Are Charter Schools Public or Private?
As a leading charter school in the state of Florida, we get asked a lot of questions about how we operate. Whether a charter school is public or private is probably the most common question we’re asked. After all, people know that charter schools don’t operate in the exact same way that public schools do, so they assume they’re private institutions. Simply put, this isn’t the case.
Yes, charter schools are public schools. But what does that really mean? How do they compare to the way private schools operate? Once you understand that, you’ll also understand why Horizon Charter School is the very best school for your child.
Differences Between Charter and Private Schools
As most people are aware, private companies have a lot more control over how they behave than public ones. Private schools often operate in ways that are more akin to a business than an educational institution. To give you an idea of what we mean, we’ve come up with some comparisons between charter and private schools.
Charter vs. Private — Teacher Certification
In many states, charter and private schools don’t require teacher certification, even though such certification is required for traditional public schools. However, charter schools in the state of Florida do require teacher certification per their agreed-upon charter. This is often seen as more beneficial because certified teachers are typically better for students due to an increased level of expertise and experience.
Charter vs. Private — School Funding
The way that charter and private schools are funded is easily one of the biggest differences that most people are aware of. Charter schools receive funding from the government, whereas private schools are funded through private school tuition and private donations. The latter can sometimes cause things to run amok a bit because parents who donate money may expect special treatment or a “seat at the table” for decision-making.
Charter vs. Private — Teacher Autonomy
One of the most obvious similarities between charter and private schools is the fact that a charter school’s teachers typically enjoy more autonomy than their traditional public school counterparts. This is very often a net positive, but as noted above, private school teachers can run into problems because parents who have funded the school may expect certain “favors” and could dictate teaching methods and the like.
Charter school teachers, on the other hand, usually don’t run into this problem nearly as much. It’s true that parents of charter school students who have donated will something expect certain things, but that’s few and far between.
Charter vs. Private — Student Diversity
Private schools are not required to accept anyone that doesn’t fit certain criteria, whether it’s about ideologies, religious beliefs, gender, etc. Traditional public schools and charter schools cannot discriminate for any reason, which means that you’ll typically find more diversity than in a private institution.
Charter vs. Private — Student Selection
As mentioned above, private schools can be picky about students accepted to the school. This is why you’ll often see a private all-boys or all-girls school. The way a private school handles itself goes even further than that. They are 100% in control of their student selection process.
They hand-pick students based not just on academic achievement but also on personality or how the child is perceived at the time. Since charter schools are public, they’re not allowed to operate this way. Except for certain rare cases, any student must be accepted into a charter school.
Charter vs. Private — Class Size
Charter schools have always been known for their smaller class sizes. In fact, this has often been a selling point that sets charter schools apart from traditional public schools. A private school, on the other hand, will sometimes have vastly differing class sizes. A private school in need of funding may increase their class size due to multiple donations from parents wanting their children to get in.
Contact Horizon Charter School to Enroll Your Children Today
Now that we’ve answered the question, “Are charter schools public or private?” you should have a good understanding of their popularity. Horizon Charter School in Tampa and Hillsborough has been leading the way in giving Florida students an amazing education. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour of one of our schools, call our office at (813) 887-3800 today.