Charter schools are established in the United States not so long ago (since 1991). However, today these establishments make significant impacts on the educational system of the country. In this respect, it is vital to admit that even with a spread of less than one percent, these schools are privileged and are highly standardized (Finn et al 237). In many states and the federal dimensions, the law norms for charter schools were adopted. The increase of the popularity of suchlike schools is high and stable. However, it is a prerogative for financially substantial parents. This is why the dilemma of parents’ choices about enrollment appears. The paper represents the summary of the information about charter schools and their activities and prospects. Furthermore, the research touches upon three Chicago charter schools. Golder College Prep, Little Village High school, and Mirta Ramirez Computer Science Campus are selected for closer analysis of the main educational and social peculiarities in them. The final touch of the paper considers personal reflection about each of the three charter schools. All in all, education is a huge and unlimited domain of knowledge to gain, and charter school is one of the most effective ways to face such challenges.
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First of all, it is necessary to admit that charter schools were created for making a change in the educational system. Key issues of this new educational creation do not particularly different from other educational systems. Thereupon, among them are finance, state policies, school boards, and student assessment (Reigeluth and Garfinkle 101). In terms of education vouchers charter schools represent a prominent example of peculiar choice for families. It is a better way to enroll a child. However, a parent should be aware of the mental capabilities of a child and the costs as well. However, admission to a charter school is in most cases is like playing the lottery (Buckley and Schneider 33). Being a part of public education, these schools suggest applicants fill in the blanks while enrolling. Then if the charter is available in space, an applicant is placed on a waiting list. This lottery way of selection is appropriate for charter schools. Nonetheless, the number of willing applicants does not decrease. The formal coloring of the school represents a challenge for traditional schools due to some differences in curriculum and in managing the school.
The issue of charter schools is largely discussed. It is the theme that erects additional attention of masses up to local governments of the states in America. The point is that there is a number of controversies about the market-directed character of such schools. Privatization of education is considered by officials to be of less interest. Such schools can prop up against private investments. Thus, the polemic about the issue of charter schools privatization is hot for contemporary American society. However, the proponents of charter schools admit that these establishments serve for cultural and ethnic development and protection. In this respect, there are “Afro-centric, semi-autonomous Native American, and social justice charter schools” (Ladson-Billings and Tate 105). This flow of supporting opinions about schools is optimal for the US and its cultural diversity. On the other hand, it is not surprising that some charter schools are funded by private investment and even by the personal initiatives of a group of teachers. A better approach to the problems of charter schools is helpful at large: “Charter schools are a form of public-private partnership that opens up public education as a source of direct capital accumulation” (Ladson-Billings and Tate 106). Hence, even due to such features of charter schools financing, the public interest in them is high enough. First of all, it is due to the ability to designate students according to their cultural, ethnic and other features of identity. In public schools, the principle of selection is solely based on the district belonging.
Looking at three Chicago charter schools under analysis, one admits that in this city the priority of suchlike establishments is widely discussed. In fact, Chicago is significant for its fast implementation of new types of educational initiatives and creations. Along with charter schools, there are Montessori elementary and elite magnet high schools (Ladson-Billings and Tate 106). The analysis of three charter schools props up against Chicago local initiatives in supporting them.
Golder College Prep is a charter school that opened in August 2007 with a number of 155 freshmen (GCP). This school represents the group of initiative and rather experienced teachers, tutors, administrators, and supporters who are able to guide students for noble perspectives. In this respect, the noble way of education is especially underlined for this school. The main goal of Golder College Prep is to prepare students for further pursuit of education in college. Here the curriculum is underlined with double courses in math and English. This step is straightforward for having success in future education. Furthermore, the school gives advanced and intensive instructions in social sciences, foreign language and other subjects. A host of a choice for election is also indicated for students throughout their careers.
The school is directly related to the Urban School Improvement (USI) Network of the University of Chicago (GCP). This feature gives more emphasis on the future of every scholar. To say more, the local community of parents and students is shared to have an alleged private school education in the public educational setting. Students have particular duties in the school and on campus as if it is their home. Special requirements as dress code, participation in tutoring sessions, and others give more points on students’ self-confidence and self-esteem as well. Being a part of The Noble Network of charter schools Golder College Prep comprises the contingent of scholars in terms of cultural and age points. In this respect living on campuses and participating in different sessions, this school leads education toward solving social, cultural, and traditional issues within students. A highly standardized curriculum is effective and efficient due to a small number of scholars. This fact provides closer communication of a teacher with pupils.
Little Village High School is another charter school in Chicago. It is part of the Little Village Lawndale Network of charter schools. It comprises the main campus and four particular subject-related high schools. These are Arts, Math, Science, and Technology, World Language, and Social Justice. The philosophy and mission of this network of charter schools are to empower students socially and academically in different fields of interest. In this respect, the curriculum is built upon the direct appliance of studies to the cultural aspects. Tolerance is granted, as the paramount feature for all schools of the network. Honoring the different abilities of the students are posed for these charter schools (LVLHS). Moreover, the peculiarity of this school is in making appropriate and strategic steps for a student-centered learning environment. Another approach touches upon the implementation of a post-secondary plan for students. Granting and encouraging the capabilities of every ordinary student allows his/her further success in college.
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The catalyst for making up an applicable curriculum of the school is based on deeper evaluation of racial, cultural, gender, economic and other points. This is why the key beliefs in the Little Village High School are presupposed with truth and transparency, struggle and sacrifice, ownership and agency collective and community power (LVLHS). These core elements face most parents’ and students’ appreciation when making choices about enrolment. Moreover, the fact that the administration of these schools keeps a strict eye on social problems is a big plus. Established in the fall of 2005, the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus was feedback for hardships with an education that appeared in Chicago in 2001(LVLHS). The standards and terms on admission are based on the principles of contemporary requirements for applicants and would-be students. All in all, the location and the contingent of students do not restrict anyone who wants to achieve a highly standardized knowledge base. This charter school is a rather strong alternative for students compared to traditional public schools. Uniting different nationalities in one community of students, the creators of the school solve several goals. First of all, they paid special attention to the elaboration of tolerance while studying. Second, the levels of knowledge among students are discussed by the administration. Such discussion concerns each student individually. Third, post-secondary education is one of the major perspectives for educators.
Mirta Ramirez Computer Science School Campus is a subdivision of the Aspira Network of schools in Illinois. This charter school was opened in 2003 with a primary slogan to move leadership through education (AMRCS). The main mission of this school is to provide computer science in a rigorous and comprehensive form. Students are encouraged in the school to partake in the post-secondary educational program. On the other hand, they are supported with the optimal knowledge base for working, for example, like the Help Desk Specialist, Website Developer, and Computer Engineer (AMRCS). This perspective is really budding for the contemporary world. In the United States, computer science is on a high level. This is why the enrollment to this charter school will provide a successful start from basic practices to advanced approaches in computing.
The one-sided, from the first side, approach of the school is facilitated by other subjects in social sciences. The fullness of the curriculum touches upon every single minute of studying. Students living on campuses and attending classes are constantly in the dynamics of the educational process. This is why the high standards of education promise rather attractive points for further careers. This flow of arguments of the school is related to the fast development of time. The community of students attending this school differs according to race, culture, gender, and social status, but it is united in the whole desire for computer science. This is why the pluralism of opinions among students is not a problem. Social aspects in communication can be lessened due to general discussion of the central theme of their studying.
In fact, all three schools represent distinctive examples of charter schools. They are united in their rigorous and comprehensive methods of teaching. The curricula aspects are also related to the main goals of the schools. The movement of charter schools in Chicago, Illinois, is expressed due to these three networks of high schools. The thing is that in each of them the domestic initiative for making assignments is included in-class activities. Then the attention on the measures of how students should behave and dress is considered. The small number of scholars attending classes represents the opportunity to gain more attention of a teacher toward each student. I think that in traditional public schools such feature is not determined. This is why scholars may feel their insignificance for the school and play truant, as a result. Moreover, simply checking the results or achievements of students in schools is not a way out for the increase of knowledge levels among students. There should be a transition between studying prospects and leisure time so that to unify the educational process. A teacher’s closer approach matters in this respect. As for me, when a student is encouraged, it gives him a ground for the growth of self-esteem. This fact is for some reasons omitted by teachers in traditional schools. The privilege of charter schools being analyzed is in their student-centered approach. Second, the way of financial approach does not limit access for ordinary students from ordinary families. In other words, even with private investments charter schools are open to all wishing to enroll in such schools. Moreover, the social issue of race, gender, culture, and traditions are kept in terms of tolerance. This prospect designates charter schools in Chicago from traditional ones.
AMRCS. Aspira Mirta Ramirez Computer Science School, 2009. The official webpage. Web.
Buckley, Jack and Schneider, Mark. Charter schools: hope or hype? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.
Finn Chester E., Manno, Bruno V. and Vanourek, Gregg. Charter schools in action: renewing public education. Ed. 2. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.
GCP. Golder College Prep, 2007. The official webpage. Web.
Ladson-Billings, Gloria and Tate, William F. Education research in the public interest: social justice, action, and policy. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006.
LVLHS. Little Village Lawndale High School Campus, 2009. The official webpage. Web.
Reigeluth, Charles M. Garfinkle, Robert J. Systemic change in education. St. Paul, MN: Educational Technology, 1994.