Education For A Changing World
The following information is provided courtesy of www.edreform.com
What are Charter Schools?
Charter schools are new, innovative public schools that are accountable for student results. They are designed to deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and the needs of the communities they serve.
Why Are Charter Schools So Popular?
Educational quality: The primary reason for charter schools is to make sure every child has access to a quality education. With the freedom and choice to do so, charters set higher standards and must meet them to stay in business.
Focus on the kids: Perhaps most important, a charter school is set up around the needs of children.
Safer, stronger communities: Charter schools typically engage local businesses and other organizations to help provide resources and services to the school and its families.
Charter schools operate on three basic principles:
Choice: Charter schools give families an opportunity to pick the school most suitable for their child’s educational well-being. Teachers choose to create and work at schools where they directly shape the best working and learning environment for their students and themselves.
Accountability: Charter schools are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter contract. Charter schools must also show that they can perform according to rigorous fiscal and managerial standards.
Freedom: While charter schools must adhere to the same major laws and regulations as all other public schools, they are freed from the red tape that often diverts a school’s energy and resources away from educational.
How Do Charter Schools Work?
The Law: Before you can have charter schools, you must have a state law. Forty states and the District of Columbia have enacted charter school laws.
The Founders: Charter schools are started when community members see an educational need and decide to actively address it.
The Board: Every charter school is required by law to have a board of directors that is ultimately responsible for what the school does.
The Teachers: Teachers choose charter schools because these schools help them avoid the frustrations of constant bureaucracy. In addition to hiring the same certified teachers as traditional public schools, charter schools can hire qualified individuals that often have significant professional experience in their subject area. This makes for education infused with real-world experience.
The Sponsors: The role of the charter school sponsor is to first approve charter applications and then monitor the schools to ensure success.
How Are Charter Schools Funded?
Charter schools are public schools. Like district public schools, they are funded according to enrollment (also called average daily attendance, or ADA), and receive funding from the district and the state according to the number of students attending. Nationwide, on average, charter schools are funded at 61 percent of their district counterparts, averaging $6,585 per pupil compared to $10,771 per pupil at conventional district public schools. When a child leaves a conventional school for a charter school the money follows that child.
Unlike traditional district schools, most charter schools do not receive funding to cover the cost of securing a facility.
How Do Charter Schools Manage if They are Underfunded?
Necessity, as the mother of invention, is inspiring innovation in this area.
Facilities and Other Start-Up and Capital Costs: Many charter schools improvise by converting spaces such as rented retail facilities, former churches, lofts and warehouses, into classroom, cafeteria, assembly and gym space, supplemented by the local YMCA, the public library and park, and the diner down the street. Once they are more established they are able to acquire loans and move to more suitable or permanent facilities.
The same is true of capital needs beyond bricks and mortar. School founders have managed on an ad hoc basis with the help of private funds or alternative credit routes, and especially the sweat equity of enthusiastic volunteers, parents and local professionals.
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