Your thoughts on charter schools? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is only 3 but they're telling us that if we want him in any of the local charter schools, he needs to get on the list now.

I'm trying to research our options here... we're looking at a Montessori private school and a public charter school that has a really fantastic reputation for being very progressive, democratic, crunchy, etc. At the charter, we would have the option of engaging in their home-learning program, if we were so inclined.

Do your children attend a charter? What's it like?

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#2 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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Charters vary tremendously which is sort of the point of charters. They are very popular in our county. Some are fantastic! Others, not so much. They stand on their own and so really, what they are like depends on who's running it and who is sending their children there. We've researched many and truely, they couldn't be more different from each other. In the end, we found the local school district could offer the same and more than the charters and were close to home. However, we are planning on sending DS to a specialized charter for middle and high school but it's lottery based and VERY sought after. It could take a few years to get him in.

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#3 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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My dd is in a charter school that we like a lot, but they do vary a lot. They don't have a list in our area like some high end private schools. There is a yearly lottery they do early in the year and you need to put your info in early so you can be in it. If you miss the lottery or aren't pulled you go onto the waiting list and have to hope you get in. Call the school to see what you need to do though because each state is different.
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#4 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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We have lots of charter schools in our city and plan on trying some of the lotteries for them when ds gets old enough. I know around here your best chance is kindergarten and the lottery is pulled the DECEMBER before the entering fall (you can't "get on the list" sooner than the kid would be eligible.) The schools pull *all* the names, the first X kids get in and the rest are on the waiting list.

Each school has a different feel/philosophy/approach which is how they formed their charter, some we will try to get into others NO WAY.
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#5 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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My children go to a Montessori charter school and admissions are run on a lottery system. We are huge advocates of the Montessori pedagogy and they attended Montessori preschool, so it was HUGE for us that they got in! Fortunately, it is a very good school. Unfortunately, it's not perfect. I have nothing against public schools, but we wanted Montessori more than charter.

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#6 of 9 Old 10-14-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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My children do not attend a charter, but I used to work at one. I think that charters can be great, but they can also be "market-driven" at it's worst. The one I was working at was closing because another charter opened down the street that offered more hours of low-cost childcare before and after school. The charter I worked for was fabulous, and the new one that was opening did not even have furniture in the rooms come August. It seemed like a "fly by night" business venture.
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#7 of 9 Old 10-15-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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We moved ds from our local ps to a charter school. It is K-12 on a small plot of land so it is as big as it's going to get, though it is part of a "chain" of science and technology charter schools and sister schools in my state.

My son is ADHD, possibly Asperger's, and has some sensory issues. I think that the massive (his elementary school had 600 students last year and 1000 this year--population boom) population and size of his school was too much for him and he is doing better in his new school.

Charter schools around here often start up in store fronts. The first school we looked at was a store front school nearly under an overpass, surrounded by a parking lot; but we were so impressed by what we saw inside that we would have sent ds there if the second school hadn't offered him a place. The second school has only had its purpose built building for 2 years.

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#8 of 9 Old 10-16-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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Our charters have lotteries, and are very different from each other.

My kids attend a Montessori charter, and it is really, truly a Montessori school first. We really do feel like we've won the lottery!

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#9 of 9 Old 10-17-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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I live in the Dallas, TX area. Frankly, none of the charters are that great here. We are at what is supposedly one of the better ones, but academically, it is a disaster. It is so much of a disaster that it is shocking. The people are nice though. It seems like a safe place. But academically, it is just over the top awful.
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