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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Charter Schools


There are benefits and drawbacks associated with charter schools that need further empiric research to support arguments associated with them. It might be a sheer observation that charter schools have advantages over public schools as far as their characteristics are concerned. Nonetheless, these features, as stated, would not be the only guarantee that charter schools can only have advantages. These characteristics are also remarkable evidence to support the idea that charter schools are possibly not only bringing leads with them, but in one way or another, they may don’t be better than public schools at all, or worse. Concerning this point, as far as the characteristics of charter schools are concerned, the work at hand found that the advantages so now seem to outweigh the disadvantages.

Charter schools are an integral part of an alternative education system, enabling them to operate independently from the public. Such institutions are granted a great deal of independence to pursue creativity in education. Still, they are not free from the pressure that allows them to take control of students’ academic achievement or performance. They are expected to provide much better and quality standard education than comparable educational institutions like public schools. For this reason, one inherent manifestation of charter schools is their ability to allow teachers, parents and students to have substantial involvement and participation together to ensure a high rate of academic achievement and excellent academic performance. With this given information, one might consider that there are many things to be taken into account as high with charter schools. However, this does not mean that charter schools may not have some other essential drawbacks. In order to offer a reasonable explanation of the argument surrounding these two contradictory topics, the study at hand addresses the pros and cons of the charter schools and examines whether the former has been the case may have surpassed the latter.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Charter Schools

           Before the main objective of this paper, the need to consider the other sheer characteristics of a charter school is a better way to understand its advantages and probably linked disadvantages. An excellent way to obtain a good idea of a charter school is to consider its characteristics compared to the public school based on school size, grade-level configuration, student-to-teacher ratio, and student-to-computer ratio (Beryl et al.).

           From 1997 to 1998, the average size of the charter school was 137 students and more than 400 for the public school in the same year (Feinberg 156). Though there is a significant increase in number, the same trend today is followed, by which charter schools have a substantially small number of students, and public schools have even more.

           As regards the configuration of the grade level, the state law grants charter schools the right to select the grade structure and the age range of the students they represent (RPP International 22).

           An individual study reveals that the student-to-ratio in low-performing charter schools is approximately 17 to 1, compared to about 15 to 1 in acceptable-performing charter schools (Burds 104). Intuitively, these ratios are lower compared to the current rates in comparable schools.

           There may or may not be a substantial gap in the student-to-computer ratio between charter schools and public schools; it is clear that charter school students are using them computers extensively (Hill 16; RPP International 26).

           These characteristics are also significant indicators of learning. Having that in mind, charter schools can be better when it comes to learning compared to public schools because of the resulting advancement in education. Aside from that, knowledge must be significant in more interactive value in charter schools than in public schools because of the engagement of parents and teachers with the students’ actual academic performance. This will provide a more meaningful perspective to facilitate education and cover essential aspects of learning, even beyond or outside the four corners of the classroom. Besides, the minimal number of students in charter schools would mean more opportunity for teachers to acquire a more focus on teaching and give remarkable attention to quality education. Not only that. The student-to-teacher ratio in charter schools would speak of the opportunity for each student to be given a much quality time for teaching or coaching activities. Unlike in the public schools where many students will have to divide not only the attention of the teachers but time, students in charter schools will have the opportunity to gain more knowledge because teachers will be able to achieve significant time to evaluate and assess a few numbers of students. They will even learn some remarkable insights from the parents regarding the learning concerns of their students. Students in charter schools will also have more exposure to modern information technology, which is evident in the student-to-computer ratio. They have extensive computer usage than their public student’s counterparts, as already stated.

           The above arguments simply present the point that there might be some significant advantages of charter schools concerning their public counterparts. Each of the benefits has a necessary implication on learning as presented. This is the reason why charter schools have become one fundamental issue of concern, especially in the area of learning and education. Aside from this point, not everyone is convinced that charter schools have advantages, especially over their public equals. For this reason, it matters to talk about some probable disadvantages linked to charter schools based on their inherent characteristics.

           Parents are involved in the actual learning of the students in charter schools. This would mean that at some point teachers’ creativity in teaching may be undermined. Some parents will become more imposing that will stand in conflict with the prevailing standard imposed by the school. For this reason, there is a potential issue of conflict of interest that is eventually way beyond the actual effect of learning but is more of an administrative issue in a sense. However, this has an important implication in the real learning programs in the long run.

           Innovation seems to be a great, sounding idea concerning the emancipation of charter schools. Each of the charter schools may have varying ways, styles and techniques that are associated with learning. They have this freedom when it comes to grade-level configuration, which means they can present suitable programs that will fit the actual need of the students according to their considered circumstances, a move that is undeniably a form of advantage. However, the presence of this innovation does not make any difference with what private academic institutions are doing. This innovation is a gateway to a more meaningful justification of privatization and commercialization of education. This, therefore, means that charter schools may have varying outcomes and this means not each of them will have to present the same quality level of education, because the intensity of innovation may not be the same at all. Charter schools with a more business-oriented approach are, therefore, more likely to initiate innovative strategies to generate funding and public support. Concerning this point, one remarkable disadvantage of charter schools may be its hidden agenda that is way beyond the actual education. This institution may be highly politicized to the extent that it will probably compete with the public, academic institution and the private educational institution. This move will be a remarkable advantage if only it will lead to quality learning of the students at the bottom line. However, such movement may also probably jeopardize the quality of learning especially for the less-privileged who could not afford if the price of education in charter schools will be lifted due to the freedom for combined participation of the private and public entities that will probably result to commercialization.

           As noticed, the advantages and disadvantages of charter schools may not be clear and evident for now. However, it is evident that by understanding their characteristics, one can gain some intuitive insights into the probable direction of events in the future. However, it is still essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of charter schools in the area of the actual quality of learning because it is in this part where these institutions are specifically engaged mainly in concerns for policy direction in consideration of the students’ academic achievements.

Charter schools have long been linked to students’ academic achievements. With this, there are different research studies and theoretical investigations to test the prevailing ideas regarding the validity of the common claimed concept of advantages of the charter school, most notably over its comparable academic institution.

The study concerning the performance of charter schools in Wisconsin reveals that these institutions perform somewhat better than the traditional public schools (Witte, Weimer, Shober and Schlomer 557). The performance assessment was based on the achievement test scores of students in grades 3 to 10 in Milwaukee charter and traditional schools based on the available data from the year 1998 to 2002.

           On the other hand, in a research study aiming to find if a charter school truly demonstrates higher proficiency than its public counterpart, findings reveal that students in the former institution perform the same with those students in the latter institution (Kindzierski, Mhammed, Wallace and Lesh 1). However, it was also found in this study that if the disparity in population size will be taken into account, students in charter schools may have performed worse than those who are in public schools.

           Another study reveals that students in charter schools might have smaller achievement gains compared when they should be in public schools (Bifulco and Ladd 50).

           The significant observation linked to these studies would tell that each of them has considerably used varying research designs and data, and analyses of data. Not all of them so far have dramatically used the same methodology in measuring the level of academic performance of students in charter schools and the comparable school. For this reason, it is not clear yet as to what standard measure has to be initiated to create a more refine and even sophisticated result that will truly reflect on the actual prevailing situation concerning the students’ academic performance.

           Also, there is a limited number of research studies that pertain to the quantitative analysis of the impact of charter schools on student achievement (Sass 91). This means that at this point, one cannot eventually provide conclusive evidence to suggest whether a charter school is right or has nothing new to contribute at all in the education system because of its probable level of similarity with other comparable academic institutions.

           In other words, one thing that would specifically matter for now when it comes to an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the charter school will be the understanding of its inherent characteristics. These characteristics will pave the way for significant analysis of the significant advantages and disadvantages linked to charter schools.  

           The work at hand just presented some insights concerning the probable advantages and disadvantages linked to charter schools that until now would require more empirical studies to support the claims that are associated with them. What is clear is the thought that charter schools eventually have advantages over public schools as far as their characteristics are concerned. These characteristics, as implied, will not be the safest assurance that charter schools will only ensure advantages. These characteristics are also significant starting points of charter schools to be confined at its point of disadvantages or in one way, or another may not make it higher than public schools but even worse. However, as far as the characteristics of charter schools are concerned, as discussed the advantages so now seem to outweigh the disadvantages.

Works Cited
  • Beryl, Nelson, Paul Berman, John Ericson, Nancy Kamprath, Rebecca Perry, Debi Silverman, and Debra Solomon. The State of Charter Schools, 2000. National Study of Charter Schools. Fourth Year Report. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 2000. Print. 
  • Bifulco, Robert, and Helen F. Ladd. “The Impacts of Charter Schools on Student Achievement: Evidence from North Carolina.” Education Finance and Policy 1.1 (2006): 50-90. Print.  
  • Burds, Carmen G. Acceptable and Low-performing Charter Schools in Texas: The Identification of Common Characteristics. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest, 2007. Print. 
  • Feinberg, Walter. School Choice Policies and Outcomes: Empirical and Philosophical Perspectives. New York, NY: SUNY Press, 2008. Print. 
  • Hill, Elizabeth G. Assessing California’s Charter Schools. Darby, PA: DIANE Publishing, 2008. Print.  
  • Kindzierski, Corinne M., Ali Ait Si Mhammed, Nancy Wallace, and Christina Lesh. “State Assessments: Does a Charter School Truly Demonstrate Higher Proficiency than its Public Counterpart?” Current Issues in Education. 16.2 (2013): 1-14. Print.
  • RPP International. The state of charter schools, 2000: Fourth-year report. Stanford, CA: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, US Dept. of Education, 2000. Print. 
  • RPP International. The State of Charter Schools. Stanford, CA: Office of Educational Research and Improvement, US Dept. of Education, 2000. Print.
  • Sass, Tim R. “Charter Schools and Student Achievement in Florida.” Education Finance and Policy 1.1 (2006): 91-122. Print.   
  • Witte, John, David Weimer, Arnold Shober, and Paul Schlomer. “The performance of charter schools in Wisconsin.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 26.3 (2007): 557-573. Print.

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