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What is a Charter School?

Our mission at Argosy Collegiate is to prepare our scholars with the academic foundation and the character skills necessary for success in college, career, and life.

What is a Charter School?

Weighing in on charter public schools vs district public schools

Did you know that a charter school actually IS a public school? They are open to anyone. It is illegal for them to charge tuition or to require an entrance exam. They are different from traditional public schools because they are independent of school districts/school board standards. They have to outline their own “charter”, or a set of rules and performance standards that they must meet in order to get state funding. Charter schools in Massachusetts go through a rigorous authorization process in order to open. They also go through an equally rigorous renewal process every five years, with multiple check-ins within those intervals. The state monitors the performance of these schools and has the option to close schools that didn’t meet the standards of their charter. The official charter school definition: “A publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority.” – Google Dictionary

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
– Aristotle

Charter Schools vs. Public Schools

The Key Differences

Local taxpayers fund traditional public schools. The government funds charters on a student-by-student basis, so they typically receive less funding.

Local school districts govern traditional public schools. They implement state law, so the schools have to abide by all state school board regulations. Charter schools are independently run, but they must meet the standards set by their charter in order to receive government funding. In Massachusetts, they are held to a very high standard.

The state education board decides all curriculum for traditional public schools. Charter schools have flexibility with their curriculum. However, their students are still required to take MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) tests. Performance on standardized tests plays into the charter contract that these schools have with the state.

These differences offer several reasons for parents to choose charter schools. For one, they can take in students from a larger geographic area because of their independence from local school districts. They generally contain students from diverse backgrounds. If you aren’t satisfied with the public schools in your district, you can choose to send your child to a charter school elsewhere.

They also offer a lot of the perks of private school, but without the expenses. They have to hold high standards for education to ensure they meet the state’s expectations because they can easily be defended and shut down. These schools have smaller populations and smaller class-sizes, allowing for more student-teacher engagement. Without state-assigned curriculum, independent schools tend to practice more innovative teaching methods. It’s common to see specialized coursework and greater attention to different learning styles.

Charter High Schools

Parents often choose charter high schools because they believe it will leave their children more well-rounded and better-prepared for college and the workforce. Typically, there’s more encouragement for parents to get involved with the school and with their child’s education. The students tend to be more engaged and excited about their education. If you are debating charter schools vs. public schools in your area, think about the type of education you want for your child. Students at independent schools experience diversity, personalized attention, and a curriculum that stretches beyond the traditional standard.