When you are looking for alternatives to the public education your children currently receive, there are more options now than ever before. Thirty, forty years ago, your choices were public, parochial, and—if you lived in the big cities—private. Now you also have charter schools. So, you already know what a parochial school is, but what are the differences between a private school and a charter school? The following will help sort that out for you.
Private schools are privately owned, privately funded, and operate independently of all other school systems and education boards. Most of the money that keeps these schools in operation comes from the tuition paid by parents, while the rest is raised through fundraising and grants. As such, private schools can charge whatever they like to meet their educational and professional needs. Some may charge as much as an ivy league college for one child. However, their education is often superior because the students get lots of one-on-one time, the classes are very small, and it has a small community feel versus a giant ocean. Specialty classes may be a part of the curriculum, and some private schools also offer room and board away from home as well.
Charter schools, particularly those in the U.S., are publicly funded schools, but they are privately owned and/or privately operated. This gives many children who would otherwise not be able to afford a private school education the opportunity to reap the benefits of a private school education while attending a public school setting. For example, if you wanted your children to attend a charter school in your city, you would enroll them through your school district's website but then visit the charter school's site to fill out an application form.
While your children are still listed as being enrolled in your school district, they will attend a charter school. You do not have to pay for their attendance at the charter school, since it is funded by the same state money that funds the public school system. Charter schools are day programs only; children never stay away from home and are never boarded. What is more, your children still get to know the children in their own neighborhood and develop friends with the neighborhood children, rather than with friends they may never see again once they have finished the highest level in available in private school.