Choosing your child's school can be a difficult decision. Do you send them to their closest public school, pay for a private school, or choose a charter school, which offers some of the benefits of both private and public education? With more than 7,000 charter schools available in the United States, charter school enrollment has become a more widely available and appealing option for many parents. Here are three things you should know about charter schools:
Charter Schools are Free to Attend
Sometimes parents assume that charter schools charge tuition like private schools, but this is not the case. Charter schools are set up as non-profits and are free to attend for all children. Though they are open to all children, unlike private schools that offer selective admission based on factors like test scores, there are a few differences. One difference is that charter schools are sometimes so popular that they have to limit new students, and in those cases, they may create a lottery where names are chosen at random to determine who will attend the school.
Charter Schools Are All Unique
One of the things that makes charter schools so special is that each one is unique. Generally, a group of teachers, parents, or other citizens form a charter school based on a specific philosophy or set of priorities. For example, some charter schools may be focused on STEM learning, while others focus on foreign language immersion or performing arts. It's important to research charter schools in your area to find the one that best matches your family's beliefs as well as your child's strengths and interests.
Charter Schools Offer Small Class Sizes
Another benefit of charter schools is that they offer smaller class sizes since they are allowed to cap enrollment more strictly than public schools. Some parents choose charter school enrollment specifically to avoid the large class sizes common in public schools. If, for example, your child has been struggling academically, the one-on-one attention from their teachers in a smaller classroom may help them thrive. More introverted or easily overwhelmed children may also prefer smaller classes. And since charter schools are free, you can offer this perk to your child without the steep tuition fees charged by private schools.
If these key facts about charter schools sound appealing to you, it's a good idea to schedule a tour of your local charter school where you can see the facilities and meet the staff for yourself. Contact one of these schools if you are interested in charter school enrollment for your child.