Lessons learned? New York's de Blasio, Cuomo compete for charter school support


What are charter schools and how are they different from private schools? Are Charter schools good and do any of you have kids in them?

My daughter currently attends a Charter school. Charter schools are not private schools, they are publically funded schools which are run privately or sponsered by a University. They usually have some sort of emphasis or cirriculum that is more alternative to the standard public school. Since charter schools are publically funded, there is no religion as there might be a a parochial type school. The first charter school my daughter attended had an excellent beginning phonics and math program. You are more likely to find true phonics reading programs than in a standard public school. That one only went to 6th grade, the current one goes all the way through high school. Both required a uniform and there is a stricter discipline code. While there might not be religion, some do have character type stuff woven into the cirriculum. What we have found with Charter schools is that they are much more flexible with special ed or special needs children which my daughter has. The first one, 40% of the student body had some kind of special needs. That is why it is deceiving when there is testing or comparisons between both because a charter school usually take on and in children that were not succeeding in either standard public schools or private/parochial schools and the consentration of the student body is more special ed. My daughter’s current school had some of the highest MEAP scores in the county we live in. In speaking of alternatives, her first charter school had Latin lesson once a week. This was to help students in English since many of our root words have a Latin base. There are also many specialize charter high schools cropping up, even the standard public schools are starting to sponser them. I know of charter high schools that specialize in the arts, there are international academies, there are math and science etc.
Our experience with charter has been very positive for my daughter and her needs.

I’m a teacher. Whenever you have control over student population and more flexibility in hiring teachers, your school will be “better.”

I think that charter schools don’t hurt the standard public school as much as they can hurt the private parochial schools. I know many parents that have pulled their children from Catholic and are sending them to a charter schools. This is especially true of the high school which are much more expensive to start. Uniforms, discipline and more demanding school work are all big draws. People are also sick of the usual Catholic school politics, favoritism and nepotism that are too often the hallmarks of Catholic schools and for us just in the willingness to help special needs children that is usually absent in Catholic schools. Until I can be confident that Catholic schools are willing to work with special needs children, we will stick with charter. Catholic schools too often focus on the super child that gives glory to the school instead of just desiring to work with all children that may walk through it’s doors. Why send your child to a high school when they might not make the sports teams, take minimal parts in plays and just sit on the sidelines as opposed to going to the charter high school and getting a chance to develop and succeed. Charter schools are the competition for the private/parochial schools. This is the unreported competition for private, it is under the radar in the debates I’ve seen concerning charter schools.

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