What are the Pros and Cons of Charter Schools?

Over the years, studies have found that certain factors contribute to the success of a school, including public, private and charter schools. These include classroom teachers who know how to inspire their children to excel, school administrators who create a productive and positive learning environment, communities that value education and families who nurture their children’s education. Like any other school, a charter school can also experience both horrifying failures and successes. So, what are the pros and cons of these schools?


Probably the most compelling and powerful argument for a charter school is that it offers flexibility for families. Even in areas with high-quality public schools, these options may not be the best fit for everyone as they may not be ambitious enough or too academically ambitious, prone to a peer group that may be problematic or either too big or too small.

A charter school also encourages competition, which has been shown to improve how educators teach. Although competition may or may not be the reason behind increasingly better test scores, it has made public schools more aware of how they teach as well as the curriculum they offer. In other words, there is not as much “take it or leave it” attitude in public schools.

On one hand, public schools need to offer education for all of its students, so they do not have the luxury to decide what types of families they’d like to serve. On the other hand, a charter school is able to carve out a niche and adopt a vision that attracts interested families.

Finally, a charter school may be more likely to foster innovation. Some of the most exciting experiments in education happen in a charter school, including those run by KIPP and the Harlem Children’s Zone. Since they are not constrained by bureaucracy and union rules, many educational reformers note that many of these schools lack innovation, so the hopes for school movements simply remain unfulfilled.


Although many people believe that these schools are available for everyone, the reality is that they tend to target their audience. For instance, they may offer a lack of transportation to discourage low-income families or offer a difficult, fast-paced curriculum that would discourage children who tended to slack in their studies. They also tend to have a lack of special education services which would ultimately discourage families with special needs children.

Since schools are funded based on enrollment, the traditional K-12 programs often risk fiscal inefficiency. Would it make more sense to pay more money for school, especially if you want to improve it? Some policymakers stand behind school consolidation in order to support charter school expansions and promote fiscal efficiency

Since their boards are appointed by charter organizations instead of the public, a charter school is often less likely to have outlets for protests when problems and controversies arise. Less control and accountability could lead to outrage, particularly if the school decided to make a significant decision, and there was nothing the parents could do about it.

The bottom line is that the mission of a public education system is to develop children’s talents and maximize their opportunities. We should be aware of how to spend our money to accomplish these missions as well as how to get the best return for our investment and, in some cases, charter schools may be the best option for both the child and parents.