Charter schools

Charter schools

Charter Schools provide a relatively new style of education and one that is rapidly gaining momentum with every passing year. Education is a very crucial aspect of a nation’s progress or decline, and it deserves every support that can be extended. A charter school is publicly funded & independently managed. The idea was brought forth in Minnesota with the objective to curb red tape which revolved around public schools and grant more freedom to educators. Charter schools are tuition-free and are bound to a contract or charter that defines the guidelines, academic goals and accountability requirements. As of 2018, there are 7000 charter schools in 43 states and D.C. with over 3.2 million students and 219 thousand teachers. Let’s have a glance at the pros and cons of this innovative idea and see what people think about it.

National statistics show that about 17 percent of the students in charter schools performed remarkably better than their traditional public-school counterparts. Thirty-seven percent of the students performed significantly worse, and the remaining 46 percent were on the same turf as the students in traditional public schools. These stats make charter schools fall in a no gain no loss gamble. However, in a time of cut-throat competition and non-availability of seats, charter schools offer multiple options to parents. These schools have a higher degree of autonomy and have the freedom to incorporate new teaching methods. These school communities are usually close-knit as the reasons for attending such schools are standard. Reports suggest that there are fewer disciplinary problems overall because of greater parental involvement and small size. The charters often employ high-quality certified teachers. At some schools, it is mandatory for the teacher to be State certified & Montessori certified which enhances the overall credibility of the teaching staff. On the downside, most start-up charters have a hard time finding their finance and location. Charters largely depend on families, communities, and corporations for donations and fundraising.

Parents are often disappointed with the lack of extra-curricular activities. Opponents also argue that there is a lack of student diversity – racially, economically and academically. Charter schools enroll students by public lottery which often leads to long waiting lists if there are many applications in a local charter. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has always been a strong proponent of the Charter school system of education. On January 23, 2019, Hogan announced his plans to catapult Charter schools’ growth. He proposed increasing the funding of charter schools in Maryland and dedicating $1.2 million to charter schools from Health School Facility Fund. Legislative director for the Maryland teacher’s union, Sean Johnson has criticized Hogan’s decision by saying that this plan will deprive traditional public schools of much-needed funding. Proponents believe that it should be given more time and encouragement as it is a relatively new concept and results take time.

There is a growing demand for quality education in the country and only time will tell how well charter schools measure up to the expectations of the country. What are your thoughts? Do you support charter schools?

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