Public, Private, Charter – What’s the Difference?

Every parent wants to do their best in helping their child succeed in school. It starts with picking the perfect school to fit your child and your family. There is constant debate over private, public, and charter schools, and which type of school is the absolute best.

The truth is, neither of three are the best.
I know it may be hard to hear, but it really depends on which one best fits the needs of your family. Private schools of course come with a hefty tuition, but that tuition goes toward a plethora of experiences that your district school may not have the funds to make happen. A charter school can provide an education centered around a specific career path or set of values that other schools may not focus on. And a public school can provide insight in a wide range of learning categories and interests for free.

So how can you decide which type of school is right for your family? Let’s compare the pros of each school and we’ll let you decide.

Charter Schools

Untitled design (13)

Charter schools are independently run public schools. Founders of each school write the school’s “charter”, which acts as the school’s contract and details the mission, program, goals, and methods of assessment. Each school is responsible for upholding their charter and meeting standard performance goals. Here are some key points parents should know about charter schools.

  • Free tuition for children within district and some neighboring towns
  • Rely on federal, state and local funding
  • Cannot discriminate admission based on race, gender, disability, or finances
  • Founded by parents, administrators, teachers, or business people
  • Programs aligned with the charter school’s founding mission
  • State regulates and enforces educational standards
  • Can be shut down if they do not meet set requirements
  • Limited spots available
  • Some extremely popular schools use lottery systems to determine who gets in
  • Aligned with state certification requirements

Public Schools

Untitled design (14)

Public schools are publicly funded and provide free education to those within the district or community. They are run by the town in which they serve. They must strictly follow state standards and are held responsible for meeting certain performance standards. If they do not meet such standards they can be taken over by the state. Here are some key points that parents should know about public schools.

  • Free tuition for those within the district
  • Educational standards set by the state
  • Rely on federal, state and local funding
  • Must follow public school legislation
  • Cannot discriminate admission based on race, gender, disability, or finances
  • Teachers usually hold a bachelor’s degree and are state certified or working towards certification
  • Generally follow standard academic programming
  • Student body represents town demographics
  • Cannot teach about religion


Private Schools

Untitled design (12)

Private schools are independent schools that are not administered by federal, state or local governments and do not rely on taxation for funding. They are funded by student tuition and have more freedom within their programming. They usually have more funds and do not have to rely on any standardized test scores or performance milestones for funding. Here are some key points that parents should know about Private schools

  • Privately funded
  • Curriculum aligned with state standards, but freedom to incorporate non-traditional texts
  • Teachers may not be required to have certification, but often have subject-area expertise and an undergraduate or graduate degree in the subject they teach
  • Generally have smaller class sizes
  • Not restricted from teaching religion
  • Extremely selective
  • Emphasis on global connectedness and study abroad opportunities
  • Exposure to creative academic programming

Each community has a wide range of fantastic educational options, whether it be public, private, or charter. Choosing which one to enroll your child in relies on your ability to understand your child’s needs and the type of educational experience you are looking for them to have. Once you are able to pinpoint exactly what your family desires to get out of the school, you can then begin to understand benefits to each type and decide which aligns best with your goals.

To find out about your family’s schooling options, visit your state’s Department of Education website and locate the state school directory. To find your state’s Department of Education website and similar agencies, visit the link below and click on your state for a complete list, including contact information.

http://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *