Discussion on public magnet and charter schools

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Nowadays an education is not a privilege for wealthy people only as it was some decades ago and in middle ages. Every child and every person has an opportunity to receive a certain level of education for free. Many types of school are available today. Let us discuss three of them - public school, magnet school and charter school. What are differences between them?

Public Schools

To define differences between the types of schools is impossible without the clear understanding of the main idea of every school. First of all, let us examine what is public school. It could be various types of educational institutions depending on the country. Mostly, public schools is an educational institution that is funded and run by the government (usually it is funded through the taxes). Nevertheless, some public schools are run by different organizations and they are independent from the government; we can consider them private institutions. We can see that public schools are a result of the idea that government of a country has a responsibility for the level of education of its citizens. Most of public schools charge a small material fee and they are free to attend. There are many various schooling models varying from country to country. Nevertheless, the most popular model of public education cares about children throughout childhood and in to the late teens. Some countries also provide an opportunity to get higher education for free. This opportunity is for those students who are citizens of a country. Also some countries provide a kind of partially government subsidize university programs.

Talking about the United States, we can see that the government of the country operates number of state colleges, although students are expected to pay different fee (for example, tuition one). On the other hand, there are some financial aid programs and government loan available for the citizens of the United States.

In other countries, like the United Kingdom, public schools are mostly privately funded and charge a high tuition fees; these schools set a high admission standards. In such types of public schools tuition includes board and room. Most of the students live at the school during a term. These types of public schools have an impressive academic history and also a long lasting tradition of family attendance through over a generation.

In those countries where public education is required and common, schooling is compulsory to a certain grade level or age. If a person wants to become a public school teacher, the certain degree from an accredited university is required and good public standing as well. Government is keeping tabs on the public education system with the help of system wide standardized tests. These tests are a kind of indication of the level of some basic skills like simple mathematics and literacy.

To summarize the idea of public school, let us underline the main features of it. This type of education includes kindergarten to 12-th grade (K - 12); also public school refer to primary and secondary education (also it refers to the post secondary as well and advanced education, like for example technical schools, university and colleges that are overseen and funded by government instead of private entities). State public education is inclusive in the treatment of students. Often it is operated and organized to became a deliberate model of that civil community in which it s going to function. It could be provided to a group of students in a classroom in a central school and it may be provided in - home as well (it employs supervising teacher or visiting teachers). State public education could be also provided as shopping mall space (non - school and non - home settings).

The main feature of the state public education is that it is available to all people. Mostly, it is compulsory for children up to a certain age to attend a state public school; however, the option of attending a private school is open for many people as well. In case that a child attends private public school, such type of schools generally defray its costs (by charging parents tuition fee) and operates independently of the state (Suitts, 2008).

As we mentioned above, state public schools are funded by taxes mostly. It means that en those people who are not attending schools (or their children and their dependents are not attending state public school) help to ensure that citizens of a state are educated enough.

It is important to mention that the term "public education" is not a synonym for the term "publicly funded education" when it is applied to state schools. What does it means? For example, government could make a public policy decision to have certain financial resources that are distributed in support (or/and it could decide to have some control over) the provision of private education. Voucher system and grants - in - aid of the private schools give an example of publicly funded private education. On the other hand, a state school (including that schools that are run by a school district) could heavily rely on private funding (like private donations or high fees); this school would still be considered a state public school by virtue of governmental control and ownership.

Commonly, the state public education includes there following points:

Standards and testing that are provided by government;

Compulsory students' attendance until a certain standard of achievement or until the certain age;

Certification of curricula and teachers; the certification could be provided by either teachers' organization or by government.

In some countries churches or private associations could operate a school according to their principals; they are free to do it until they comply with a certain requirements of a state. In case if the specific requirements are not in agreement, a school receives a state funding (the specific requirements could meet for example in the area of the school curriculum). Then a school could be treated for accreditation purpose and financially as a part of the state public educational system, however they make a decision about school policy and hiring (for example, not hiring atheists) which government could not take itself.

Many specialists assert the state public education to be necessary because it is need of those people who are capable of doing basic mathematics, writing and reading in the modern society. Some other people like libertarians, teach that education is better to leave for private sector. There is another group of people that are staying for the alternative forms of education, like non - schooling. They argue that the same knowledge and skill is possible to achieve without subjective students to state - run compulsory schooling.

How the state public schools are organized? As we mentioned earlier, they are provided by local government; teaching, funding and curricula and other policies as well are set through school boards that are locally elected by jurisdiction over school districts. What are school districts? They are special - purpose districts that are authorized by a provision of state law. In other words, state government has a right (and use the right) to provide a minimum standards relation to all main activities of secondary and primary schools and authorize and fund to enact local school taxes as well to support the state public schools (this support is provided primarily through real property taxes). The federal government could funds material aids to school and states that meet minimum federal standards. Decisions about the school accreditation are made by voluntary regional associations.

Ordinary, a state public school is divided in to a three stages:

Elementary school (kindergarten to fifth or sixth grade);

Middle school (junior high or "intermediate" school);

High school (ninth or twelfths grades).

In the middle school is mostly common the following format: the elementary school contains the kindergarten through the sixth grade, the middle school contains seventh through eighth grades. Moreover, some elementary schools could be divided in to two more levels:

Primary school (often it is K -2);


Often these two schools are based in the separate buildings.

One more emerging popular concept is the K - 8th format. In this format students could attend two schools only for all their K - 12 education. In the K - 8 format all primary grades are houses that are situated in one section of a school (this situation is more common for charter schools); nevertheless, traditionally junior high school aged pupils are based in another section of a school. Presently, some very small schools districts (commonly in rural areas) sill keep a K - 12 system according to which all pupils are housed in a single school.

In the United States, different institutions f the higher education that are subsidized and operated by the American state government is also considered to be "public". Nevertheless, public universities charge tuition (unlike the public secondary school); however these fees are commonly much cheaper that the same fees that are charged by the private universities, for "in - state" students particularly. State universities, community colleges, and state colleges are the examples of public institution of the higher education. The number of the state universities is considered to be the best institutions of the higher education in the United States. However, they are often surpassed by some private colleges and universities in ranking. Among these private establishments are those that are extremely selective in the students they are accepting and they are expensive as well.

The advantage of the public schools is obvious (in principal, if not in practice always). In a country where the population is educated the level of different skills in the work force is meant to be increased and improve public debate. Educated citizens are expected to be more likely to make thought out decisions and regard the future of their country.

Charter Schools

Now let us explore the charter schools and in which way they are different from the state public schools. In the United States charter schools are secondary or primarily schools that receive public money, moreover, the can receive private donations like other schools). They are not a subject of some rules, statutes and regulations and this is the main differences from the state public schools. Instead of it the charter schools have some types of accountability for the producing of the certain results. The results are set forth in every school's charter. This type of schools is open and could be attended by choice. Commonly, charter schools are alternative to other public schools, nevertheless, they are also part of the public educational system; charter schools are not allowed to charge tuition. In that charter schools where the enrollment is over subscribed, the admission is frequently allocated by the admission that is lottery based. Some charter schools suggest a kind of the curriculum that is specialized in a one certain field (for example, the curriculum could be specialized in mathematics, arts or languages, etc.) it is one of the attempts to provide more efficient and better general education than nearby public schools. It is one more difference between public schools and charter schools.

The next peculiarity of charter schools is following: some of them are founded by parents, teachers or other activists who are restricted by the traditional public educational system. There are also state - authorized charters that are often established by universities, non - profit groups and some government entities (schools are not charged by local school districts). Moreover, sometimes school districts permit corporations to manage chains of charter schools. Charter schools themselves are non - profit yet; in this way public schools could be managed by a for - profit corporation. It is not changing the status of a school.

Talking about the structure and character of charter schools, we can mention that there are two main principals that are guiding the type of schools:

Charter schools operate as autonomous public schools refusing from number of the procedural requirements of the district public schools. It does not mean however that a school could be exempt from the same educational standards that are set by the district or government. The autonomy could be necessary for creating a certain school culture; the culture should maximize students' motivations by emphasizing discipline, academic rigor, relationships with caring adults and high expectations. Affirming students require the autonomy to create a good balanced school culture to satisfy the needs of the students. Especially it is important for those minority students in urban school districts, where the performance is affected by some social phenomena stereotype threat, non - dominant cultural capital, "acting white", and "a code of a street".

The charter schools are accountable for the achievements of their students. The structure and rules of the charter schools is differ from state to state and depend on the state authorizing. Any charter school once it received a charter, a performance contract that is defined statutory and details the school's mission, goals, programs, ways of measure success, students served and methods of assessment, is authorized to function.

Most of the charter schools are granted for three to five years, nevertheless, the length of time for every of charters are granted varies. This type of schools is accountably held to their sponsor (state educational agency, a local school board, university or other entity). It helps to adhere to the charter contract and to produce the positive academic results.

It is obvious that the accountability is one of the grates arguments for the charter schools; on the other hand, here is some evidence that is gathered by the United States Department of Education. This evidence claims that charter schools are practically not held to the high standards of accountability in compare with the traditional public schools. This statement could be refuted with the help of examining the number of those traditional public schools which were closed because of the poor performance of their students on the tests at the end of a course or end - of - grade tests. Commonly this kind of schools is allowed to stay open on the condition of the restructuring and new leadership (or often with no changes at all). The proponents of the charter schools are asserting that the schools do not have an opportunity to often restructure; they are simply closed down if their students show a poor performance on the assessments.

The United States Department of Education's findings agrees with the statements of NEA (National Educational Association), although their inability to hold some other important factors, the limitations of different studies does not give us an opportunity to be sure if the traditional public schools are better than charter schools or not. We can only define all those differences that we already mentioned above.

Magnet Schools

The last type of schools that we are going to examine is magnet school. It is a public school that has a specialized curricula or course. The term "magnet" refers to the way of how the schools draw students from across the common boundaries that are defined by authorities (school boards) as the school zones that feed into some certain schools.

We can meet magnet schools at the middle school level, elementary school level and at the high school level as well. In the conditions of the decentralized education, some magnet schools are established by the school district; they are draw from the district only. Other magnet schools are set up by state government; they could be draw from the multiply districts. There are also some magnet programs within comprehensive schools (several schools within one school). The majority of the magnet schools are academically selective. There are two types of the magnet schools that are built on a base of the elite sporting programs and on the agricultural business (like animal breeding and farming).

Some magnet schools provide the competitive entrance process; they require interview, audition or the entrance examination. Other magnet schools use the lottery system or accept all students who apply; also they could combine some elements of lottery and competitive entrance. Most of the schools are concentrating on a particular area of the study or on the certain discipline; other could have a more general focus. The focus could be made on academics (engineering, mathematics, natural science, social sciences, and humanities, performing of fine arts) or they may focus on the vocational, agricultural, technical education.


Here are some main types of schools that are common in the country. Summarizing the differences between the public school, the magnet school and the charter school we can conclude that they are about the funding and authorizing mostly. Public schools are commonly focused on a pretty wide area of studies while magnetic and charter schools are trying to have a narrow focus. Nevertheless, we appreciate the wide choice of educational establishments that are helping our citizens to be well educated and to get more skills and knowledge.