Parents asking about charter schools have a lot of questions, such as what are the benefits? While we strive to answer that question and more, we realized parents are not just comparing different charter schools in Brooklyn, but trying to figure out what’s best for their child: a charter, a public school, or a private school.
Here are the differences and some pros and cons of each to help you determine a good fit for your child’s learning abilities, preferences, and personality.
A charter school receives state and government funding and are free just like public schools. However, charter schools operate autonomously from the regular school system. Charter schools have the freedom to approach education differently than public schools, but not all programs are the same. Some charters are privately owned, while many operate as nonprofits with a board of trustees. Most charter schools are accountable to an authorizer and must participate in a very comprehensive evaluation processes in order to continue operating. If charters are not performing at the achievement standards set forth by their authorizers, they can be shut down. Most charter schools do not offer transportation, though Brooklyn Charter School has a unique school bus system which services several surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods. Each school bus is equipped with a highly trained bus matron in order to optimize the safety of all students who ride the school bus to and from school daily.
Public schools are operated and funded by state and local government and must adhere to the educational and achievement standards set by the state. Although they offer a free education and transportation to most, funding for public schools varies wildly by the district. Most public schools must offer a seat to children living directly in the school’s catchment area. Many public school systems offer magnet programs that work on a lottery or are based on test scores to enter.
Private schools are funded through tuition, grants, donations, and endowments, and tend to be expensive. Some private schools associate with a religion, offering another aspect to a child’s education. In states with voucher programs, private schools may receive funding from the state for the students who attend using a voucher. (New York does not have a voucher program.)
Choosing which school fits your family depends on many factors. Your budget may be one of them; private school tuition costs tens of thousands of dollars per year. However, if a faith-based education is essential, you will find it at a private school. Some people want their children to attend a school similar to their neighborhood or area; public and charter schools tend to be more diverse than private schools. If your child has special needs, a private school may turn you down. Unlike public or charter schools, private institutions may not offer special education or accommodations.
Although class size may be a concern, the number of students in a classroom varies among any school, private or public. Teachers at public schools may have a certification from the state, something not required at private schools.
Safety might be one factor in your decision, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics, crime and incidents of bullying are about the same at all types of schools.
Of course, this is a big decision for any family. If you have questions about our charter school program, contact us to learn more or to set up a visit.
|Publicly funded (free)||X||X|
|Held to accountability standards||X||May be accredited|
|Open to all||X||X|