs specifically to spark social skills and encourage social interaction.
For instance, Method Schools features a wide range of extracurriculars and socialization programs, including:
3. Myth: Online learning lacks personal interaction.
Reality: Instructors often have more opportunities to provide one-on-one guidance within online learning programs.
Some parents associate online programs, and technology, with emotionless robots or cold screens. In reality, online technology is freeing up instructors to give students more personalized attention than traditional classrooms in many instances. For example, self-paced learning programs allow students to spend extra time on difficult subjects and excel faster in areas they’ve already mastered.
At the same time, programs that operate off of built-in analytics lay out clear student performance data, so instructors and counselors can easily see how to help students succeed.
4. Myth: Online charter schools are the same as online private schools.
Reality: Online charter schools are public institutions.
Despite often being wrongly confused with private schools, online charter schools are actually free and open to the public—just like traditional public schools. In fact, according to the California Department of Education, online charter schools are legally prohibited from charging tuition or discriminating during the admission process.
Additionally, online charter schools are required to abide by national laws, such as discrimination laws. And unlike private schools, online charter schools are legally required to operate independent from any political or religious affiliations.
5. Myth: Online charters discourage student diversity.
Reality: Charter schools are more inclusive than traditional public schools.
Online K-12 schools and charters have both been mistakenly labeled as non-diverse or less accessible than traditional public schools or private schools. However, the opposite is true. According to a 2017-18 National Center for Education Statistics study, charter schools stand out as especially diverse in several instances:
- Black student enrollment: When compared to private schools, 16 percent more public charter schools had higher than 50 percent Black enrollment.
- Hispanic student enrollment: When compared to private schools, 21 percent more public charter schools had higher than 50 percent Hispanic student enrollment.
- Low-income students: When compared with traditional public schools, 12 percent more public charter schools were designated high-poverty schools
6. Myth: Online charter schools aren’t accountable to the public.
Reality: Online charter schools have to uphold a charter and legal standards.
Online charter schools aren’t regulated in the same way as traditional public schools, but they do have strict standards they need to uphold. While charter schools don’t need to pass decisions by a massive district school board, they usually do operate under an independent school board, and they need to uphold charter agreements. At the same time, online charter schools also must abide by federal and state laws as they deliver education.
Still, like traditional public schools, not all online charter schools will deliver the same level of education. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose an online charter school that’s accredited by a major regulatory body and that offers coursework approved by post-secondary entities, such as the NCAA and UC A-G.
Learn how online learning works.
As parents wake up to the truth about online charter schools, their advantages are becoming more and more clear. Still, not every online charter school will deliver the same level of education to your child. Method Schools is an online charter school that’s spent years mastering online learning and crafting an online learning community where students can thrive.
Interested in learning more about learning online with Method Schools? Contact us now, and we’ll answer all of your questions about joining our online learning community.