Are Charter Schools Preferable to Public Institutions?

Are Charter Schools Preferable to Public Institutions?

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 11:26

Haywood County’s parents are often searching for alternatives to public education. Our area is blessed to have excellent teachers in every institution; however, there is a multitude of reasons to consider non-traditional alternatives. Charters schools provide that alternative for many students in North Carolina. Since charter school legislation passed in 1996, 184 institutions have opened in our state, with that number growing every year. Since they have a measure of control over curriculum and class size, without charging tuition, the charter school movement is intriguing for parents. 

Are charter schools the best alternative to traditional public education? In this article, we are helping parents answer that question. 


What is a Charter School?

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, charter schools are, “Public schools of choice that are authorized by the State Board of Education and operated by independent non-profit boards of directors.” Since they are publicly funded by state and local tax revenue, charter schools cannot charge tuition. They cannot base hiring administrators and teachers on religious affiliation. In other words, there are no Christian charter schools. 

Though they are accountable to North Carolina assessment standards, charter schools do have flexibility in regard to curriculum, education philosophies, and operations. Other facts about charter schools include:

  • Charter schools must adhere to the standards laid out in their “charters” to maintain public funding.
  • Charter schools do typically have smaller class sizes than traditional public schools; however, they are not as small as private schools.
  • Not all, but at least 50% of charter school teachers must be licensed. 
  • A charter school may have an application process but cannot require an entrance exam.

Are Charter Schools Better Than Public?

In many ways, it is too early to determine definitively whether charter school students perform better than those in traditional public education. Throughout the nation, approximately 24% of charter schools have closed, often due to mismanagement and competition for public funding. Nevertheless, enrollment in charter institutions is six times higher than it was fifteen years ago.

Some institutions may attract students who struggle in traditional classrooms, while others may be preferred by students who excel in certain subjects. It will be some time before there is enough data to determine whether the model itself is in face better than traditional public education. While charter schools offer something of a middle ground between public and private education, they do face some of the same challenge traditional public institutions experience. For concerned parents, private Christian education may be the best alternative. 

Is Private Christian Education the Best Solution?

Private education provides the freedom for teachers and administration to speak openly about God, Scripture, and the gospel. Christian private education has many benefits, including:

  • Scrutiny: Private schools are expected to meet educational standards, and through their accreditors, often face an even more rigorous set of standards than what North Carolina requires.
  • Christian education: Christian schools have the freedom to teach the Scriptures as part of the curriculum. 
  • Chapel services: Haywood Christian Academy comes together to worship God each week. This affords students the opportunity to learn more about how to lead worship. 
  • Biblical worldview: Private Christian Schools are able to teach each subject through the lens of a biblical worldview, demonstrating how God and the Bible relate to every aspect of life and study. 
  • Teachers as mentors: In a private Christian environment, not only are teachers academic mentors, they are spiritual disciple-makers. 

If you are a parent searching for an alternative to public education, we would love to talk more with you about the advantages of private Christian education. At HCA, our mission is to help students become Christian leaders. Contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about why private education may be the best choice for your child.