As a parent, you obviously want to make the best choice for your child when it comes to schooling. Whether your child is approaching high school age, or is already enrolled in high school, it’s important for parents to understand that there are alternatives to public school available. Many parents worry that their local public school isn’t up to par for whatever reason. Perhaps their child has already had a bad experience in the school district, or perhaps you yourself are not satisfied with the way things are being done. That’s a frustrating situation to be in, but it doesn’t have to be permanent.
Of all the countless decisions you’ll make as a parent, perhaps none are so important as how you choose to educate your child. Yet, for all the weight and consequence placed on this choice, it sometimes feels like straightforward information on the topic is frustratingly hard to come by. Where are the facts and figures? Where are the convenient tables, line graphs, and pie charts showing us concrete numbers we can follow with absolute confidence? While it would be amazing if we could each simply plug a few stats into a program and map out the best possible course for our children, the truth is parents are faced with a dizzying array of options, among them, traditional schooling, charter schools, and other alternatives to public education. And perhaps it’s that word “alternatives” that acts as one of the biggest stumbling blocks. There is the overarching concept of alternative education, and then there is the very specific meaning of the term “alternative school.” Many times, charter schools and alternative schools are used as interchangeable terms, when in fact they are quite different. Understanding exactly what is meant by charter schools vs. alternative schools will be a crucial part in helping you make the right decision for your child. Let’s begin by unpacking each of these terms individually.
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