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Aug 30

Public Schools vs. Charter Schools: Facts not Myths

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A new national study re-ignites the debate over the promise and limitations of charter schools. Created as alternatives to failing public schools, charter schools were supposed to offer more innovation and less bureaucracy. But what about academic achievement?

A new AFT study came out: Charter Schools Underperforming, Results Repeatedly Delayed

The study argues that IN THE WHOLE public schools are doing very well compared to charter schools.

This is just one study, but it is important to have the debate. Charter schools are GOOD alternatives to “mainstream” public schools (since charter schools are public themselves).

We definitely need to support all of our public schools. We need to take charter schools on a case by case basis. There are amazing ones, and bad ones (like anything else). Since a charter school can run things how they want, you have to take even more care.

57 Responses to “Public Schools vs. Charter Schools: Facts not Myths”

  1. Charter Student Says:

    Charter schools work. Despite the same name, every one is different. A lot are based at the lower-achieving students, so it is harldy a wonder why charter schools as a whole measured below. But for those targeting gifted students (such as my school), we make a clean sweep (1,2, and 3) for the state’s highest test scores.

    Charter schools also show some of the most improvement, regardless of who is being targeted as a student. The Department of Education can try and give all the statistics they like, but parents are going to want to be able to choose where their child goes to school.

  2. Julie Says:

    I attended a public High School in Mid-Michigan and I can say that I received a so-so education. My husband and I decided to put our son in a Charter School because we wanted our son and now our daughter to receive a Superior education with teachers that want to teach!!! not just teach the so-called “jocks” but also teach all childern and not put childern into special-ed that dont belong there. We feel that our Public Middle School and High School only want to teach the childern that can pick up the information the first time around and if you need extra help they do not offer it. They would rather forget about that student and move on. This is unexceptable!! When my husband and I tried to contact our local school district about our sons difficulties in certain areas of study they replied with that are son was not tring hard enough and they did not have the time to bother with him. Now he is in a Charter School and is doing WONDERFUL!!! OUR sons grades have improved 100% and so has his self esteem. THANK GOD FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS THEY HAVE ALL OF OUR SUPPORT!!

  3. dont know Says:

    i dont understand

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I am in eighth grade, and I used to go to a public school. I thought it was fine until I started going to BASIS Charter School. It is ranked the number one school in America (this ranking includes public and charter schools). Charter schools are much better. We all know that public schools are run by the government, and I know this will sound like some statement from a crazed revolutionary, but the government wants the public to be dumb. The only way to do this is to make public schools have very low standards. The average student should be taking way higher level classes then the ones in public schools. So, overall charter schools are much better than public schools.

  5. Aaron Says:

    Grades are meaningless out of context you can’t compare one teachers’ student’s grades to one another when one is a public school class and the other is a charter. The only thing you can compare is standardized scores. The charter teacher can give their students all A’s all the time if they choose, by using less content, or more remedial content. This makes the parents feel GREAT that there kids are doing so well, but I believe that is just called BLOWING SUNSHINE. The public school is held to the STATE MANDATED CURRICULUM called Grade Level Content Expectations (GLiCEs). It is only when the kids are answering the same questions can you compare the two groups. (In public school science you are taught to isolate the variable). And when all kids take the same test charter schools have never beat public overall, maybe one subject for one year but that is called a statistical anomaly (public school math).

  6. Charter student Says:

    I don’t know about all charter schools in general, but I know that mine has a very rigorous curriculum, because I am in calculus in 10th grade! Sometimes public schools just teach kids what is on the standardized test to blow their scores out of proportion, and even then, my 9th grade biology class last year had one of the highest averages in the state. Also, many of the kids in my chemistry class are taking honors, and several are taking AP. Even though charter schools don’t get as much money as public schools, they can still be good when the money is managed properly.

  7. dariyauna Says:

    i think public schools are better than charter schools

  8. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Comming from a charter school myself, I found it to be very academically challenging where the teachers could teach what is really important, not just what is on the standarized tests. Each charter school is different, however, before sending your child to a charter school, see what the goals of the charter school are, and the history of how past students have done.

  9. donovan Says:

    Charter schools are awsome! I am The 6th grade and went to public school in half the 3rd grade. It all started in missori when I went to kindergarden their laws said I was to young to start school so I waited till I was 7 after I went to kindergarden I went to a charter school and went up to the 2nd grade then I went to Shelia Tarr elementery school. They put me back a grade Because I swiched Charter Schools ant they said I did not finish 2nd grade. So I went to Odyssey Charter School and stuck with it ever scince. Charter School Is AWSOME!!!!

  10. Cassie Says:

    I currently am attending a charter high school. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a great school. We receive among the best test scores in our state, and much higher than the more popular, but just regular public schools, test scores. I know teachers well that I haven’t even had. We have extremely helpful college prep classes, and some life skills are thrown in there, too. My friend from middle school that used to yell at me for complaining about a low A, since she got D’s and C’s, now understands. Then she came to the charter with me, where D is failing. She grade grubs when she has lower A’s, actually does her homework, and has bucked up a lot. Compared to my A/B friend in middle school that went to a regular public school. She was flunking and so dropped out. She doesn’t really have a place to live, and has no plan for her future.
    I’m not saying that’s what happens in all cases, but it seems pretty clear that my charter school is much better than the public schools around here. Long live the charters!

  11. Courtney Says:

    I am a tenth grader at a charter school and I have been at this school for 8 years now. I used to go to my home district and I did not learn anything. The curriculum was off and the public school only catered to jocks and the populars. The entire student body was a completely different animal and I found that the teachers did not assign challenging work.

    In the second grade I transferred to the charter school I am at now and find it much better than my public school. I am challenged and luckily, my class is small, so if I need help I can receive one-on-one tutoring. If I am not being challenged enough, the teachers would give me extra work.

    My best friend had a huge problem with her home district’s public school: she was too smart for the math classes as she was bored. She then transferred to the school we both go to now and she is a tenth grader who just finished taking BC Calculus with Johns Hopkins, an opportunity she would not have had at her old public school.

    The funny thing is that my charter school was named the Charter School of the Year for 2007, which was nice!!

    Of course, each school is a case-by-case situation, but in my opinion, charter schools are much better than public schools.

  12. Paula Salt Says:

    Hi just reading some of the blogs, my grandson has been placed in a charter school starting in sept, he will be in second grade, i have some worry about this, are these charter schools for slow learners or troubled kids? and do they learn what he other children learn in school, I have heard many stories i do not know what to think. worried grandmother.

  13. Justin F. Says:

    Should I attend a charter school next year? Or is that a too complicated question to ask due to differences between all charter and public schools?

  14. Antares Says:

    I attended mesquite high school for 2 yrs in gilbert az and it blows!!! I did get A’s and B’s. im switching to leading edge academy, (a charter school) in hopes to be challenged more and feel like the teachers actully want me there

  15. Dawn Says:

    I am a parent of 3 children who attend a charter schools. My oldest is now in 8th grade and the last 2 years he was gotten straight A’s. I am tired of hearing that charter schools are lower than public schools. My children have to take standarized tests by the state just like the children at public schools take. If my children were not learning the same material they would not test as well as they are. My son is above level in some of his subjects. Public schools did not want to help him when he was struggling, they told us that we had to out of our own pocket test him elsewhere after we told them we would not medicate him.

    Yes, they told us he needed to be medicated because he was antsy. He was 8 years old…what child doesn’t get antsy at that age in hot weather! They did not want to help us at all.

    Everyone keeps saying charter schools are no good because they are relatively new and some people are afraid of the unknown. We have choices in everything we do: where to eat, where to shop, what to wear and where to even work. Why can’t we have a choice in our children’s education? What works for one child may not work for another. So lets go with what will work for that child because the bottom line is we want our children to the best they can be and to aim for the stars.

  16. Emi Says:

    I’ve been in a charter school for a little over a year, and the education is bettr then my second high school (I’ve moved around because of my military family so this is my third). However the system is oppresive and the student lack in social skills. As you can see in the previous comments these kids were in public school for elementary for a short amount of time and can’t really tell you the difference. Charter school is strict, not necissarily a bad thing, while public school can be more lax, also depending on the student might be fine. I like my charter school, but I miss the breathing room I had in public. Hopefully the other student lack in social skills won’t affect them so much, most of them are nice and accepting, though a little immature. Both are good, just depends on the preference

  17. stacy Says:

    i think that public schools ROCK!

  18. rashad Says:

    I do not doubt the quality of charter schools. These schools are allowed to choose who attend so if you are not allowed in you are put back into the public (and somewhat left for dead) schools. Charter school do not take children with disabilities and low test scores. In education terms this is called TRACKING. What this means is that you get put on a track and follow it through your education. So if you are on the high road, great. Follow it to a nice 4 year university. But what if you are not. More importantly what if your child is not. Say you child didn’t go to a charter school (maybe you couldn’t afford it or were a late bloomer) and didn’t receive a good enough education to go to college, how upset would you feel. The pure truth of charter schools are that someone is going to be left out. Not everyone can go to a charter school. It is a dangerous game to play. I’ve seen tracking in other countries first hand. I decimates the lower middle class and increases the class gap.

  19. Jess Says:

    Rashad: You are mistaken. Charter Schools DO NOT pick their students. It is based entirely on a lottery system and no students are turned away based on test scores or disability. In addition, charter schools are FREE. They are publicly funded. In fact, many parents of charter school children seek out charter schools, particulary in NYC, because they know their child needs special attention or a certain type of environment to succeed. I am a NYC charter school teacher. I’ve been teaching 2nd grade there for 3 years. My students are certainly not pampered and my class is certainly not the same. Each child is different, has different abilities, and different needs. It is not the population of student that makes a charter school different, it is the quality of education given to them. I’m not saying that all public schools are bad, because there are definitely many public schools that are wonderful. I can speak from my own experience when I do say that charter school teachers work their butt off to make sure ALL students achieve, even when many teachers would see a situation as hopeless. Charter schools were created because of failure in public schools and most charters service high needs, poor neighborhoods. You should check your information before making false comments.

  20. Pamela Says:

    My son is 11 and in the 6th grade but is reading at a 1st grade level and has tested as such. He has always been in public school and in a resorce class for an hour a day but does not seem to be improving. He is a smart kid but just cant read at all and he gets disapointed and gives up. I don’t know what to do. I am thinking of checking into a charter school but I dont know about them or if he would be accepted.

  21. Lillian Says:

    My search for charter schools for my children began when I found out through a friend that charter schools would take a child into kindergarten even after the birthday cut off date that all traditional public schools abide by. I knew that my daughter was ready and I wasn’t going to settle for her to wait a whole year to start kinder when she only missed the cut off date by a whole DAY! Because my child was born a day after the cut off date doesn’t mean that she is not ready or smart enough to start kindergarten. That’s total BS. But ironically, in my head I thanked the government for the whole birthday cut off date because if it weren’t for that then I wouldn’t have ever known about charter school. To make this long story short: Charter schools are state funded schools but with private school quality education, meaning that they have personalized individual attention and emphasis on each students reaching their full potential and they bring a higher standard of tuition free, public education to your child/ren. One may ask, “if charter schools are better why won’t everybody put their kids into charter schools?” The answer is simple, most charter schools have waiting lists, and these waiting lists serves a very good purpose, they limit the kids that are enrolled due to classroom/population control and your child isn’t merely another face in the classroom. It’s a fact that it is easier to teach and focus on 20 kids versus the 28-32 that they have in traditional public schools. and public schools have no right to refuse a child to education which in fact they really don’t get the education they need because there is simply too many kids in one class.

  22. Lisa Says:

    My oldest sone went to public school his entire academic career… youngest has been in public school since Pre-School and is now most likely going to be transferred to a charter school. My comment goes out to Rashad…..the charter schools I have looked in to actually assist troubled children and children with disabilites, not turn them away or accept them however not teach them. My nephew for example is in the 4th grade, has a disability, Aspergers, and has had difficulty with is behavior, learning mainly in the area of reading. Due to the charter schools usually having smaller classrooms, teachers can give more one on one individualized attention to each student. This charter school has not only been able to help my nephew deal with his behavior issues, however has helped him greatly with his academics. Not only can he read much better, he now wants to read! How wonderful is that! And my nephew now feels better about himself, another plus. So, in my opinion and as a skeptic of charter schools, I feel this is a positive and am willing to try this for the best interest of my son.

  23. S. Rickett Says:

    As an educator I find the blogs to be largely anecdotal, and I can’t conceive that anyone would make a decision between sending a child to public or charter schools based on them. Many questions remain unanswered, e.g., just what are charter schools required to do with testing compared with public schools? Are teacher evaluations tied to test scores in charters? No one mentions that charter schools are yet another privatization of American institutions that used to belong to the public and funded by taxpayer money. Charter schools are run by profit-making corporations. How can they possibly care about education? Public education has turned into a business where the bottom line is king. Parents and children are given a big box in flashy paper wrapped with a satin bow. The packaging is covered with words like freedom, innovation, new. Have any of the charter school enthusiasts looked inside the box?

  24. just me Says:

    i personally think that charter schools are looked over because you see public all don’t understand how it feels to be in a different enviorment. they hang around people who they connect with. \not to point out any one but i understand where you are all comeing from.when you are in a public school such as me you get to see a whole new life. public school is like a jungle you have your do’s and don’ have your different clicks and the populaur people are like the mammals you have so many. i also under stand where you would like to be in a smaller group but i’m not going to say anybody is wrong

  25. Mike Says:

    Great propaganda. Keep spreading the word. I have found that charter schools are not required to enroll those students who may be more challenging. Charter schools are not required by law to accept those students who are disabled or emotionally disturbed. If public schools could elect which students they would accept and select only those who are not disabled, either mildly or profoundly, conduct disorder, or emotionally disturbed the milieu would be more cost effective and educationally productive.

    When you have mandatory attendance laws that force young people to engage in activities that they are not so inclined they become oppositional and disruptive to the educational process. A more productive focus may be preparation for those employment markets that do not require the candidate to be able to demonstrate a high degree of educational competency. Unfortunately, even fast food employees need to have the ability to interact appropriately with peers and clients, as well as the ability to work efficiently with money. They are also not able to leave the job site to engage in the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or sexual activities during their duty time. This is problematic for those young people who have the opinion that they should be able come and go as they please to engage in any activity that they want to.

  26. camper trailers Says:

    As an educator I conceptualise the blogs to be largely anecdotical, and I can’t conceive that anyone would play a selection between sending a somebody to exoteric or charter schools based on them. Umteen questions remain nonreciprocal, e.g., rightful what are charter schools required to do with testing compared with world schools? Are educator evaluations bound to effort scores in charters? No one mentions that charter schools are yet added privatization of Ground institutions that used to belong to the people and funded by taxpayer money. Charter schools are run by profit-making

  27. no one Says:

    i know charter schools are awesome and all but wat r some of the good things about public schools?

  28. Jamie Says:

    Charter Schools vs Public Schools is a controversial topic. Each school has it’s pros and cons, but in the end the real results can only be based upon case-by-case events. I am currently a senior attending a well recognized public school, and I have been more than lucky to receive the education I have received. My school has it’s fair number of teachers who truly love what they do, and would in fact do anything for us. It would be wrong to say that every charter school is better than a public school, but on the other hand it is also false that every public school is better than a charter. Many factors such as school test scores, and classes offered all factor in to what makes one school “better” than another.

  29. Zoey Says:

    im in the 7th rade attending challenge to exelance. i feel as though charter school push cetain students to hard. like for example pne of my friends has speachail needs and we have this program were if you do well, have no missing assimnetts, have all a’s, and have no behivor or gum infractions you can have an extra dy outside to have fun and play sports, but my friend dosent have all a’s and had 2 missing assiments and they still wouldn’t let s/he partisapate. i am so angrey with my school and i no longer wish to go here.

  30. McKenna Says:

    Question : Why isn’t there any charter schools in wealthy areas ? Answer : Since there isn’t any need for them because public schools work quite well.Another question : If you switched the students from the local charter school and the local public school would the “better results” remain at the charter school ? Answer : Of course not. When I was growing up there was no choice – everyone went to the same school and it worked fine.

  31. Stephanie Says:

    So who funds these charter schools? Are they funneling monies away from the public schools? Must the charter school teachers be certified in the subject(s) that they teach, just like public school teachers? Who pays their salaries and how do they compare with the salaries of public school teachers?

  32. Sheri Thomas Says:

    I am so surprised that Charter Schools have even gotten this far. They are spreading public education funds too thin, they segregate, the education has not been proven better and I feel it is unconstitutional since it is unequal in the requirements to run the institution. Let’s face the fact that it was an idea to try to compensate parents who did not want to pay for private school but wanted more involvement in their childs education. It is not working and should be fazed out.

  33. Lillian Says:

    @ Mckenna, There are Charter Schools in Wealthy areas. Yes you are correct by saying that “we” (I am 30 years old) had no choice back in the day to as to what schools or types of school we could attend. But now in this age, we have several choices as to where we can enroll our kids. We aren’t tied down to a certain district. Now if for example you are in a rich area, then Yes public schools would probably be a great choice for your children. Now if you are from a “bad” area then as a parent you have that choice to not put your child in the local public school because charter schools allow you to do so. My point is, no matter what school choice you make for your child you need to do your research before you enroll your child, as for me, my kids are in a charter school that is in a “good/rich” area because they are able to provide my kids the proper education that I am looking for. Teacher to student ratio is very low and their standards of teaching is very high and not simply a “cookie cutter” curriculum mandated by the district or state. They can go outside the box, as they say.

  34. Sean Says:

    Stephanie: Charter Schools are Publicly funded. There are groups who estblish “companies” who can either have one school or have several
    charter schools under them. These companies are “For Profit” I know for a FACT that the Principals, vice Principals and Most teachers in these Schools have only the minimum, (If that ) of a Long Term Substitute License. I don’t know about anyone here, but trusting my child with those kind of credentials is very scary when i am preparing to turn my child out into the real world Knowing that they did not recieve the proper guidance. Would you want a Electrician, (Minimal Qualifications) Working on the Space Suttle Guidance Systems? Probably not. Charter Schools classes are less structured, (appealing to most youth), not as demanding, and requirements for graduating are far less than the Public Sector. Public Schools aren’t perfect, we all know that, but charter Schools are even worse.Follow the money trail. you won’t like what you find.

  35. Cameron Says:

    I have been in public school my whole life and i would like to say it never really challenged me but I didn’t desire to go to a different school because it wasnt ‘challenging enough to remain in the SCUSD’. You kids need to learn that easy comes and easy gets; and I really dont give a damn about your grades as, mine are mine own importance. I have never seen a bad school only bad teachers where there are some in charter schools and outside of them.

    eat at joes

  36. Bill Purcell Says:

    I have worked in 2 different charter schools in Northwest Indiana and I can report that both are miserable failures. The students are underserved, the classes over populated, the teachers as a rule ill qualified to teach, the leadership poor and the parent engaged only to the point of keeping the child in school. At a charter school in Gary, Indiana the director actually asks or sternly recommends teachers change grades to allow students to remain on sports teams. The school is always after teachers to stay late, volunteer and work for free. School personnel enter teachers rooms during class and ask for money for different fund raising efforts. They are just grossly unprofessional and the leadership rules by intimidation. Do what I want or you will loose your job! The student test scores on state tests do not reflect success but rather a dismal failure. We should discontinue charters before they drain off too much public school funding and bankrupt traditional public schools. Charters are a failed experiment.

  37. Joel T Says:

    Good schools are better than bad ones. Some public schools are good. Some are bad. Some charter schools are good. Some are bad. There are a lot of reasons that bad schools are bad. There are a lot of reasons that good schools are good. My wife and I have taught at a number of different schools. The best schools are the ones that have good leaders who attract and retain quality staff and foster a culture of achievement. In my experience there is not a strong correlation between socio-economic status, location, or school type and the quality of education. However, I have found that there is a very strong correlation between the quality of leadership in a school and the quality of education in a school.

  38. Elia Says:

    it is not at all about the school but the people within the school. anxd for those of you who say teachers in public schools are “jocks” think again! teachers in charter schools are ntot even requred to have a teaching degree. is this called “better education? Certainly not. At my high school, the teachers CARE ABOUT YOU.

  39. Chantel Bernardini Says:

    Have you seen the new documentary, Waiting for Superman? My gf teaches in a charter and that movie makes some great supporting arguments for them.

  40. Lynn Says:

    I have been a public school teacher for many years and have seen students come and go. I can tell you that students coming in from private schools and charter schools are usually behind the students I teach. The reality is that charter school suck the money from the public schools, and though some may show progress, most fail within the first 5 years. In public schools we are required to follow NCLB, charter schools do not. This means we don’t turn anyone away, service all needs, follow a strick level of standards per grade level, have to have teachers who are qualified professionals, and unfortunately follow some unjust laws. Instead of abandoning public schools, we should work to better them!

  41. Shellie Lynn Says:

    i’m doing a project on charter schools vs public schools and i’m really stuck cuz i dont know what to write- please help if you can e-mail me at,
    thanks =3

  42. Cammi Says:

    I have gone to public school for half of my schooling and attended a charter school for the other half. There are ups and downs to both of them. I loved the opportunities that I got at both of the schools. And- charter schools are not for every child, just like public schools are not for every child. But, I have to say- I am shocked at the misconceptions that a lot of people have about charter schools. I am honestly curious as to where you got your information. Did you do research and get factual information, as opposed to hearing it from somebody?

    Sheri Thomas- What gave you the absurd idea that charter schools were created to compensate parents who did not want to pay for private education? It is true, charter schools do not work for some students. But they do work for many students! (Including myself. I graduated with honors, both in high school and in college, went on to get my masters, and am now putting my education to use at work.) You say that charter schools are not working and should be fazed out. I strongly disagree! We, as the people of America, have certain freedoms that would be unconstitutional to take away, such as the right to education! Part of that right is that we get to choose how our children our educated. You cannot take the children that have been hurt by charter schools and base that on the whole system together! That is unfair.

    Sean and Elia- With my charter school, all of the teachers were REQUIRED to have a teaching degree. I was touched by many of my teachers. They cared about me, my education, and my future. Charter school classes are very much structured! Since I have attended both public and charter I can say from personal experience. My classes at the charter school were very challenging! I had to work very hard to get the grades that I earned. In public school, the work was very easy.

    Lynn- You may have had students that were behind the students that you teach. But, these students are such a small amount of children that the charter schools failed. It seems to me that when people like you argue against charter schools you only mention the small majority that were not right for charter schools, you did not mention the students that excelled in charter schools. How can you accurately justify your argument knowing that there were soo many more students that did receive a much better education that the students that you had?

    I strongly disagree with these statements that Sheri Thomas, Sean, Elia, and Lynn made. I am not saying that all charter schools are better than public schools. As I said before, it all depends on the students individual personality, learning style, and needs.

  43. charter school parent of 2 Says:

    I believe that there is good and bad in both traditional public schools and charter schools. My twins have been attending a charter school since kindergarten and they are now in 5th grade. I am more than happy with the curriculm and charcter taught. The extra help received in any subject a child needs extra help with. I believe in order to be a success a charter school has to work hard because unlike popular belief charters schools get whatever kids are pulled out of the lottery. Good, bad, or indifferent. I have watched my childrens school work with special needs children and heard a few parents say they chose the school because of really good special needs program they have. The first year my kids school took the state standardized test it was the worst scoring school in the state. Now only after six year of hard work it is the fourth highest scoring school in the state. These are low income, minority and special needs students in grades k-9. I know that there are charter school that don’t measure up and if they don’t met their AYP(adequate yearly progress) they should not remain open and drain funds from the traditional public schools. Traditional public schools who year after year continue to produce failing scores should also be accountable in some way. No one sends their kids to a school where only 28 percent are passing and reading and doing math on grade level. What’s happening to the rest of our children. Are they not educatable? Answer Yes they are. Are kids can and will learn. We as parents, teachers, and community leaders must strive to educate ALL students no mater the color or economic status. I found my kids school to not only educate my children but to challenge them.

  44. Ary Says:

    I go to a public school and feel like I am challenged to a sufficient amount. There is a public school in our town Called “Imagine”. Sounds like the best school in the world, right? I have never went there, but I have 3 friends that have and they all say that it was so easy, they wanted to go to a public school for more work. One said the teacher treated them like babies. Another’s mom liked it because they didnt care if she was late dropping them off at school( she is always late to everyrthing). The other said that when he switched to a public school, he had to be put in a special class to catch up.
    Another thing to think about is the fact that you dont even have to have a college education to be a teacher at a charter school! They also dont take ISTEP, or follow state standards. The only good thing is that they make theyre own school lunch, but charter schools are not a good choice. They make you think they are good by the improved grades you get, but its not because of good learning, its becaue they dont teach enough and make it too easy.
    Peace out.

  45. Jackie Says:

    I am one of 3 children in my household and each of us attended public school, kindergarten through 12th. While some teachers were not as good as others it is not fair to say Charter schools are the only schools with teachers who are interested in teaching. I had plenty of teachers who volunteered their time after school to tutor small groups of students. If a student is interested in doing well they will excel no matter what school they attend. It is too common for students who do poorly to blame it on their teacher. Parents do not want to accept that their child does not care about school and are creating their own problems. My two siblings and I have each graduated from a 4 year university and two of us are currently in post graduate university’s. We each attended an average High School but CHOOSE to do well and did fantastic. The problem is not public schools it is parents and children not wanting to face the truth when their child does poorly.

  46. kiya Says:

    I strongly agree with Cammi and I am really surprised at the false information presented.

    I have gone to public school for half of my schooling and attended a charter school for the other half. There are ups and downs to both of them. I loved the opportunities that I got at both of the schools. And- charter schools are not for every child, just like public schools are not for every child. But, I have to say- I am shocked at the misconceptions that a lot of people have about charter schools. I am honestly curious as to where you got your information. Did you do research and get factual information, as opposed to hearing it from somebody?

    Sheri Thomas- What gave you the absurd idea that charter schools were created to compensate parents who did not want to pay for private education? It is true, charter schools do not work for some students. But they do work for many students! (Including myself. I graduated with honors, both in high school and in college, went on to get my masters, and am now putting my education to use at work.) You say that charter schools are not working and should be fazed out. I strongly disagree! We, as the people of America, have certain freedoms that would be unconstitutional to take away, such as the right to education! Part of that right is that we get to choose how our children our educated. You cannot take the children that have been hurt by charter schools and base that on the whole system together! That is unfair.

    Sean and Elia- With my charter school, all of the teachers were REQUIRED to have a teaching degree. I was touched by many of my teachers. They cared about me, my education, and my future. Charter school classes are very much structured! Since I have attended both public and charter I can say from personal experience. My classes at the charter school were very challenging! I had to work very hard to get the grades that I earned. In public school, the work was very easy.

    Lynn- You may have had students that were behind the students that you teach. But, these students are such a small amount of children that the charter schools failed. It seems to me that when people like you argue against charter schools you only mention the small majority that were not right for charter schools, you did not mention the students that excelled in charter schools. How can you accurately justify your argument knowing that there were soo many more students that did receive a much better education that the students that you had?

    I strongly disagree with these statements that Sheri Thomas, Sean, Elia, and Lynn made. I am not saying that all charter schools are better than public schools. As I said before, it all depends on the students individual personality, learning style, and needs

  47. jdean Says:

    I am a public school teacher in TN. Our state is debating on making more Charter schools. So I decided to see what the difference is between public and charter. From everything that I have read it seems to me the difference is not the school but the people who make up the school…teachers, children and parents.
    They have started to be more strict with teacher evaluations in our county. The evaluations hold teachers to a higher standard…sort of like standardized testing for students. The evaluation process is more involved than it has been in the past. However, it has honestly helped me see where I can improve as an educator as well as getting immediate feedback from my principal and assistant principal on my strengths. We have 10 evaluations a year and it is a great opportunity for the administration to be in the classroom and to have the accountability.
    As a parent and a teacher I understand that parents want what is best for their children. We are a magnet school. Half of the students are from the school zone and half are from application (lottery process). This has worked very well for our school. I am a big advocate of having choice and not having to pay extra for a good education for my children! :) I know public schools across the country need reform…starting with the teachers! However, I am not convinced that creating charter schools is the answer. I am not O.K. with government money being given to a school that is not held to the same standards. I am all about supplementing with life skills and the arts…we have many wonderful opportunities at our public school that help create well rounded students. We do not teach to the test…but over time we realized our children didn’t know how to take a standardized test. So we have taught them (as just one of many life skills) HOW to take a test. I really hope public schools will see a big swing in the future toward positive teachers who are focused on teaching children and developing a community of learners with parents.

  48. Sherman Says:

    Virtually none of these claims are substantive. Sharing your unique — albeit anecdotal narratives — does not clarify the issue any further. If it were up to me, I would compare academic, standardized achievement scores between inner-city public schools and their charter counterparts. After all, charters aren’t necessary where public schools are performing adequately.

    For reference, I’m currently a senior at a USNWR Top-50 public school.

  49. Richard Says:

    I teach in a public school and I am still waiting to be amazed by Charters. Obviously Charter schools will seem more productive because they have less students (who they select), more parental involvement, and public funds to do whatever they like. Public schools do not have these luxuries. I have taught AP and regular students for years, and I know that both students and I work laboriously in my classroom. However, the outside situations become problematic in the public school (overcrowding, troubled home, etc). In Charters, they have less or none of these problems, so of course students will fair better. The proof of a good student, teacher, administration, parent is to make a public school more efficient. Prove yourself by helping the schools where you live, instead of lambasting them with tirades. If all school directs had an influx of Charters, wouldn’t that perpetuate the problems we’re having now with public school? Think ABOUT IT!

  50. Tabitha Says:

    I enrolled my daughter into PreK at a Charter School in Texas. I went to public school in Oregon, where they didn’t have any sort of laws about attendance, and really, it was on me whether I wanted to graduate or not. The first two years, I had D’s and F’s. My counselor was the only person trying to “help me” but basically she told me that if I didn’t attend class and put forth effort, I wouldn’t graduate. That was enough to scare me straight, but that isn’t always enough for many other children. My husband went to a private school in California. Back to my daughter…. I was going to put her in the public elementary down the street, but their pre-k program is only three hours a day. From 11:30 to 2:30. How inconvenient is that? A neighbor told me about the Charter School her children go to so I did my research as any parent should before making big decisions for their children. Firstly, to answer people’s questions regarding funding, charter schools receive federal funding. When I applied for my daughter, the administration had me fill out an application for free/reduced lunch before they could take my full app, so I’m assuming that is the qualifier for THIS school. I’m sure other schools have different qualifiers, but of course they are not allowed to discrimate based on race, sex, gender, religion, etc. What I love about the school is the wear uniforms (a strict uniform policy), they split up the age brackets from PreK to 3rd, 4th to 6th, 7th and 8th and 9 to 12th in different schools, they require from 1st grade on that the students get an 80 % on all assignments, if they don’t they have to attend mandatory Saturday and/or Summer school, parent involvement is required (parent’s must participate in at least two school functions like PTA meetings, field trips, etc) and when I checked the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) report card (which is public information btw), they scored higher in all subjects than the elementary my daughter would have went to by at least 5 – 10 %. Texas has the mandatory attendance laws (10 missed days and the parent is taken to court) and we also have a standardized state testing that all charter schools must have their students take along with the public schools.

    So to me, the charter school looks to be a very good alternative to public school but everyone’s opinion and experience is different. Also, there is no reason why anyone cannot try either if they think they might get a better result elsewhere. :)

  51. Robert D. Skeels Says:

    There’s an error in this post, it states “since charter schools are public themselves.” This simply isn’t true.

    Charters are privately managed entities whose only claim to the word public is the fact that they drain public funds. Dozens of court cases have ruled that charter schools are not “public entities.” Two well known examples include the following:

    The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010-01-04) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT “public actors.”

    The California Court of Appeals (2007-01-10) which ruled that charter-voucher schools are NOT “public agents.”

    Moreover, the US Census Department expressed difficulty in obtaining information from charter-voucher schools because the aren’t public entities.

    I know in the light of all the scandals and bad press ( that supporters of lucrative charters are desperate to paint them as public schools, but outside the corporate spin cycle that is the the school privatization camp, charters have been found to be anything but public.

  52. Charter? Says:

    It’s pretty simple to say that charter schools are better than public schools if they are “gifted and talented”. Heck, if I took all the best students from neighboring districts and put them together in one school I would be scoring off the charts as a school. DUH!!!! The problem here is that public schools do the same or better than most charter schools. If you compare a charter school that has a variety of levels of students then public educations beats them hands down. So, do we really have to spend millions or billions of dollars on creating charter schools? I don’t think so. What we need is to re-evaluate what our goals are and how we educate the students in our classrooms. Anyone can teach gifted and talented students. The trick is to teaching less advantaged children and showing the importance of education to them. Do charter schools do better than public schools? Who knows…charter schools can throw out students to cause trouble or underperform. Where do those students end up? Back in public schools….how about this. We make a rule…if a charter school accepts a student then they MUST keep them in their system until they go to college. How do you think they will do?
    One more thing…require all charter/parochial/public schools to follow the same rules required by the state. As of now public schools have a slew of rules to follow but not charter or parochial schools…….

  53. Christy Says:

    As I sit here and read the above post I want to cry. Listening to most of you and what you think of public schools breaks my heart. All I hear is how horrible they are and how we do not care about those children who are slow to learn or need a bit of extra help. I work in a public school as a Para professional/Aid to children with autism. I also help other kids in the reg. ed. class room that are not up to speed academically. All the teacher I work with try so hard to help every child that comes through their doors. And I have noticed that it is not the teachers fault or the “governments” fault for the lack of education our children are receiving. It is the Parents fault for not being involved with their children’s home work, their school programs or being willing to help out in the class room. On average when we send out 24 cry’s for help to our parents we only get one or two responses. And it is always the same parents coming to help. The children who have poor behavior in our reg ed class’s will very rarely have a parent who is involved. O but how we hear about the horrible job we are doing as teachers when their kids end up in trouble. I would like to know how any of you who bad mouth our public school system help out and try to make it better. If you do not help to change it by lending a hand please shut your mouth and move on to something else. Every child deserve the right to a good education but if you as a parent cant step up to the plate and help out it is no ones fault but your own if you child suffers. I would love to see each and every one of you to try to teach a class room of 24 or more children with at least half of them from broken families and some of them who are being abused in many different ways. I can go on all night but why.. you will not listen anyway…. O ya and part of my pay check is spent every week on buying food for kids who’s parents are to lazy to pack a lunch for them or to proud to apply for reduced or free lunch for their kids..

  54. colorado Says:

    I use to go to a charter school and I hated it. I was crying every day. The teachers always picked their favorites, the uniforms were ugly and they were molding us to be perfect gray squares, they told you when to sit and shake. They always held your hand gave you step by step instructions. But let me ask you this who is going to be there to guide you in the real world? Over all I had a terrible experience at my charter school.

  55. Cassie Says:

    I’ve attended a charter Montessori school, a private catholic school, a public school & an online charter highschool. My public school was the only A+ school in its district and by far the wealthiest. It was debatably one of the best high schools in the state. It was the worst school I have ever been to. It inefficiently blew through funding, denied education & advancement opportunities, and outright abolished a student’s personal liberties. In fact, the only teacher I had who made a difference broke almost every school faculty rule. He never made us turn in homework (he aced us all in the mandatory homework portion of our report card because he believed that if we knew the stuff, we didn’t need to add even more busy work to our inane work load – and if we didn’t know it, if we didn’t do the homework, it’d show in our test scores), he allowed us to use cell phones in class, to bring in snacks or drinks, to sit where we wanted (the school had required assigned seating – cant tell you what educational purpose that served), he only used 1 of the 4 weeks he was required to spend on standardized testing(because we knew it all), and if we were tardy, he just marked us as present and we got to take what we could get for the remaining portion of class (it was school policy that even if you were 30 seconds late, you were denied access to your classroom and were refused the right to be present for the lesson. Instead of receiving your education & a tardy, you were forced to sit silent in a detention room for the entire school period). He taught the AP Calclus Dual Enrollment classes. Hard classes. Yet, even with his challenging quizzes, not one kid dropped below a C average. Why? Because he didn’t teach like a public school teacher is supposed to.

    I will say this: I do not think it is at the sole fault of the teachers. I think a lot of them really strive to do right by kids. But when you’re required to teach restrictive, preapproved lessons, waste precious time preparing for inane state testing, be declined freedom to alternate teaching methods, and have to cater to 30+ students with different learning styles and interests – you are set up to fail. I also don’t think teachers are blameless Because public schools have some REALLY bad teachers. Worse than charter school teachers. Because public school teachers have the teachers union- and charter schools usually refuse to hire union teachers (and many teachers leave the unions just so they can teach at charters). The teachers unions protect bad teachers from being fired. Plain and simple. Only about 1% of teachers will be fired and it usually costs around $150,000 in litigation fees to fire a union teacher. So most schools don’t bother. They just keep bad teachers around. It is easy to see why union teachers don’t like charters (watch ‘The Lottery’ or ‘Waiting for Superman’ for more info). Protecting bad teachers simply based on tenure does a huge disservice to schools – and public school teachers and their unions let this happen.

    Another big thing people have to realize: I keep hearing teachers complain that 1) charter schools are heartless corporations who don’t help kids but are also 2) stealing all the funding from public schools!!! To answer 1) charter schools are usually opened by school districts or non profit organizations. Sometimes, yes, Corporations can manage charter schools. HOWEVER, charter schools are ALWAYS nonprofit organizations & corporate charter schools are ran exactly like CORPORATE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 2) Charter schools don’t steal money from public schools. What happens is that funding is based on enrollment and when a child leaves a public school, their funding goes to the school they enroll in. That’s not stealing from public schools – that’s giving the money to who it belongs. The student. It should also be noted that public schools spend on average $2000 more per student than charters (some articles will you tell you otherwise but that is because they’re not taking into account building costs that are absorbed by private funding in charters – public schools outspend charters on ‘educational resources’ by a huge margin). And, you know what happens to a public school that has HORRIBLE testing results? Taxpayers have to toss more money at them. Which doesn’t help. (I.E. New York spends $18,000 a year on public education PER student and 38% of their students are not meeting testing requirements. Utah spends $6,000 a year per student and 20% of their students aren’t meeting standards. Utah spends 1/3rd as much money and gets twice the results). So when public schools fail, we reward them with money. When a charter school doesn’t meet requirements? They shut down. No monetary reward for not doing their job – they lose funding. So far all who say charters are oh so awful – if they we’re really as horrible as you say, they’d be shut down. Can’t say the same about awful public schools.

    Another myth brought up was that charters don’t have special Ed kids or poor kids(my public highschool, by the way, had a closed enrollment so that only kids in close proximity could attend – denying the option of the school for kids in surrounding lower-income areas). Charters are not allowed to deny entrance to any child – they usually work by first come, first serve or with a lottery. They accept and work with children with an IEP and special needs. Their “special needs” classes do have a lower percentage of students but only at the end of the year. If you look at the percentage at the beginning of enrollment – it mirrors public schools. What happens is that charters can provide a lot more individual attention and they are able to test students out of special needs classes because they catch them up to grade level. Public schools fail to do this.

    Another myth I saw in the comments is that charter schools are not upheld to state standards. This is laughable. They are authorized by the school district or the state education department – and must submit to the same standardized testing. They are also held accountable to parents.

    Right now, my 6 year old attends a charter school called Georgia Cyber Academy. It is a corporate ran charter through K12 that works under the overhead of the Georgia Education Department. It is a free Online school that essentially allows parents to homeschool their children while receiving curriculum, teacher guidance, and personalized lesson plans at no cost. It is individually catered to the child. While my “kindergartner” is in history, science and health at a Kindergartner level, she is at a 1st grade level for math and a 2nd grade level for language and phonics. She has a teacher who evaluates her quarterly and whom preformed her required state evaluation. We log required attendance, but also are allowed the flexibility of doing school on week days or taking days off without being penalized or put “behind.” She learns thing in the manner that best helps her learn and she Does not get in trouble for dress code or lapses of Judgment or for Needing to take a break to Regroup. I’d like to see a public school that does that.

    However, what most people dont know, is that the biggest benefit to charter schools is liberty. Charter schools tend to allow a lot more freedom of thought and most even insist that the children and parents make their complaints vocal because their charter depends on the happiness of their kids and parents. You also see a lot less ‘required’ forms of writing (MLAA or ‘when I ask what you think, I’m really grading you on your ability to tell me what I want to hear’ papers) and you see far fewer limitations on ‘allowed’ topics because the charters usually don’t push kids away from freedom of expression. They usually offer a lot more alternative classes to cater to kids’ interests or to help them reach future occupational goals. They also usually have open campuses and less arbitary rules (like no cell phones or no soda machines or no PDA or no headphones). Public schools are government schools and oh boy do they push the method of unquestioned obedience. Kids at public schools are not allowed freedom of expression, protection against search and seizure, the ability to gather & protest, etc. They have to obey the sometimes unfair, unjust and unconstitutional demands of educators and directors. There is an obvious de facto ban on students requesting a say in the education they’re receiving. And God forbid the kid is “weird.” They cant read ‘controversial books’ or wear activist apparel or dye their hair ‘funny’ colors. One public school in New York just banned the word freedom to prevent the kids from coming together to protest the establishment. I’m sorry, but as one man said, “a ‘free education’ that enslaves the mind is a high price to pay.”

    Not all charters do this and not all of them are super amazing, and some are basically public schools with uniforms, but a huge chunk of them are way better than theyre made out to be. I can’t believe that the naive and passionate devotion people have to public schools is so clouded by misinformation that they will defend their failing system at the expense of the children.

  56. whocares Says:

    I have attended both Public and Charter school & to frankly honest I hate Public schools the teachers going on strike is stupid. They wouldn’t be able to live one day in a Charter school teacher shoes, they can’t handle that type of work.That’s why they want a raise now that they have longer days cant handle that shit,their fucking stupid. Charter Schools are so much better. Teachers have higher quality education and have graduated with honors from top colleges not like public schools.Not only that teachers are a lot more knowledgeable and have better teaching skill,they teach to standards. I haven also seen they work a lot harder and give actual attention to students one on one.Point is that charter schools are a lot more helpful not only for kids but for the communities that have over crowded public schools. I would never send my kids to a public school to get picked on by their own disrespectful teachers (like the school Columbia Explorers located in Chicago on kedzie) Teachers at Charter Schools such as UNO I have never meet more respectful and caring schools who show intrest in the kids education and the involvement of the parents.

  57. whocares Says:

    TO RICHARD: my charter school doesn’t “select” anyone dumb-ass and it gives equal education to all everyone gets it they are trying to help everyone not just “smart” kids and it helps over crowded school so be quiet.

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