Questions to ask when considering a charter school for your child:
Every parent should do what is best for their child, and some charter schools provide excellent opportunities for children to thrive. Given the broad variation and the flexibility in management oversight and financial decisions, it’s a good idea to conduct research before selecting a charter school. The following questions might be helpful:
- What company or entity is managing the school? Once you find out, research the company and see if they have had any past issues with mismanagement or financial problems.
- Is the management company a for-profit or non-profit entity? Some parents prefer a non-profit company because of the focus on the broader good vs. profit.
- Who is on the Board of Directors? What decisions do they make about the school? What is their educational experience/background? Are any of them politicians, or do they have ties to politicians? If so, what kind of pull do they have?
- What opportunities are there for parents to ask questions or get more involved? Does the school have a PTA or PTO? Are board meetings open to parents?
- What kind of questions does the school ask about parents on the admissions form (i.e. personal information, job title), and what is this used for?
- What are the student admissions requirements? What information is needed about the student prior to enrollment? Any information that is requested prior to enrollment can be used to make admissions decisions.
- Under what conditions would a student be asked to leave the school? What rights would a family have if a student was asked to leave? Is a dismissal decision solely up to the school, or are parents involved as well?
- What requirements do they have for parents? Do parents have to volunteer? How many hours?
- What additional fees are required/requested from parents?
- Are the financial and management records available for parents to view?
- How long has the school been in existence?
- What is the turnover rate for teachers and administrators?
- What requirements do they have for teachers and other staff?
- What are the demographics of the student population?
- How do they measure student achievement and teacher effectiveness?
- What accountability measurements are in place for the school as a whole, in addition to the measurements required by the State?