It's not uncommon for parents to wonder what the difference is between charter schools and private schools, so we wanted to take a moment to touch on this and provide a comparison of the two.
In a way, you can think of charter schools as a hybrid between public and private schools. Just like a public school, the education aspect is free as charter schools are funded by the government. This also means that the school must be managed in accordance to the government body that provides the charter--the state, county, or district--and the school will be in jeopardy of losing its charter if test scores are unsatisfactory. For many established charter schools, fundraising becomes a significant source of income for the school.
A charter school will draw from a much larger pool of students than a public school. Unlike public schools, charter schools require students to apply, and there are usually only a limited number of spaces available. In some cases, charter schools use a lottery system to fill these spaces, which can create anxiety for parents and students alike. Charter schools tend to be smaller than traditional public schools, which often results in smaller class sizes. This is certainly on a case by case basis, however.
Just like charter schools, students are required to apply to private schools, although the admission process at a private school is often more involved (interviews, essays, and testing). Most private schools have earned the reputation of being much more selective during the admission process.
Tuition is also associated with private education; however, many parents feel that the benefits of a private education far outweigh the costs. One of the biggest factors that drives parents to send their children the private route is the religious and moral foundation that many private schools offer. Since public and charter schools are typically prohibited from incorporating religion into their curriculum, parents that desire this foundation to be instilled in their children choose private school.
Another reason why parents may choose private school is that they want their children to be in a learning environment with other high achievers. Test results heavily factor into the admission process, and teachers in a private education setting set high expectations for these students.
For parents that are concerned about the class sizes in the local public school or charter school, a private school can help to ease their minds as the student-to-teacher ratio is often much lower. This means that students in a private education setting generally receive much more one-on-one interaction with their teachers, which helps these students to stay engaged and get the most out of the learning experience.
Naturally, you still may have some questions surrounding the differences between private and charter schools. We invite you to contact us to learn more about these differences and why many parents are choosing to send their children to St. Barnabas Episcopal School.