Charter vs. Public Schools
Are charter schools harmful to communities?
I’m a fairly new parent. My son won’t attend kindergarten until 2013 so at the moment my only goal is to find a great school and make sure we are within the cluster for that school. Private schools, public schools and even charter schools are an option for us. But last week when I attended the first Gwinnett County School Board meeting, I got a fresh revelation that charter schools may not be the best choice for the community.
Anyhow, I went to the meeting and heard a lot of great things going on within Gwinnett County Schools. The agenda entailed student recognitions for awards, SPLOST financial reports, many other important topics, but one that the board continued to revisit was the possibility of a Nov. 6th ballot vote for statewide charter schools. At first I didn’t understand what the big deal was but after listening to the board’s letter of opposition, I somewhat have an idea.
Charter Schools Pros and Cons:
Pros… In my opinion, charter schools are like the perfect marriage between public schools and private schools. For instance, most charter schools require uniforms, require almost zero tuition and students have to be accepted to attend. Additionally, the school can take a different approach beyond the norm of teaching. Lastly, charter schools are held accountable for their academic outcomes through the same state testing as public schools.
Cons… A portion of their funding comes from local taxes, everyone can’t attend unless they are accepted through lottery, it in no way is beneficial for local public schools, and businesses that donate to public schools could give their money to charter schools.
Besides the local funding, charter schools are approved by local school boards, however if the Nov. 6th vote in favor of statewide charter schools passes, the current power of local school boards will change. This could result in an overflow of charter schools in the area, which then would result in a greater demand for local funding.
So it makes since that some school board superintendents, would want to maintain control of the amount of charter schools in the area. Especially since those who attend the charter schools do not have to be local residents. For example, a parent who lives in Lawrenceville could send their child to a charter school in Norcross, but their tax dollars for school would still remain in Lawrenceville. This is the same thing that happens when a student requests a transfer to go to another school outside of their city.
As long as the local public schools are producing the outcomes that parents hope for, then there is no need to worry. If you know your school is not producing the best outcomes possible then worry. Honestly, as a parent if I were in a school district that was not to my liking or was failing completely, I would pick a charter school and the more there are in the area the more options parents have.
Do you think charter schools are harmful or helpful to the community? Tell us in the comment section below.