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Comparing Public, Charter, and Private Schools.

Chad Bookidis, Co-Founder, Dad

January 7, 2019

If you’re like my family, thinking about school in the fall is usually not the top of my priority list at the beginning of the new year. Unless you’re forced to.

Last year around this time, we were exploring school options for our soon-to-be 6th grader. We live in AISD, where 5th graders have the option to either go to their feeder school or an in-district magnet school. We were “recruited” by private schools, charter schools, and yes, even public schools. On top of feeling like I was living the movie Johnny be Good, it was an eye opening experience I wasn’t prepared for.

This is when I could pull out my “grumpy old man” impression and use phrases like, “Back in my day…” But I’ll spare you.

But I’ll spare you. Suffice to say that times have changed. There was a lot to digest. Like essays & application deadlines and what felt like some big choices to be made.

Education is a complex topic: rankings, quality, accountability, curriculum, and philosophy can all come into play when deciding on the best school for your child. The best way to get to your right answer is to educate yourself on all the choices available.

Now is the perfect time to think about your options. Application deadlines for private schools (and some charter schools) are due in January and February. To aid in the process, we put together a comparison and general descriptions of public, charter and private schools.

Public schools are schools that are maintained at public expense for the education of the children of a community or district.

They are part of a free public education system receiving tax dollars.

Charter schools are public schools that are independent of school districts through contracts with state or local boards.

They are independently operated public schools started by parents, teachers, community organizations, and for-profit companies. These schools receive tax dollars, but the sponsoring group may also come up with private funding.  Charter schools usually challenge standard education practices and sometimes specialize in a particular area, such as technology, the arts, gifted or high-risk children, or adopt a basic core-subjects approach.

Private schools are non-governmental schools that are not administered by local, state, or national governments. 

Because they do not accept public funding of any kind and instead use tuition charged to students as their source of funding as well as grants, donations & endowments.  Private schools are autonomous at the federal level but must adhere to basic state guidelines (such as agreeing to teach reading and math and adhering to building codes).