April 03, 2008,
J.F. asks from San Marcos, CA on March 30, 2008
Public School Vs. Charter
I have an 11 year old boy who is in 6th grade at the moment at a middle school. I've been hearing about charter schools recently and was wondering what exactly they were all about. Is it better than public schools? Are charter schools like home schooling? Just curious, because we may be moving to another city and my husband and I know that the public schools there just aren't very good, especially the high school. Thanks for any advice you all may have.
So What Happened?™
Thank you so much for each of your suggestions and advice. Everything you all said helped out a lot. I think we are going to start doing some homework and research early so that we'll be ready. Perhaps, my son will be able to finish his year at the middle school and possibly start with a charter school the new school year. I do like the fact that the classes are smaller than the public schools. I do notice that my son learns better and more in smaller groups and of course, less distraction for other students, or what not. I just want the best for him and so far, the public school system just has not really impressed me much! Thanks again for all your advice. I truly appreciate it.
V.G. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
Having worked in NYC public schools and LAUSD schools, then switching to charter, I would never look back. Visit www.myschool.org for more information. There are a lot of charter school options now but not all are great. I have more details but it's easier to share them and address your questions via a phone call. Send me a message and I would be happy to help you out.
1 mom found this helpful
L.P. answers from San Diego on March 31, 2008
Each Charter School is different. Some are built around active parental volunteerism like a co-op, some are for kids in crisis to get them college bound, some concentrate on bi-lingual education, some on hands-on educational experiences and other on the arts.
Make some appointments and check out the ones in your area. Do ask the usual school questions, but do ask others as well such as how they earn/fundraise the extra funding the are not getting from the state. What is required from the parents in volunteer time. Take a good look at the other studnets and their parents -- will your family fit in easily?
I'm a big fan of Charter Schools, but you can't enter them thinking that they're "just like" usual public schools. In many ways they are better, but they are not for every family.
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L.P. answers from Los Angeles on March 31, 2008
When we moved to an area with not great schools, we gave them a try, which resulted in a miserable 7th grader and a miserable angry 9th grader. By second semester I had pulled them both out. The younger is thriving in K-12, an online charter public (free) school. The curriculum is great, they provide computer and all needed supplies, and field trips, outings, community days, etc. It requires a lot of parent involvement and supervision, but its a great option. You can call them and ask any questions that arent answered online from the website. Offered in all or almost all states.
Now the older child is thriving in our district's independant study program, (hes a sophmore now) this alwows him to ake college classes (for triple credit now less) as well as regular classes, he meets with his teacher 2x a week and is learning excellent skills of responsibility and time management. This school is seperate from the "continuation school" which for lack of a better description right now, keeps the riff-raff out of his school. Keep looking!
Things might be fine in the new school. If not, change it! Its not about toughing out a bad school, as some say. Crazy!!!
Its about a child thriving and learning to love learning!!!
Good luck! What a good mom you are!
L.A. answers from Los Angeles on April 03, 2008
Charter schools CAN be better depending on how they're run. Just be sure their teachers are credentialed. Sometimes they offer more activities and have a longer school day. Often times they require more parent involvement so they tend to have 'better' students.
L.J. answers from San Diego on March 31, 2008
Both our children go to Oceanside's Coastal Academy which is a charter school. There they attend class on Tuesdays and Thursdays (full day) and we homeschool on MWF. I was a public high school teacher for 13 years and I definitely don't want my kids in the public school system. At this charter school (there is also The Classical Academy in Escondido) the classes remain at 20 students all the way through 8th grade and there are extra labs offered to enrich their education. And we love the homeschooling aspect as well. I know exactly what my children are learning and at home I can teach to their learning style. Incidently, both my children are ahead in school in both reading and math. These days there are so many great options out there on what type of school works best for your family...we are no longer stuck with just public or private school choices. I hope you find one that you would be excited about sending your children to.
J.C. answers from San Diego on March 30, 2008
As I understand charter schools they are kind of the link between private and public schools. They have the state of CA curriculum, but offer the smaller classroom environments without the religiosity of private schools. Also, when I looked into teaching at one of the charter schools, the teachers did not have to have their credential. However, I would put in a plug here and state that a credential does not make a teacher. I have seen really bad teachers who have their credential and excellent teachers who do not. Now off my soapbox. The charter schools are also state mandated so they take the same kids that they would at the public schools. If you are truly concerned then shoot for a private school or an interdistrict transfer for at least the remainder of the middle school years. I think they still allow childcare as an issue for staying in the district you started in.
K.E. answers from San Diego on March 31, 2008
Charter schools are actually public schools (as in they are state funded and regulated) but they offer more flexibilty in the way they teach, the curriculum they use, etc. Charter schools tend to require more parent participation - some may have condensed school days to allow more 'family' time after school, while others may be part school/part home schooling. So even within the Charter school system, there is a lot of variety. Each school would have to be researched independently to see if it meets your family's needs. Just because it is a Charter school, it does not mean it is a better option than a traditional public school. You have to be very careful and look into test scores, achievement, etc. Typically, however, class sizes are smaller at charter schools and the academics are more taiilored to the needs of the child (like if your son is advanced in math, he'd be allowed to work above his grade level). Overall, I really love the idea of Charter schools and hope that more high quality ones continue to develop! Hope this helps!!!