Students in the United States attend public, private, or charter schools. The article will compare different types of schools and summarize their differences. Let’s dive into understanding the Differences between Charter, Public, and Private Schools.
1. Public School
Public schools are public education systems that are publicly financed by local governments or publicly funded but privately operated with little or no direct government supervision.
Pupils typically go to a designated primary or secondary school building from the time they enter “grade one” until they graduate from high school, usually at age 18 in most countries.
2. Charter School
A Charter school is a type of public (publicly financed) education institution that is chartered to provide an educational program that may be used by all students regardless of their prior academic performance.
Charter schools are probably more numerous than most people realize. About 5% of American children attend charter schools in the United States. Charter schools must accept all students, including those with special needs, and must serve the educational needs of the community it serves.
3. Private School
Private School is a term that refers to any educational institution that is privately funded through tuition fees and/or other payments from families rather than from local government or private corporations.
Families can enroll their child in a private school instead of a public one (such as a public school or charter school). Private schools are often called “high schools.” Private schools can be of any type, including religious and parochial schools.
Most private schools are Roman Catholic or Protestant, but a growing number of private schools are nonreligious.
Charter School/Public School
Charter schools and public schools are frequently used interchangeably. This article uses charter school to refer to both types, while public school refers to only the traditional public (government-funded) education system.
Here are the differences between Charter, Public School, and Private Schools
- Charter schools can be from one classroom to hundreds of classrooms. According to the US Dept of Education, charter schools cost $2,000 to $5,000 a year per student. Public schools cost between $7,000 to $12,000 per pupil -$3,400 in California. Private boarding schools cost around $20,000 a year in tuition and board, which includes room and board and as much as a full-time salary for teachers if the school requires it.
- Charter schools have a high teacher-student ratio which is 1:50. Public schools have 1:20 to 1:30, and Private boarding schools have a teacher-student ratio of 1:5.
- Charter schools are located in large urban areas where there is a high demand for services and no other existing institutions to meet that demand, e.g., Detroit, New Orleans, Washington DC, the Bronx, and Harlem in NY or the Lower East side in Manhattan New York and South Central LA.
- Charter schools cover all or almost all of their costs through tuition fees paid by parents but do not charge admission for students who join after a specific date but don’t pay the full amount for a year or less of enrollment (i.e., if they just started attending. Doors are open to all. The schools take the student regardless of need, ability, or previous experience. Public schools are free but have to charge tuition in cases of students who either can’t fill all their costs or don’t qualify for free meals. About 30 States in the USA have charter schools.
- Charter schools are self-governing; they can make their own rules, choose their curriculum and hire teachers. Most charter schools use a curriculum much the same as public schools because they need to be approved by the state department of education to educate students on the state’s dime.
- Public school is for everyone, including economically disadvantaged children; they do not charge tuition even if it has sports or academic competitions fees. Charter schools have fewer students and more racial and ethnic diversity than public schools. Private boarding school charges tuition and board, but it has more resources than most public schools (including computers). The best private boarding schools rival the finest universities in physical facilities, technology, and other resources.
- Public schools have about a 2:1 teacher-student ratio and require credentials. Charter schools are mostly privately run, not government-regulated, but need teachers with specific certifications. Private schools have more comprehensive educational qualifications than public schools, providing a broader range of subjects and course pretensions.
- Charter schools let students choose subjects, but the State Department must approve them of education. Public School has many requirements as well as discipline and curriculum requirements, including social studies, math, English, and science (at least).
- Charter schools focus on a specific idea, technology, career, or other subject areas. Public schools are sometimes dedicated to a particular field of study (e.g., hospitals, computers, etc.) Private schools offer a more diverse range of subjects from philosophy to art education.
- Charter schools have a higher teacher-student ratio than public schools, which have 1:20 most of the time. Charter Schools have lower class sizes than they should; that’s why they need more teachers, and student-teacher ratios will be higher than in public schools.
- Students at charter public schools are required to attend school for 180 days, and the schools are open approximately the same hours as public schools. Private boarding schools have longer school years with breaks within school weeks.
- Charter schools have more choices than public schools (28). The state department must approve them of education. Most public schools only have 17 subjects that must be followed but are not required to teach. Private Schools have a broader range of topics than most public or charter schools, including Philosophy, Art Education, Music, etc.
- Charter schools provide vocational education of three types: adult education, career training and upgrading, and school-to-work programs. The state department must approve charter schools of education. Public Schools have vocational education courses, but they don’t have to be authorized or required by the state education department, unlike charter schools. Private boarding schools have some vocational courses and private tutoring/ skills training, which is optional (if students want to participate).
- Private Schools have a lower tuition fee than public and charter schools. They are most expensive than Public schools.
- Public Schools have the same hours of operation as private boarding schools in comparison to charter schools. Public Schools are open 5 days per week in terms of 7-hour shifts. In contrast, charter schools are open 5 days per week and 6-hour shifts with some additional Saturday shifts to account for holidays (mostly) or special events like sports tournaments and performances in some cases.
- Charter schools provide more resources than public schools and private boarding schools.
- The school year is 180 days long with a 5-day week from Monday to Friday with students attending school for 8 hours per day, most of the time on lesson plans approved by the state department of education. Charter Schools follow a traditional school year schedule, 6-hour days (three days per week) which includes 195–200 days of instruction but only 3 sets of holidays. Schools are open an additional hour on Saturdays in most cases to accommodate sports teams and special events like plays or extra-curricular activities in some cases.
- Charter schools focus on sports, but they also focus on other areas like school spirit and academic achievements. Charter schools provide various opportunities for their students to excel in sports, from football and basketball to cheerleading and dance. Public Schools seem to have more athletics at the middle and high school levels but often have little or no athletic program for younger children. In Lower School, children participate in physical education classes designed around games, dance, gymnastics, and other activities encouraging movement. Middle School students participate in the interscholastic competition through a variety of team sports as well as individual events. Upper School athletics compete as part of the Tri-M league.
- Private boarding schools have about a 9:1 teacher-student ratio compared to charter and public schools, which have 1:20 most of the time. Private schools naturally have a higher staff-student ratio than public and charter schools because of the private nature of the school.
- Private schools and public schools have kindergartens, while charter schools don’t.
- Public Schools provide extra-curricular activities dedicated to a specific field of study (e.g., hospitals, computers, etc.) but not just arts and sports. Charter Schools focus on sports, but they also focus on other areas like school spirit and academic achievements. Charter schools provide various opportunities for their students to excel in sports, from football and basketball to cheerleading and dance. Public Schools seem to have more athletics at the middle and high school levels but often have little or no athletic program for younger children. In Lower School, children participate in physical education classes designed around games, dance, gymnastics, and other activities encouraging movement. Middle School students participate in the interscholastic competition through a variety of team sports as well as individual events. Upper School athletics compete as part of the Tri-M league.
- Charter schools focus on sports, but they also focus on other areas like school spirit and academic achievements. Charter schools provide various opportunities for their students to excel in sports, from football and basketball to cheerleading and dance. Public schools seem to have more athletics at the middle and high school levels but often have fewer athletic programs for younger children. In Lower School, children participate in physical education classes designed around games, dance, gymnastics, and other activities encouraging movement. Middle School students participate in the interscholastic competition through a variety of team sports as well as individual events. Upper School athletics compete as part of the Tri-M league.
- Public Schools have a stricter dress code than charter and private boarding schools, and it seems to ebb and flows with the decade. They have various colors, styles, and even acceptable lengths of skirts and pants. Boys can wear earrings.
- Public Schools have state-of-the-art buildings with high technology and facilities that are not available in private and charter schools. They provide a clean environment for students with well-trained staff dedicated to giving their students the best educational experience possible. Public Schools open 5 days each week during 7 hours shifts with more than 10 holidays aside from regular weekends (Saturday). Charter schools follow a traditional school year schedule, 6-hour days (three days per week) which includes 195–200 days of instruction but only three sets of holidays. Schools are open an additional hour on Saturdays in most cases to accommodate sports teams and special events like plays or extra-curricular activities in some cases.
- Public Schools have an arts/sports complex on campus that students don’t have without parents making donations and paying fees for the privilege of attending. Charter schools also provide a decent arts and sports complex at a reasonable cost to the student body, but there are no state-of-the-art facilities on campus. Private boarding schools do not provide a public school rival to public schools.
- Both public and charter schools have uniforms for school and non-school-related meetings, but parents can choose not to send their children to school in uniform.
- Charter schools pride themselves on school spirit, but it seems secondary to the academic achievement of their students. Public Schools pride themselves on school spirit and provide uniforms that foster this and offer educational support through athletics, cheerleading, dance, etc. In contrast, private boarding schools do not offer a rival to public schools in this regard.
- Charter schools and private boarding schools have some wish services that parents can utilize to get something they want for their child. Public Schools don’t provide these, and they don’t have any monetary funds that parents can spend on this occasion.
- Public Schools offer lunch money while charter schools do not. Charter schools provide other means, such as using their funds or donations, to help lower-income families afford school lunches and snacks. Private boarding schools seem to have more options for children to supplement school lunches but still use the same system most public schools use; parents send a check with the lunch money.
- Public Schools offer a graduation ceremony while charter schools do not. Charter schools provide their ceremony in place of a graduation ceremony. Private boarding schools tend to offer a formal graduation ceremony with honors to the top students. An end-of-the-year field trip for all students, accompanied by their parents, is also provided.
- Public Schools provide school bus services while charter and private boarding schools do not. Some private buses are available at Charter and Boarding Schools, but they usually charge extra for this service. Public transportation is also available, but it may be limited in some areas, depending on where you live.
- Public Schools provide no babysitting, while charter and private boarding schools provide this service. Public Schools may have a crisis hotline, teachers, or other staff members who are willing to help parents out with their child(ren) in an emergency but nothing that is official and part of the school system.
- Public schools provide a student ID card or a name tag which is often sewn onto book bags or purses though sometimes it is made from metal, plastic, or even Velcro. Private boarding schools may not have these for students but will have them for staff members and name tags for identification purposes. Charter schools provide no student ID cards or name tags at all.
- Public Schools provide school supplies for their students, while private boarding schools don’t have any way of providing these things for students. Charter schools may provide some basic supplies, but it is not consistent or guaranteed to have all the supplies a child might need.
Conclusion on Differences between Charter, Public School, and Private Schools
In conclusion, the choice of school for a child is a significant decision that deserves full attention, both from a financial and educational standpoint. A child who has the opportunity to attend one of the better-known private schools in Central Florida can undoubtedly expect to receive a quality education from caring and experienced teachers and outstanding facilities that provide an environment conducive to learning.