Top Five Myths About Charter Schools

By Paul Darin
Paul Darin
Paul Darin
August 16, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013

Charter schools are gaining increasing support compared to traditional public schools. The strongest argument for them is the idea that charter schools can offer a quality education without the red tape that has developed in public school systems. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top focus attention on education reform and its political aspects. Here’s a look at five myths surrounding charter schools and education.

1. Charter Schools Routinely Out Perform Public Schools

Not True. 

According to a 2009 report from The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University published on the Education Justice website, only 17 percent out performed public schools, 37 percent performed worse than public schools, and the remaining schools were about the same.

2. Charter Schools Aren’t Unionized

Not Always True. 

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, about 600 charter schools in the nation are unionized, which accounts for 12 percent of the total number of charter schools. An interesting side note is that 100 percent of charter schools in the states of Hawaii, Alaska, Iowa, and Maryland are unionized. State law on the issue varies.

3. Charter Schools Charge Tuition

Not True.

Charter schools receive state and local funding for students based on enrollment just like public schools. The charter schools are an option within public school systems and are not private schools.

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4. Charter Schools Pick and Choose Students


In theory, attendance is open to any student who wishes to attend. 

However, some areas with many students wishing to attend certain popular charter schools have lottery systems to determine who is accepted. 

The controversy starts when charter schools require applications, student entrance exams, entrance research papers, family interviews, and when the schools have higher than normal expulsion rates. According to the Washington Post, D.C. charter schools expelled 676 students in the past three years while traditional public schools expelled a mere 24.

5. Corporations Run Charter Schools


Charter schools usually operate as nonprofit institutions. The operating entity could be a corporation or an organization that leases the daily operations to a corporation. Charter schools can seek corporate sponsorship to bring in additional funds. Louisiana passed a law in 2011 that allows corporate sponsorship of charter schools.

Paul Darin
Paul Darin