10 Surprising Facts About Charter Schools

  • The Original Supporter of Charter Schools: A Union Leader
  • ​Charter Schools served as a Living Example of Democracy
  • ​Teachers Created Their Agendas, Not the Board of Education
  • ​An Alternative to Traditional Public Schooling
  • Children Living in Inner-City Areas Excel in Charter Schools
  • ​Charter Schools Add to the Content of Education Without Adding the Time
  • For Many, It's All in the Luck of the Draw
  • ​Charter Schools Survival Depends on their Success Rate
  • ​Charter Schools Focus in on Specific Skills and Trades
  • ​Charter Schools Weren't Developed to Combat Traditional Public Schools

The Original Supporter of Charter Schools: A Union Leader

Union leader Al Shanker was the first to originally push for the support of charter schools. After visiting a German public school in 1987, Shanker’s observations inspired him to lead the way for charter schools in the United States. Unlike most German public schools, this particular school had students of various socioeconomic classes and ethnic backgrounds–along with different levels of skill sets, fostering a diverse and unique educational environment that students wouldn’t typically experience. Shanker believed this type of integration could potentially ease America into the future its’ leaders hoped for, without compromising the quality of the education.

​Charter Schools served as a Living Example of Democracy

Shanker believed that charter schools should be unionized, not only to protect the rights of the teachers themselves, but also so children could observe the beauty and freedom of democracy at work while understanding the importance of collective action for the greater good.

​Teachers Created Their Agendas, Not the Board of Education

Shanker believed that charter schools would provide an environment for teachers to create their own style and method of teaching–one that was unique to their own strengths and fostered creativity in their interactions with students. Not only were teachers more attuned to their students’ needs, they also felt important and trusted within the organization, creating a more successful and cooperative educational experience for both students and teachers alike.

​An Alternative to Traditional Public Schooling

Charter schools now have over 2.9 million students enrolled throughout the country, making it impossible to ignore the effectiveness of these traditional public school alternatives. As time goes on, parents understand the importance of the environment, the ideologies and the curriculum given to children in our schools, and many traditional public schools do not have the funds to adequately provide a comprehensive education.

Children Living in Inner-City Areas Excel in Charter Schools

An Urban Charter School Study (2015) showed that, in comparison to other charter schools and public schools throughout the United States, the most effective performance stemmed from inner city charter schools. Not only are these results surprising to many who argue against charter schools,  but they prove the effectiveness of a welcoming educational environment.

​Charter Schools Add to the Content of Education Without Adding the Time

Students enrolled in urban charter schools actually gain about forty (40) more complete days of school, through the content of their educational experience, in comparison to traditional public schools.

For Many, It's All in the Luck of the Draw

Some of the most reputable charter schools rely on lottery alone to decide what students to enroll for the upcoming year as applicants and demand continue to exceed ample room for every single student. Parents and students realize the importance of starting the process early in order to have their children enrolled in the best charter schools possible.

​Charter Schools Survival Depends on their Success Rate

Charter schools must show successful results rather quickly, unlike traditional public schools. Without a solid bedrock of effective programs, funding is likely to diminish before the charter school is able to gain more students or improve their program. It’s important to understand the longevity of a charter school before enrolling.

​Charter Schools Focus in on Specific Skills and Trades

Charter schools provide a reasonable alternative to families who cannot afford to send their children to private schools and want their children to have a better educational opportunity than they would receive at their traditional public school. Without these charter schools, some children are forced to attend traditional public schools lacking basic amenities like textbooks and updated computer systems.

​Charter Schools Weren't Developed to Combat Traditional Public Schools

Charter schools were developed to support alternative approaches to education, not to privatize schooling or crush traditional public schools. Charter schools provide safe and specialized environments for children who have a harder time succeeding in a traditional public school setting. Instead of viewing these schools as an enemy or threat to traditional public schools, we can see these specialized institutions as another component of the educational system in the United States.