Is a Charter school the same thing as a private school?
As you begin to look for teaching positions you will notice the incredible amount of Charter schools. They show up on every employment website and teacher vacancy search and to be honest I was not quite sure what they were when I first saw them. Many people, like me, assume they are just like private schools, but without the tuition. The truth is they are actually public schools, they receive public money and private donations in order to operate; however, the catch is they do not have to follow the same regulations as “normal” public schools. For example, teachers in Charter schools do not have to be certified by the state unlike all other public schools. Furthermore, those people with a passion for education are often the ones who open Charter schools because they feel they can do more for their students without having to face the restrictions of a public school.
Another characteristic of Charters schools is they often enroll students who have struggled in regular public school, whether it is through grades or behavior. These Charter schools offer struggling students a second chance.
Do Charter schools actually improve educational outcomes though? This question is asked frequently, therefore, it has been researched frequently. Sadly, most research suggests Charter schools perform the same as or worse than public schools within their same community, but rarely ever better.
On the other hand, Charter schools do offer more competition in communities between schools; therefore, they push all schools to perform better.
I can offer my personal opinion, as I spent time substituting in a Charter school in Fort Lauderdale. It was very challenging – especially for a first year teacher. The students in this school had been through a lot and really challenged me. However, the school offered them an incredible structure that public school would not. They had duties on campus, wore uniforms and the school was small so everyone knew each other. Are all Charter schools that way? Probably not, but it does offer more hope for struggling students – which is such an important thing!
So, when you’re looking for jobs and you see a Charter school you’ll know what it is now! Teaching at one may be a little more work, but from what I have experienced it can be very rewarding!