Counter-Point: Which is Better for Student Achievement: Charter or Public School?

Josie Krupens, Staff Writer

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   One rising question parents have to face when sending their children to school is deciding which type of school in which to enroll them. They must choose between public, private, and charter, which hovers in between the first two. Charter schools, however, have many underlying issues. While public schools aren’t perfect, they are far more beneficial to students than charter schools.

   Good teachers are integral to good education, and public schools have more educated teachers. According to a website reviewing public schools, public school teachers are more qualified for the job. “Teachers in public schools are required to be certified by the state. Certification also requires ongoing education and periodic renewal of credentials. Charter schools and private schools do not have this requirement” (publicschoolreview.com). Students should be sure that they are getting the best education possible from qualified teachers, and public schools have the appropriate requirements to ensure a suitable teaching standard is met.

   Public schools are also more reliable than charter schools. According to the official website of a Florida news station, a charter school was shut down because of declining enrollment and financial instability. The school gave very little warning about its closing and left parents with no time to plan a smooth transition to a different school. The close also negatively affected teachers: “Teacher Daniel Reynolds said he hasn’t been paid since April and he was told not to expect a paycheck or severance” (wesh.com). According to The Huffington Post, public schools do not close often and when they do, there is a long public process which gives time for families to make a plan (huffpost.com). No one should go home wondering if their school will exist the next day, and public schools won’t let any family down in that regard.

   Many students view extracurriculars as a key component in their school experience. However, smaller charter schools have more limited options when it comes to extracurricular activities. According to a website about parenting, students may have to seek out independent programs for activities such as sports or dance if they want more variety. This means parents most likely have to pay for outside clubs (wehavekids.com). Public schools, however, often have clubs, school sports, dance teams, and more options for students to show off their skills and interests (publicschoolreview.com). Public schools are a better fit for students because they have more opportunities for students to get invested in something they express interest in.

   Junior Bethany Streb is thankful for the public school sports programs. She said, “I’m grateful for sports at public schools, because they provide camaraderie between the students, bringing us together by either playing or watching a sport. I play a few sports and they have taught me a lot about how sports can bring students together.” Because sports are at easier access for public school students, they are more likely to experience their benefits.

   Though many press that the point of charter schools is to produce higher test scores than in public schools, evidence shows that this is not the case. According to the official Washington Post website, “A Stanford University study found that… 37 percent of charter schools did worse than comparable public schools, while only 17 percent did better. The rest, 46 percent, scored the same” (washingtonpost.com). Enrolling in a charter school will not necessarily bring better performance on assessments.

   There has been increasing debate between those who favor public schools versus charter schools in recent years, but public schools ultimately come out on top. Charter schooling is still a developing system that holds many problems that still need to be solved. For now, public schools are a safer option for students and their learning.

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