Are Charter Schools Good for Education? Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1854 Words
Date:  2022-05-15

A charter school is delineated as a public school that is run independently and given better flexibility in its running. Charter schools primarily aim at forming a learning institution that offers higher performance accountability. The charter that establishes every school is a contract that details the mission of the learning institution, the program, students admitted, goals of performance and the methods used to assess the students. Personal choice determines the selection of the schools; parents select them for their children. Further, the schools are exempted from different regulations customarily imposed on other public schools. Ordinarily, charter schools are supposed to account for the academic results and are also supposed to ensure they keep promises indicated in their charter. The charter school learning institutions have different designs and also vary in results. Countrywide, the demographic characteristics of learners in the charter schools are relatively the same with some schools serving high numbers of minorities in some states. Presently, controversies on the running of the charter schools in comparison to public schools, merit great concerns (Angrist et al.). This being said, the core intent of this research paper is to discuss why charter schools are not good for education.

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Ideally, charter schools were meant to be transparent education laboratories (Gary and Christopher). However, it turns out, in many instances, the schools lack the sense of accountability. For instance, contrary to public schools that have the legal obligations to account for the utilization of public resources, a majority of charter schools do not have financial transparency. Further, a majority of the schools offer higher remuneration to administrators and teachers in exchange for students having longer school days and consequently, years. Transparency is vital as it works to prevent public fund misuse and fraudulent activities (Noguera).

Other than the challenges in financial accountability, a majority of charters are known to admit the least complicated and therefore the least costly students. This is against the law which requires the schools to accept students via lottery. In various cities, charter schools enroll few disadvantaged students and a very low percentage of children that have special needs. In a similar regard, some charter schools define methods of doing away with the students who exhibit behavioral or academic problems. Such methods include punitive disciplinary measures and advising parents to move the child out of the school for the failure to 'fit'. Therefore, drawing from this contextual base, public schools in the localities end up taking in a large number of special and high need students, leading to a decline in the overall performance of these public schools. According to studies, a majority of the schools tagged as failures and marked for closure by the education authorities have a history of enrolling high need children (Noguera). This, in essence, substantiates charter schools are not transparent or held to similar standards as public schools. There is therefore, a need to make charter schools run on level ground and exert same pressure and laws as is with public schools to bring about transparency in operations.

Additionally, regarding fair competition with other schools, charter learning institutions have undue advantages over other schools in the area. To begin with, they are akin to private institutions in regards to the fact that they are exempted from numerous regulations and laws that the government imposes on their counterparts regarding curriculum and education. In fact, charter schools are made better than a majority of public schools. Different from public schools, charters have the chance to create unique programs meant to pull students. Public schools, on the other hand, are held in terms of type and range of programs they can offer (Metcalf et al. 543). The charters give better learning programs and are more reputable. Therefore they attract more students.

Public institutions of learning were pushed into leaving ideals that were aimed at developing the student in all aspects. Presently, all they do is give standardized exams that reward regurgitation and memorization. Programs that attended to a child's abilities, interests, passions, and talents went by the wayside. Consequently, only charter schools and private institutions can use such models like the Montessori Method. The reason being they run without regulations and restrictions forced on government institutions. The models can no longer see another day because of the present control and standardization climate. The charters gain an undue advantage by offering student-centered environments that promote innovative learning yet the government does not allow public schools to do it.

In a similar regard, charter schools are known to poach a majority of high ability students and their parents, forming what is deemed as a single community. In particular, the students could be in many cases top performers in other neighboring learning institutions and when they are poached from the nearby schools and brought together in a charter, they form a force to reckon with. Further, when a student happens to perform poorly, they are kicked out of the schools, and the moment the academic dwarfs are removed from the equation, the charter school scores skyrocket. On the other hand, public schools, are left to take in the charter schools' rejects and misfits and hence poor performance. Also, charter schools have limited enrollments, this way they look for stable children who meet their expectations. Neighboring public schools do not limit registrations and instead take in all children. They do not have the liberty to choose or hand pick. Unfortunately, public schools take the blame for poor academic performance and their charter school counterparts are celebrated for high performance. A majority neighboring local schools struggle to impart and education to the children under very challenging conditions. If the playing ground were level, then public schools would equal the performance of the charter schools.

A couple of decades ago, in the Brown vs. The Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling came up with an unanimous decision to do away with the Jim Crow race segregation and the separate but equal legal doctrine (Patterson 26). The decision was a great moment for America as it was against the popular and wisdom opinion that prevailed in that day. As a whole, the decision by the Supreme Court looked to bring changes to a society that was guided by racism. The segregation in learning institutions was deemed a violation of a student's rights to uniform protection of laws as provided by the fourteenth amendment to the American constitution.

However, it has become clear that charters have gone back to the days where segregation was practiced. At a NAACP convention in 2017, discrimination of African Americans into under-resourced public schools and charters was decried. Following research, it has been realized that school choice has exacerbated segregation in charter schools over the past years. For instance, research indicates that charter schools exhibit more racial isolation than their public school counterparts in every state of the country. This implies that in learning institutions where white learners are overrepresented, the whites have minimal exposure to minorities (Orfield and Gordon 27). Therefore a major problem with charter schools is that parents make the choice of deserting highly integrated schools and go to charter schools that advance racial segregation. Also, white and African American families choose institutions with a homogeneous composition of race. Consequently, few charter schools are racially balanced. This results in poor overall performance. For example, Qiuyn Lin collected data for "An evaluation of Charter School Effectiveness" he suggested that charter institutions in Michigan, Arizona, and California are not as successful and great as they are shown to be. The author goes on to explain that as a group, charter schools have not lowered segregation and as a matter of fact have heightened the vice. This consequently results in more stratifications in terms of race, and the equal opportunity goals are undermined (Lin 170).

There are some solutions that if considered would handle the current controversy with charters and public schools. One of the solutions is ensuring similar building standards for Charter schools and public schools alike. The intensifying demand for charter schools should create even more urgency for traditional public schools. From experience, the public schools when left on their own are not able to come up with proper practice and structural changes that are vital for preparing students for the future. The state, therefore, must provide resources and authority to help and motivate district schools to come up with similar structures to those of charters. This way, the students in both settings have access to equal services from the structures.

The second solution is the countrywide improvement on the common core, an initiative that was formed in 2010 to implement and create a standard of national education in math, arts, and languages. The initiative gives learning institutions a guideline of the abilities and knowledge that a learner should have when they complete every grade. The end goal is to ensure that learners across all boards are ripe to join programs in college or the working class after high school. When the common core is promoted nationwide, both charters and public schools will take a test that is made to analyze reasoning skills and critical thinking. The scores are then compared among the schools, from where improvement areas are noted and also proper resource use.

Another solution would be to come up with uniform performance measurement instruments. The only way to reasonably measure academic performance in charter schools is the comparison of a student group in the charter institution to a particular group in a public institution. This can be done via lottery procedure. Charter learning institutions usually attract more student applications than the spaces available. Therefore the lottery is meant to make a random selection of students. The random selection comes with two group sets of learners that lack consistent variation apart from the fact that one is picked to join a public school while the other one enters charter schools. Both of the groups are the ones that should be held in comparison. Also at the same time, they should be compared to the same parameters and that way, oranges will be compared to oranges. The issue also requires a regulation from the executive branch and enforcement for performance.

Additionally, states must be reminded the original reason why charter schools came up. Their purpose was to promote innovation and at the same time collaborate with public schools to improve student achievement and practice. Therefore, charters should only be awarded to learning institutions that commit to follow the standards and avoid such things as segregation. This will be an uphill task as there are millions of learners countrywide that are on the wait list of charters. The high pressure could cause the schools to just let students in (Patterson 96). Only when both sides of the divide agree to develop education and increase achievements for all learners significantly will such solutions bore fruit. Institutions in the government that are accountable for learning and states are also obligated to ensure that improvement to education is their priority.


In conclusion, based on the contentions made in this research paper, it is with no doubt that charter schools are not ideal institutions of learning. Despite the fact that they...

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