Tag Archives: charter schools

What is a Charter School?

For those looking into alternative options of education for their children, you might be wondering what is a charter school? Charter schools are fairly recent type of schooling and education used as an alternative to public schools. In this article we are going to try to answer the what is a charter school question and highlight some of the pros and cons of charter schools.

What is a charter school?
A charter school in the United States can be either a primary or secondary school that receives its funding from both public and private resources. Because there are many private donations required to keep a charter school funded, they are not subject to the same conditions and regulations put forth on public schools. The fact that they are also publicly funded using state education dollars to help operate, charter schools cannot charge a tuition. However, charter schools are often more flexible and provide alternative methods for some aspects of education including transportation as well as education and teaching methods.

When trying to find out what is a charter school, you might also learn that a charter school can be founded by parents, community members or by the school district if they see a need for such an institution within the area. One requirement made, because of the public funding, is that the charter school administration must set forth a curriculum including goals and achievement levels to be monitored over by the school board. However, these do not have to be the same goals and requirements mandated by the school district for public schools. The charter is then reviewed every couple of years and the school board determines whether or not it is effective in teaching its students.

For parents wondering what is a charter school, you might also be wondering what are the advantages of sending your children to a charter school. Many parents decide to enroll their children in a charter school based on the many unique opportunities and advantages offered at charter schools that may not be available at public schools.

Some charter school benefits may include:

  • Smaller class sizes and more individualized attention
  • Giving parents a greater say in their child’s education
  • Schools are required to be accountable for their performance
  • Teachers are allowed to try innovative teaching methods
  • More opportunities are given to teachers
  • Teachers choose to work there, which may mean they are more likely to be committed to the school’s educational mission.

Charter schools vary drastically from state-to-state when it comes to admission, teaching methods and overall operation. Some charter schools place strict restrictions on the children that are admitted to the school. Generally, waiting lists or lottery-style methods will be used to help determine how many and which children are admitted to the charter school. There is also a cap placed on charter schools meaning that there can only be so many per state. Many charter schools also place limits on the number of students they will admit. However, public funding often relies on the number of students each charter school has attending.

If a charter school does not have enough students to fill all the classrooms, the school will experience a reduction in funding. This means they do not have as much money to operate and may lose their charter as a result. There are several different reasons a charter school could lose its ability to operate. One of these is financial reasons. If there is not enough public or private funding coming in, the school will be forced to close. Another reason the school charter might be revoked is because the standards set forth by the school board are not being met and the students are not receiving a quality education.

For parents who were wondering what is a charter school, it is still a good idea to visit and tour each charter school you may be considering for your child. Interview the administration as well as teachers to get a good feel of how the school operates. Sometimes charter schools are not for all students an it is a good idea to know how the school’s teaching method and administration work to determine if  a particular charter school would be a good option for your child.

Visit EeducationBug.org to get more information on public schools vs charter schools and more!

Sources: http://www.jdnews.com, http://www.uscharterschools.org

August Survey Halfway Report

Halfway through our August survey on the Obama administration’s education leadership, we bring you a report of the results so far. If you haven’t yet participated in our August survey, you can vote here.

The survey question this month is:

Do you think the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are doing a good job of leading the country in the right direction with education?

The answer choices are:

• Yes: they really “get it.”

• Yes, national standards and the reform funded by Race to the Top are really needed, but we still need an overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

• Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with.

• No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way.

• No, some things are okay, but Race to the Top and the national standards are a major step in the wrong direction in terms of educational quality and giving up local control.

• No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more.

Other (please specify)

So far, 81 votes have been cast, with 19 people (23.4%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘Yes,’ 55 (67.9%) voting for one of the three answers beginning ‘No,’ and 7 (8.6%) choosing ‘Other’ and leaving a comment.

The leading answer is: “No, the federal government should be moving towards less involvement in education, rather than more,” which has 33.3% of the vote.

Second place goes to: “No, they’re off-track in just about every possible way,” with 24.7% of the vote.

The least chosen answer is: “Yes, the oversight of the for-profit schools is critical, and the other things I can live with,” with 2.5% of the vote.

The responses to ‘Other’ include the following (lightly edited for typos, etc.):

• “After 10 years in education I have left the classroom and taken my 3 children with me, we will be homeshooling from now on. Until NCLB is recognized as the “Every Child Held Back” program that it is and we stop punishing teachers for going into the most illiterate schools in the country by touting Pay for Performance as a means of rewarding teachers that take the easy way out, it really isn’t that hard to teach children who can read and write BEFORE coming to school and who have parental support; well until that time my children and I will not set foot in a public school again.”

• “not so rigid on certification for international teachers who are already certified and brilliant on their country. And no discrimination on application. They are employing a lot of international teachers not knowing they are victimized by private agencies hiring them back home, charging them their whole salary upon employed and leaving them destitute and not to be renewed for the next school year because of the probationary certificate for the expensive visa they have paid from hard work. May the government have pity on the poor but bright international teachers that they are hiring for lack of teachers in science, math and special ed in the USA.”

• “Education is one of the small things in these bad economic times. Obama needs to get the economy better before he tries anything big like education.”

• “NCLB needs a major over-haul, less emphasis on AYP [Annual Yearly Progress] and less testing requirements. Students should not be tested every year, every other is plenty. National standards are already in place and working well. Merit pay could work if done right: it should be based on teacher performance and training, not student performance. Race to the Top as it stands will harm students. The biggest change that needs to happen is FUNDING REFORM. School funding should not be linked to property tax. At least half of school funding should come from the federal government. Our schools are not equitable and no amount of reform will help our students until school funding is equitable.”

• “I’M HOMESCHOOLING AND NOT LEAVING IT UP TO ANYBODY BUT ME AND GOD.”

• “Get rid of the Unions and schools might have a chance!”

• “more vouchers and school choice—they are good on charter schools

If you haven’t yet voted, we’d like to include your opinion for our final report, so please take the survey here.

Charter Schools in the News

When you see a news article such as “Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools Is Mixed” in the New York Times, it may get you thinking about charter schools. But the way this article is written, you aren’t given the background on what a charter school is until a good part of the way through the article. This is one of the times when you may find Educationbug.org useful.

We have articles on basic types of schools, of which charter schools are one. You can find an article that explains the background of charter schools titled “Public Schools vs. Charter Schools.” The article helps clarify that, although many people may think charter schools are private schools, they are actually a type of public school.

On Educationbug.org, you can also find explanatory articles about other types of school, including public schools, private schools, Christian schools, and homeschools. In any case when you see a news story about an education issue involving a specific type of school and want to get a little background, check out the Education Bug school articles.

Advantages of Public Schools

People who live in the United States have one of the greatest opportunities there are in life, this opportunity is education. Not only do Americans have the opportunity to obtain an education but they are also given a number of choices in the way they wish to receive this education. People in America have the choice whether they want to go to Public School, Private School, Charter School, Christian School, Magnet School, or even be homeschooled. We have had many blog posts offering comparisons of these different options. Today, I would like to take just a moment to compare the advantages of Public Schools versus private schools and homeschools.

A few advantages of Public School vs. Private School:

  • Transportation is often included for no additional cost.
  • No tuition costs.
  • Choice of Public, Magnet, or Charter School.
  • Strict teacher certification rules.
  • Special programs and funding for disabilities and more.

A few advantages of Public School vs. Homeschool:

  • Have a large range of socioeconomic and different backgrounds.
  • Have students with a range of abilities and talents.
  • Number of children in classroom.
  • Funding for equipment and activities.
  • Funding at high school levels allows for sports, arts, and technical programs.
  • Offer a wide variety of social clubs, activities, and sports.

Every person, every family, and every situation is different. What works for one person may not work for another. These articles are provided so you can make an informed decision on what may work best for your family and your situation. The important thing is that we continue to educate our children and ourselves.

Homeschool Preschool

There are many things parents can do to prepare their children for school. Whether you decide to send your children to a public school, private school, charter school, magnet school, or to homeschool them if you take the time to teach them some basics they are more likely to succeed throughout their school years. By teaching your preschooler basic reading, writing, and math skills your child will be better equipped to start school without being overwhelmed.

There are many fun-filled ways of teaching preschool age children. In fact, it is the easiest time in their life to learn. You can even teach them things without them feeling like they are being taught. By reading to them every day, playing guessing games, card games, counting games, etc…You can make almost anything you do during the day into an educational experience.

There are a few homeschool preschool curriculum’s available to help, if you are struggling with ideas. Keep in mind most states do not have any educational requirements that include preschool, therefore homeschool preschool does not have to be documented and will count as credit towards their educational graduation requirements. That is not to say they will not be rewarded, the education in and of itself will be a huge reward. You may also wish to reward them for their accomplishments as it will help them gain a sense of self esteem and accomplishment.

Charter Schools

When thinking about your childs education have you ever considered a charter school? Or are you even aware of what a charter school is? What is the difference between public schools, magnet schools, and charter schools? In our recent post we talked about magnet schools. Now I would just like to point out a few benefits of charter schools.

  • All students have opportunities for quality education
  • Parents and students are offered another choice for public education
  • Teachers and administrators are given room to be creative in helping students learn
  • Charter schools have to be accountable for their performance
  • Teachers are allowed to try innovative teaching methods
  • Involvement by parents and the community in education are encouraged
  • Smaller school and class size, providing lower student/teacher ratios
  • Teachers choose to work at charter schools so they are committed to the school’s mission

Click here to learn more about charter schools.

Our Education World

The education world as we know it in the United States is about to change. President Obama has put education reform at the top of his priority list. He has stated, “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a prerequisite.”
This is a bold statement to me, it tells me if we are going to stand strong as a country, and be able to compete intellectually on a global level, we have got to start taking education seriously and make some significant changes.
Our most recent article addresses some of the education reform issues such as; school choice (public, magnet, charter), school financial reform, standardized education, and more…

California Schools

I recently posted an article about year round school statistics. There are a number of great reasons why year round school is the best option. Just to name a few:
*Children retain information better when they have several short breaks vs. a 3 month vacation.
*If you plan vacations during these breaks they are not usually when every other school in the nation is trying to go to the same hot spots which will save you money and help avoid crowds and long lines.
*It is easier to find daycare services for small children for short periods of time vs. summer time when many programs fill up.

In my research I found California is leading the nation by far in year round schooling with over 1,300 schools that participate in year round schooling. Which has prompted me to share more information about California schools.
At our website http://www.educationbug.org/ we have loads of information on nearly every school in every state. This is a great resource for anyone who is looking into what options are available for education in California schools. We have categorized the schools into groups such as; California Public Schools, California Private Schools, California School Districts, California Public Libraries, California Colleges, and California Universities.

Within each category you have the option to search for a school within any city, county, or even by the name of the school and type. Within these links you will be able to find specific statistics, reviews, maps, contact information, and much more on each individual school.

And if you are not sure whether you want your children to attend a public school, private school, a charter school, or even thinking about homeschooling you will find our articles that compare what these different types of schools have to offer very interesting.

School issue and grammar series

In continuance of a series on your options for educating your children and the issues you may face when doing so, we recently posted an article comparing questions you may have when considering to place your child in a public vs. charter school. In this article we break down the USDOE’s definition of regular (primary, middle, high, and other) public schools. As well as 3 other categories consisting of special education, vocational education, and alternative education. We also review your options when considering a charter or magnet school. If you are confused about the differences in what these schools have to offer or the way they structured this article is a must read. As an earlier part of this series we posted an article concerning public vs. home schooling which addresses the pros and cons for anyone considering these options.

In previous posts we have addressed the issues of when it is appropriate to use “its vs. it’s” , “a vs. an”, and “to vs. too”. In an effort to continue to assist in clarifying when a certain word is appropriate to use over another we have added an article about using the word than vs. then. We continue to get positive feedback on these articles explaining how helpful they have been and asking that we continue to provide them. There are many words in the English language that are very similar in spelling or meaning and these articles are very useful in helping clarify when, where, what, or which one is proper to use.