Many parents may wonder what are the benefits of charter schools, how do they apply and if it’s the best choice for their child. According to PublicCharters.org, “Charter schools are independent public schools allowed freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improved student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved, teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn, with all three held accountable for improved student achievement.”
Charter schools are by no means meant to replace public schools, however they do give parents a choice to decide whatʼs best for their childʼs education. Unfortunately, the current Maryland charter school law makes it difficult for charter schools to grow. To gain more insight on this topic, I interviewed Phillip King, a single parent of twin eighth-grade students, A’Karionna and A’Kristionna, of Chesapeake Science Point (CSP) Public Charter School in Anne Arundel County. Learn how a charter school is working for his girls.
Why did you choose a charter school for your children?
I chose a charter school for my children because I believe it’s the highest quality education that my children can get. In my opinion, many charter schools provide significant opportunities for advanced students to learn and to be pushed to their level.
What are the benefits of a charter school?
One of the benefits of charter schools like CSP is the advanced curriculum. The teachers insist that students perform to an advanced degree of excellence. There is a demand for excellence. And the environment is multicultural with a variety of students from diverse backgrounds. I find it invaluable that my daughters are friends with people from different nationalities.
Is the application process for charter schools hard?
The application process for CSP is very easy. Parents must apply by December online, by mail or walk-in at the school. Then, a lottery is done to determine the winning students. Parents are notified in January of the results. What I like about public charter schools is the application process is not merit-based. This way all students are given a fair chance to be a part of a great opportunity.
How dedicated are teachers?
The teachers at CSP actually volunteer their time for afterschool clubs, events and extra activities where teachers show their creativity and dedication outside of the classroom. Any student that may be having a challenging time or want to get extra support with their school work can come to Saturday School. Teachers’ presence at out-of-school activities, programs and classes really shows how much they really care.
Why is parent involvement so important?
Parent involvement is critical to the success of your child and your child’s charter school. We have a Parent Task Force at CSP that assists the teachers with afterschool clubs, lunchroom monitoring, math teams, writing grants, competitions, etc. My twin daughters received the opportunity to compete in a national out-of-state math competition at an Ivy League school against students from China. This was all made possible by CSP teachers, parents and community partners.
Recently, when CSP was in danger of closing during its renewal process, parents, teachers and organizations like MarylandCAN fought to keep CSP open. I am happy to say the school will remain open and has expanded to include students up to the 12th grade.
If you are interested in learning more about charter schools, MarylandCAN’s fight for public charter school innovation or how to apply to a public charter school for your child, visit:
Charter Schools in Maryland
The National Charter School Resource Center
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools