Charter Schools Are Exclusive to Privileged Students

By DONG SEONG LYU
On February 27, 2017

Icon courtesy of KIPP Foundation, Wikipedia

With Betsy Devos in office as the Secretary of Education, the nation should wonder if the Department of Education is in good hands. As a clear advocate for charter schools and private institutions, Devos has a transparent position on public schools. I, like many other critics throughout the nation, disagree on her platform and support the necessity of public education.

A common misconception of charter schools is that they are privately funded institutions; in reality they are not. The real definition of a charter school, according to Uncommon Schools, is an “independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance.”

In this regard, charter schools do not enforce tuition on any student, but receive public funds according to a student’s enrollment level.  Now what’s the difference between charter and public schools? The difference is that anyone can start a charter school. All you would need is a charter school proposal and approval by the state’s charter authorizing entity.

According to Niche, some states define certification differently, thus, allowing some teachers to be hired without the proper requirements. With different regulations and rules, charter schools have less limitation from the government, allowing themselves to be governed by other groups and organizations.

Unlike the traditional public schools, some charter schools mainly aim to find the “best” students. Connect Us says, “It is believed that charters open their doors to all, but actually, they tend to target their audience. For example, they offer a rigorous curriculum that would discourage academic slackers or offer lack of transportation that would filter out low-income families.”

Unlike public education, most charter schools are mainly run by “for-profit” companies, and can still receive private funding. As a result, if more charter schools are approved and built, less funding goes to education in different state districts. While charters share the funding and possibly receive different funds, public schools are left to cut funding on extracurricular activities and other programs.

Due to the fact that charters are privately run, the Freedom of Information Act cannot be covered. Charters are not required to address transparency concerns and are not required to adhere to the concern of parents.

According to Niche, public schools and charters have outperformed each other depending on which state or city you live in. Sometimes the charters outperformed public schools, and sometimes the opposite would occur.

In hindsight, charters are no different than public education. The repercussions of charters, however, are that state funding becomes very limited for education in different districts. Teachers, who already receive low pay, obtain more burdens. Since extracurriculars become non-existent, some teachers use their own money to pay for what their students are passionate about. If there is more support for charters, the result will be fewer opportunities for students.

 

dlyu@ramapo.edu

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