Charter schools have had several impacts on public education. Despite the rumors of negatively affecting the enrollment and fiscal successes of public schools, charter schools actually improve the quality of education for students in elementary, middle, and high schools.
While public schools have financial problems, the causes are not due to charter schools, especially the great charter schools in Utah. The financial problems come from increasing salaries and pension costs, along with the costs of providing special education services.
Financial Benefits of Charter Schools
Charter schools provide unique opportunities in their communities. They offer options to families who could only choose public schools. By offering opportunities, charter schools can push students to higher achievement. Many of the best charter schools see better results in math and reading scores, as they can push students to learn in ways that public schools can’t.
The better scores and improved learning improves opportunities for post-secondary education. In some states, students from charter schools outperform their public-school counterparts regarding college acceptance rates. After earning their college degrees, charter-school graduates often earn more money when compared to public-school graduates.
Yes, charter schools get their financing from state coffers, but it does not mean they are stealing the money from public schools. Charter schools provide an education, as do public schools, so the money is simply being transferred from the local public school district to the charter school.
How Charter Schools Affect Public School Enrollment
School districts lose students for a variety of reasons. When they lose students, they lose funding. When the losses grow, public school districts must make changes. Charter schools funnel students away from public schools, but not at a high enough rate to affect their funding.
In some districts, public schools gained more students than charter schools, and vice versa. Many communities do not have charter schools, and those districts have financing issues, proving that charter schools are not the main cause of financial troubles. Some students enter charter schools after leaving a private or parochial school, which does not impact the public schools at all.
Why Public Schools Have Financial Problems
Charter schools do not create financial issues in public school districts. Many public schools had financial issues long before charter schools arrived in the early 2000s. Public schools have high expenses, due to growing teacher salaries, the costs of special education services, and pension costs. The state needs to help public schools balance their budgets and provide financing that fits their unique needs.
How Charter Schools Help
When public schools suffer, charter schools also feel the effects. Charter schools help students who need a different environment. Charter schools help students learn, and studies show that charter school graduates succeed at college and beyond.
Preventing transfers to charter schools can negatively impact public schools as they spend more to meet the needs of students who struggle. Charter schools often meet the needs of students who can be overlooked by public schools that are busy handling special needs.