Charter schools have become one of the most sweeping school reforms in the United States in recent decades

April 12, 2019 Critical Thinking

Charter schools have become one of the most sweeping school reforms in the United States in recent decades. Charter schools seek to reform public education through a blend of elements found in public schools (universal access and public funding) and elements often associated with private schools. When American’s think of education, they usually think of public education. However, through the years this has slowly been changing. Many parents’ today are deciding to home school their children. As the article states, the number of children being home schooled has increased in recent years. Parents should have different educational options to choose from, both wihin and outside of the public school system.
Whichever option will provide their child with the education sought. One of these options is the home charter schools. With this option, students are supported by CAVA and learn from online programs. Arguments against home schooling are that parents dont a degree to teach, that children are poorly educated, and children dont live in a large enough social environment. While arguments in support of homeschooling state that good educational values are taught and in reality childrens have higher achievements than their peers. Although most people think that public education is better, it seems that home schooling staistically has proven to be better. While the definition of charter schools varies somewhat by state, essentially they are nonsectarian public schools of choice that are free from many regulations that apply to traditional public schools. The charter agreement establishing a charter school is a performance contract that details, among other things, the school’s mission, program, goals, and means of measuring success. Charters are usually granted for three to five years by an authorizer or sponsor (typically state or local school boards). In some states, public universities or other public entities may also grant charters.
Authorizers hold charter schools accountable for meeting their goals and objectives related to their mission and academic targets. Schools that do not meet their goals and objectives or do not abide by the terms of the contract can have their charter revoked or—when it comes time for renewal—not renewed. Because these are schools of choice and receive funding based on the number of students they enroll, charter schools also are accountable to parents and families who choose to enroll their child in them or choose to leave for another school.
The charter school movement has grown rapidly from two charter schools in Minnesota in 1992 to some 4,000 schools in 41 states and the District of Columbia as of 2010. Despite this impressive growth, charter schools enroll only a few percent of the public school students in the United States. Some estimates suggest that charter schools enroll close to 1 million students in 2010. Although the impact of charter schools appears minimal at the national level, a few states and several cities have seen the proportion of charter school students rise to capture a quarter of all public school students.
Beyond the United States, charter school reforms can be found in Canada and Puerto Rico. The charter school concept is also very similar to reforms initiated in other countries at approximately the same time. The United Kingdom saw the creation of grant-maintained schools, and in New Zealand and Sweden independent schools were initiated. These various reforms are part of a larger set of national and international trends that have sought to restructure public education. Attempts to restructure schools in the 1980s focused largely on decentralization, site-based management, small-scale choice reforms, and the use of market mechanisms. Proponents argued that restructuring public education would make it more efficient and responsive. One of the main reasons for the rapid and widespread growth of the charter movement in the 1990s was that it provided a vehicle to pursue many or most of the goals related to school restructuring. Another reason for the growth of charter schools is that this reform has been championed by a wide range of supporters, from those who saw these schools as a stepping stone to vouchers to those who saw charter schools as a compromise that would avoid vouchers.
Structural Change At the start of any charter school initiative is the effort to bring about policy changes. These are changes in state law that alter the legal, political, and economic environment in which charter schools operate. They are structural changes because they seek to fundamentally alter the conditions under which schools operate. The structural changes provide an opportunity space in which charter schools may experiment. The charter concept is different from other education reforms in that it does not prescribe specific interventions; rather, it changes the conditions under which schools develop and implement educational interventions.
One of the most important ways in which the charter concept seeks to change schools’ external environments is through choice. Charter schools are schools of choice in that, with some exceptions, students from any district or locale may attend any charter school. Advocates of school choice argue that choice will lead to sorting by preferences, which will reduce the amount of time schools spend resolving conflicts among school stakeholders, leaving them more time and energy to devote to developing and implementing educational programs. Advocates of school choice also argue that the very act of choice will dispose students, parents, and teachers to work harder to support the schools they have chosen.
Outcomes Accountability is the price that charter schools pay for their autonomy—specifically, accountability for results rather than accountability for inputs and processes. This, however, begs two additional questions. The first is: accountability for which outputs and outcomes? That is, which outcomes shall serve as the primary indicators of charter school quality? The second question is: accountability to whom? In other words, who will decide whether charter schools are making sufficient progress toward their goals?

The most commonly noted final outcomes for charter schools are student achievement and customer satisfaction, which are principles drawn from, respectively, the field of education and the field of business. There is some controversy over how policymakers and citizens should balance the values of student achievement and customer satisfaction. While many charter advocates argue that both are important, some libertarians and market conservatives view customer satisfaction as the paramount aim of public programs and agencies. Advocates of this position hold that a policy decision or outcome is good only if its customers think it is good and continue to “vote with their feet” for the service. Proponents of this position also maintain that it is the customers—parents and guardians—and not public officials who are best suited to know what is good for children. Interestingly, while most studies or evaluations of charter schools find that parents and students are generally satisfi ed with their charter school, the growing body of evidence indicates that, on the whole, charter schools are not performing better on standardized tests than are traditional public schools. Although there are a few successful states, the overall results are mixed at best.