What Exactly Are Charter Schools? Government Orders Closure Of Four Low-Performing Charter Schools

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 02, 10:57 pm
The Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School is seen December 15, 2004 in the Mount Pleasant/Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. Charter schools are not understood by many.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Betsy DeVos recently sat as the Secretary of the Department of Education, she and the administration are hoping to let more students be part of charter schools but not a lot of people understand the process. Amid the new plans of the Department of Education, the government just ordered the closure of four low-performing charter schools.

There is a total of 6,900 charter schools and basically, these are publicly-funded and privately-run schools. Today, there is around 3.1 million students are enrolled in different schools located in 43 states in the country, where the first charter school was opened in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1992.

A poll was made in 2014 regarding the people's attitude towards education and it was found out most Americans do not understand charter schools, NPR reported. Fifty-seven percent believed charter schools charged tuition and nearly 50 percent thought charter schools were allowed to teach religion.

The real meaning of charter schools, however, is that these are schools that have a two-sector system. One part is the traditional school district, which is centrally managed, while the other part is independent and is not owned by a central school board.

Both types of charter schools are public but they have the freedom to hire teachers without a union contract. Some charter schools are also for-profit as the school can hire a company to manage its school. According to experts, charter schools are funded by the state but some receive money from private donors. However, this type of educational institution gets less money per pupil compared to traditional public schools.

Meanwhile, four low-performing charter schools in Newark and Camden were recently closed. These schools brought the number of failed charter schools to 20. The schools were identified as Newark Prep Charter School, Paulo Freire Charter School, Merit Prep Charter School and Camden Community Charter School, NJ.com reported.

DeVos and the Trump administration expressed they are strong advocates for charter schools. She was opposed by many regarding the appointment of being the secretary of education as it was feared she will dismantle the public school system. DeVos has not issued any statement yet regarding the closure of the aforementioned four charter schools. 

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