4 Ways Charter Schools Can Help Virginia’s Kids
Charter schools can give students a lifetime of opportunity
A child’s future shouldn’t be determined by their ZIP code but, all too often, that’s the case. When a child is zoned to attend a school that doesn’t fit them, children are stuck unless their family can afford another option.
All children deserve to have options – not only those with families who can afford them. Here are five ways Charter Schools could help Virginia’s children.
1. Individualized Education
Every child is different. While district schools try to meet every child’s needs, it’s just not possible for one teacher, one curriculum and one way of doing things to connect with every child.
Charter schools change that. Schools have the flexibility to offer different specialties, ways of learning, and other customizations – and parents have the opportunity to choose the ones that best suits their children.
2. Improving Outcomes for Students
In urban charter schools, studies have consistently shown significant benefits for both math and reading.
A national study looked at 41 urban areas to measure the benefits of charter schools on black students living in poverty. The study found that charter schools provide these students with the equivalent of an additional 59 days of learning in math and 44 days in reading each school year.
The pace of improvement has been found to be higher in charter schools than in district schools.
Three different studies have demonstrated that attending a charter high school not only boosts graduation rates, but also college entry and persistence.
Students from charter schools have also been shown to be less likely to engage in criminal activity.
3. Ending Cycles of Poverty
Charter schools frequently serve low-income students who cannot afford to live in a district with better schools but also cannot afford private education. That keeps people trapped in those neighborhoods only for the cycle to be repeated in the next generation. Charter schools can break those cycles.
In New York City, 88% of SUNY charter school students outperformed traditional public schools on Language Arts exams, and did so 91% in math. Most notably, 78% of Academic Leadership students who attended one of their charter schools in the Bronx were proficient in math as compared to 48% for other Bronx students.
As charter school students are also more likely to graduate and continue their education, they can expect to earn more. Considering that workers without a high school diploma earn an average of $606 weekly compared to $749 for high school graduates, and $874 for those with some college or an associate’s degree, students who attend charter schools have an increased likelihood of earning higher incomes.
The data bears this out. A study conducted in February 2021 throughout seven U.S. cities found that each dollar invested in a child’s charter school education yields an $8 increase in that child’s lifetime earnings. That’s a 46% higher return on investment when compared to the $5.46 traditional public school students can expect.
4. Supporting Mental Health
Instances of mental health issues in children had been growing in the years leading up to the pandemic, at which point they skyrocketed. There is no certainty on when schools will open fully or for how long, and we can’t wait. School choice could be the answer.
Specifically, states with charter school laws have seen a decline in adolescent suicide.
When children are able to attend the best school for them, they thrive – inside and outside the classroom. Expanding charter schools in Virginia would be a huge step towards getting all children the education they need.
We want to offer choice even if the school isn’t terrible — if it isn’t a fit, they should have choice!
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