Difference between Public, Private and Charter Schools

Key Difference: Public schools are schools that are created by the government and funded for by public taxes. Private schools are established by private institutions that do not adhere to government restrictions. Charter schools offer the perfect hybrid between public schools and private schools.

At a certain point in life, parents are often plagued with the questions of sending their children to a particular type of school. Should they opt for the government run public school, expensive private schools or charter schools? Many parents have not even heard of schools other than public or private school; they don’t know that schools such as Charter schools exist.

Public schools are schools that are created by the government and funded for by public taxes. These schools are open for anyone who wants to join in the surrounding district and they do not charge a single penny for tuition. The schools must not discriminate against students on the basis of gender, race, income, etc. Generally, the schools are open for anyone who wants to join, and serves on a first come first serve basis. The schools’ curriculum is based on the one that is designed by the government and the district. Recently, public schools have received a bad reputation for lower grades and lower graduation rates. However, the rates change from school to school.

Private schools are often visualized in TV shows as producing rich and snobbish kids, but this is not entirely true. Although, people do require a certain income to be able to enter their children in a private school, the students are expected to maintain a certain grade point average in order to remain in the school system. Private schools are established by private institutions that do not adhere to government restrictions. This means that private schools determine their own curriculum and are free to set standards to allow admissions into the school. Private schools are not funded by government money, but rather they are funded via private institutions, tuition and donations. Certain private schools, which are funded via institutions, such as religious institutions, are free to incorporate religious studies as part of their curriculum. Certain private schools can also offer specialized courses and they also offer scholarships for people who are gifted but cannot afford the tuition of the private school.

Charter schools are similar to government schools and are a recent phenomenon and they began appearing in the early 1990s. They offer the perfect hybrid between public schools and private schools. Similar to public schools, charter schools do not charge tuition and do not discriminate against students based on their race, gender, or disability. However, like public schools parents must offer a separate application for enrolment and the seats are limited. Charter schools are independently run but they must answer to a government body because of the funding. The government provides the charter and the school must adhere to the charter. The government partially funds the school, with other funding being raised via institutions, etc. If the school is mismanaged or test scores drop significantly, the government has the right to shut down the charter school.

Comparison between Public, Private and Charter Schools:

 

Public

Private

Charter

Funding

Government via taxes

Tuition, alumni and institutions (churches)

Government via taxes

Admission

Must accept everyone in the district until quota is full

Based on people who can pay tuition

Selects students on a lottery basis to fill seats

Tuition

No

Yes

No

Starting the school

Must be done by government and district

Institutions, general public and organizations

Can be by anyone who creates a charter and submits it for approval

Specialization

Offers a non-specialized course

Offers both specialized and non-specialized course

Some may offer a specialized course

Curriculum

Determined by the government

Determined by the school

Determined by government and the school

Image Courtesy: villawoodn-p.schools.nsw.edu.au, thetimes.co.uk, itheatrics.com

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