Uplift’s mission is to create and sustain public schools of excellence that empower students to reach their highest potential in college and the global marketplace and that inspire in students a life-long love of learning, achievement, and service in order to positively change their world.
The Charter School Choice: Top 5 Reasons to Consider One
Charter school options have been on the rise in Texas for the past several decades after the state started allowing charter schools in 1994. Parents in Texas are no longer obligated to send their child to the local public school but have a choice in their child’s education. Charter schools are one of the many choices in the school choice conversation. But is a charter school the right alternative for your child? How do you pick a charter school? Here are the top 5 reasons to consider a charter school and ways to help you make the right choice for your child.
1. Individualized Learning.
There are many great public schools in the state of Texas, and just as many struggle to maintain a quality experience for their students. The bottom line: your child’s current school meeting your educational expectations for your child? Is your child struggling academically? Then a charter school could be the answer. Many charter schools have either smaller class sizes and/or an overall smaller enrollment thanks to the way the charter is set up. If you feel like your child might need a more individualized learning experience, look for a school that offers that type of learning environment.
“We understand that every child learns differently and at a different pace,” says Dr. Remy Washington, President of Uplift Education, the largest charter school network in Dallas/Fort Worth. “We evaluate our students at least three times a year to determine the exact learning level of each child and customize learning plans to each student’s level. As a result, we see more consistent academic growth across our student population.”
2. Unique Focus.
Many charter schools are created for a special focus, such as math and science, technology, or the arts. If your child has a specific interest or talent, then you might seek out charter schools that match that focus. Using websites like niche.com, you can filter for charter schools near you and quickly learn if they specialize in certain areas.
Other charter schools offer a curriculum that is more rigorous and geared toward college preparation. Uplift Education uses the International Baccalaureate globally-focused curriculum for all of its students and places heavy emphasis on college and career preparation.
3. Cheaper alternative than private school.
Charter schools get their funds from public sources, meaning there is no tuition to send your child to a charter school, though some do charge fees for various activities and programs. The absence of tuition is a great benefit for parents, especially those who have several children, and is one of the main reasons why many families choose a charter school over a private school.
4. Strong parent involvement.
Parents’ participation is encouraged in charter schools, and consequently, parents become co-partners with teachers and the school and are often involved in campus volunteer activities. This cooperation is important in promoting learning because of the follow-up instruction and guidance provided by parents.
5. Higher accountability.
While charter schools in Texas have more flexibility in how they design their curriculum and achieve the goal for their students, they are no less accountable. Despite some myths, charters in Texas are held to a higher standard than traditional public schools. Since they are publicly funded, they must follow the regulations that apply to public schools, but in addition, they’re also held accountable by their charter. This increased accountability drives charter schools to fulfill every aspect of their educational responsibility to students and their families.
Although we promised 5 reasons, here are two bonus reasons:
If you have a child with special learning needs, then a charter might be a good option. Since charters are public schools, they must offer the same special populations services as traditional public schools. Be sure to inquire whether the school has special populations teachers on staff or if the services are contracted, as this might affect your decision.
Sports could be a pro or a con for your child, depending on your perspective. Most larger charter schools will offer sports for middle and high schoolers, but often not at the level or variety of a traditional public school. The pros? Smaller schools can often mean a better chance for your child to secure a spot on a team. The cons? If your child is heavily focused on sports participation, especially football, then a charter school might not be the right fit. While sports are often a big part of school culture, many charters place more emphasis on academic and community involvement.
Note that while you might determine a charter is a good option for your child, charters have limited enrollment. Most operate on a lottery system where you must apply, then a random lottery is conducted to fill open seats. Check the school’s website to learn about each school’s process.
Choosing a charter school can be a daunting task, but most schools will offer parents an opportunity to learn more through open houses or private tours. Do your research and explore the options near you. No one can determine the right path for your child better than you.