What is an Online Charter School?

wiseGEEK Writer

An online charter school is a school conducted over the Internet. It differs from the many private schools that operate online classes because payments to the school for its services come from government sources. However, unlike many of the public schools available that teach classes on campus, a charter school can be run by a private company or set of individuals, and may be able to sidestep some of the rules and regulations by which most public schools in a given area have to abide. This usually doesn’t mean eliminating standardized testing, but it can mean dramatically changing curriculum to offer subjects or ways of teaching that differ significantly from public schools in the same area.

Young boy eating an apple
Young boy eating an apple

There are many charter schools that are not online. Growth of charter schools continues and parents may look to them for numerous educational possibilities that may be better suited to their children. Online charter school growth is occurring too, and though these remain less popular alternatives for kids and their parents, they are certainly become a viable alternative to educate children. They may be particularly preferred by parents who would like kids to work at their own pace in a homeschooling environment, and parents will certainly need to take a direct role in participating in their children’s educations, especially when kids are in lower grades.

One advantage of the online charter school is that provided it serves a particular area in which a person lives, it is free instead of tuition-based. Due to the fact that tax dollars support the schools, they cannot charge tuition. This matter has encountered controversy in the past, and each state that allows an online charter school to serve its school-aged kids has to make determinations about how much to pay per child. There have been arguments that reimbursement per child in an online charter school should be lower because teachers have far less interaction with individual students, and parents are expected to do some of the instruction. Depending on the state, reimbursement per student may be determined by the amount of teacher time each student and family can expect and the degree to which the school depends on the parents to assume some teaching responsibilities.

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There are two types of online charter school. One type doesn’t offer traditional diplomas, and won’t be considered as school that leads to graduation, but it can offer teaching in subjects students wouldn’t ordinarily get to take. Kids may still go to a regular public or private school, but also enroll in an online charter school class. The other type is usually accredited, which means a diploma will count for college entrance. Students enroll in this type of school full-time, though full-time may have a different meaning and may still not take up as much time in the day as attendance at an onsite school would.

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