As the school choice movement grows in popularity across the country, parents are provided with increasingly more options when it comes to their children's education. Gone are the days when school choice meant deciding between the neighborhood public school and the often unaffordable local private school. Today, parents are considering a variety of schooling options, including charter schools, homeschooling, magnet schools, online schools, private schools, and traditional public schools. The school choice movement hasn't been without its critics, though, and the opponents of charter schools have been particularly vocal. These critics often accuse chart
er schools of taking much-needed resources--- and students-- from traditional neighborhood schools. Yet, parents are still choosing to enroll their children in charter schools every day and the number of new charters across the country continues to grow. What is it about these publicly funded independent schools that attract parents and students alike? Below we will consider the benefits of charter schools:
Diverse student population. While some critics claim that charter schools segregate students, most actually promote diversity. This is in contrast to traditional public schools, which reflect the population of the surrounding neighborhoods. Charter schools are open to all students, resulting in a more diverse student body.
Parental choice. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in an area with top-notch traditional public schools. Prior to the school choice movement, these parents were forced to choose between struggling neighborhood schools and costly private schools. With the addition of charter schools, parents have more choices, allowing them to choose the school that best meets their children's unique educational needs.
Accountability. Many people are drawn to charter schools because they're given more curricular and managerial freedom than traditional public schools. However, with increased freedom comes increased accountability. Charters contain specific goals for student achievement; schools that do not achieve these goals risk losing their charters. Additionally, charter schools are accountable to students, parents, and the community. If the schools are not run efficiently, parents will simply choose not to send their children to the school.
Ability to specialize. Many charter schools choose to specialize in a particular area, such as science and technology or performing arts. Thus, students who attend these schools can take classes that align with their interests-- often resulting in students who are more invested in their education. Some charter schools even allow students to choose a major so that they can further specialize their course schedule and prepare for college and a career.
Greater independence. While it's true that charter schools do have greater curricular and managerial freedom than traditional schools, they are still public schools. This means that they must follow the same major regulations and laws that apply to traditional public schools. However, because they're able to avoid much of the red tape associated with traditional schools, charter schools can devote more energy and resources to implementing high academic standards and helping students achieve educational excellence.
Reduced class size. Many charter schools have smaller class sizes than traditional public schools. This allows for students to have more one-on-one time with their teachers. By having the ability to focus on individual students' needs, teachers are able to ensure that students are receiving an equitable education.
At Method Schools, we provide many of the benefits of charter school education with a project-based learning focus. Our students don't experience a passive education based on lecturing and memorization. Instead, project-based learning provides our students with the opportunity to become directors of their own education and apply experiences beyond the walls of our schools. To learn more about the benefits of charter schools and to determine if Method Schools are the right choice for your student, contact us today.