Are you a parent wondering which is better for your kids between charter and magnet schools? If yes, this article is for you. The magnet school vs. charter school debate is one that has lasted for decades. However, the best decision is made based on your kid’s personal needs. To help you make the right choice for your kids, we’ve provided detailed information about both institutions. Read on to find out more about their major differences and advantages.
What is a Magnet School?
A magnet school is basically a type of public school with an academic structure featuring a particular academic focus alongside the standard curriculum. While students typically enrol in traditional public schools based on their location, magnet schools are open to students within a specific district, irrespective of address. Magnet schools are a part of the public school system; hence, their accountability to the same entities. They are typically held to the same standards as traditional public schools.
Magnet schools attract children of different races, academic achievement, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s easy to see a high level of demand in these schools because they are open to everyone. This is why most magnet schools tend to determine student acceptance through a lottery system.
One of the top qualities of magnet schools is the operation of a special curricular. Magnet schools can feature many possible themes, although most of them stick with STEM, arts, and vocational paths. An important point to note about magnet schools is that they are schools of choice. That is, children get enrolled based on their interest in the school’s theme rather than on their geographical location.
What is a Charter School?
A charter school is an independently-operated public school that’s allowed the freedom to design classes according to perceived students’ needs. Charter schools are typically operated under a contract. Depending on location, charter school authorities are appointed to oversee the contract binding chatter schools. The charter school authority may be anyone from a university to government agencies or even non-profit organizations. In addition to overseeing the contract, a charter authority is also charged with the responsibility of holding chargers accountable to the terms of their charter. These days, it has become common for former teachers leading charter schools.
The reasons behind parents’ choice of a charter school are always as unique as the students themselves. Most times, their choice is motivated by the strength and motivation shown by typical charter school teachers. Other times, it’s because they want to help their children get off public schools’ challenges. Whatever the case, charter schools serve as options in public education, and they allow parents to take a more active role in the education of their children.
Is Magnet School Better than Charter School?
As a parent, you probably want to know which is better for your kid between magnet and charter schools. The truth is that it all depends on a number of factors. Location plays a vital role as most schools are organized differently in different locations. However, in general terms, there are several things you’ll need to consider when choosing for your kid. Since private schools are not an option for you, you’re probably stuck with choosing between magnet and charter schools. The ability of magnet schools to offer a particular academic focus alongside the standard curriculum while existing within the traditional public school system puts it ahead for students with individual needs.
Let’s also mention that magnet schools are usually open to all students within a school district, irrespective of address. Some parents also consider that magnet schools are accountable to the local school board as an added advantage since they are held to the same standard as traditional public schools. Charter schools also have their advantages over magnet schools, and as explained earlier, picking which is best depends on how the school is operated. Therefore, it’ll be best for you to investigate the school options individually before arriving at your choice.
Magnet School vs. Charter School: Which is Better for You?
Although the magnet school vs. charter school debates often end in a deadlock, there are still a couple of differences between them. These differences are especially worth knowing if you are looking for the better one for your kid. There are also similarities, so you may get confused while picking the right one for you, except you pay close attention to the differences. Before explaining the differences between the two, let’s highlight some similarities.
- Both schools do not require tuition fees, and as such, students can attend guaranteed that the schools’ maintenance will be done via external sponsorship.
- Both schools feature very competitive curriculums that suit an augmented level of academic achievement.
- Unlike many other types of schools, these two feature specialized educational philosophies and niche programs that students can leverage for future academic success.
- Both of them can be classified under the public school system because they are partially or completely accountable to the regulations guiding public schools.
- Both schools do not have geographical boundaries as far as the selection of students is concerned. This means that they typically have their prospective students selected from different zones and communities. Therefore, you’ll most likely see a more diverse and desegregated body of students in both schools that you’ll see in public schools.
- Both schools exist on all levels of education, so your kids can attend them irrespective of their educational level.
Once you are clear about the similarities between the two institutions, understanding the differences that make each of them unique becomes easier.
Here, take a look at some important differences
- One of magnet schools’ distinguishing features is that they are usually governed by the same structure and board of directors as most other public schools, except charter. This means that they are likely to be run in the same manner as other public schools. But charter schools adopt a slightly different mode of operation, making them unique in operation rules.
- Magnet schools are also mandated to abide by all the rules and regulations guiding the state’s public school system, without any allowance for discrepancies. On the other hand, charter schools don’t need to follow public school rules, as long as they understand and follow the charter guiding their existence.
- Enrollment into magnet schools is fashioned towards increasing diversity among the body population of students.
Teachers in magnet schools have to mandatorily get state-certifications, unlike in charter schools where teachers’ certificates from any region are allowed.
- The process of selecting students in magnet schools may be a bit more rigorous, but it is targeted at creating diversity in the kind of students admitted.
- Most magnet schools would prefer to use lottery methods to select prospective students, therefore opening an equal amount of opportunity for everybody.
In addition to the lottery selection method, prospective students of magnet schools have to also undergo rigorous tests and prerequisite requirements during the application process.
Pros and Cons of Charter and Magnet Schools
If you are thinking about a switch of school for your children, the first thing that comes to mind is which will be better between public schools and other schools. For most people, the next alternative to public schools is either charter or magnet schools. Here are the pros and cons of magnet schools and charter schools to help you make the right switch.
Both options provide students with a diverse learning environment
One feature that sets charter and magnet schools out from other schools is the diversity they bring to learning environments. These institutions offer students the opportunity to try new things and to explore the world.
They have curriculum options that focus on students’ unique strength
Charter and magnet schools have their curriculums tailored to meet the individual needs of students. Irrespective of the grading system adopted for classroom assignments, students still receive a higher level of personal attention during school hours compared to what’s offered in traditional public schools.
Recruiting the best possible educators
Charter and magnets schools work hard to follow public schools’ approach to hiring top-notch teachers and administrators. This is a feat that’s usually easy for them considering their offer of a similar pay level to their staff.
Both schools prioritize academic excellence
When it comes to selecting schools, it shouldn’t be a matter of who can attend magnet schools, but what the school can offer. Of course, you will still see a few outliers not performing well for several reasons, but that doesn’t take away the fact that both charter and magnet schools offer multidimensional instructions that focus on each student’s need. Several strategies are put in place to ensure that students get the excellence they deserve from these schools’ educational system.
Smaller classroom sizes to make learning easier
Even with the level of funding typically received by public schools, they still hardly build classes with less than 20 students in them. In fact, some schools have up to 30 or more kids in one class trying to retain the information offered by the teacher. However, charter and magnet schools are known to make their classes smaller, with fewer overall students to facilitate an individual learning system. Smaller classes and a smaller teacher-student ratio makes it easier for teachers to work 1-on-1 with students where needed.
Magnet and charter schools typically have relatively fewer discipline problems
Remember the last time you had a job you enjoyed doing? How it always felt like time flew during work hours because of the passion you had for the job. It’s usually different when you have a boring task and need to be pushed to accomplish it.
Students typically view school in the same way. Pursuing a curriculum related to their life means that they are motivated to retain information. Of course, this means that they’ll have less time to think about disciplinary incidents since they are always thinking about their academics.
Cons of Charter and Magnet Schools
- Despite the popularity of charter and magnet schools these days, they don’t go without their disadvantages. Here are some of the disadvantages of charter and magnet schools.
- Unlike public schools, families usually take charge of students’ transportation throughout the semester.
- With students coming from different geographical locations, bus rides can get really long.
- They sometimes feature incredibly narrow curriculums.
These schools only feature significantly few
- extracurricular activities compared to other schools.
- The competition to get into charter and magnet schools is usually very intense, making it possible for you to lose your spot.
Wrapping Things Up: Magnet School vs. Charter School
The magnet vs. charter school debate has become more intense over time. With both schools offering similar benefits, parents now face severe pressure to streamline their choice to only what’s best for their kids. The first question that comes to mind when choosing is, “do colleges care about magnet schools and charter schools?” Next, parents must be sure that they are ready to make the big move from public or private institutions. To help make the decision process easier, we’ve detailed everything you’ll need to know in this article.
Want to learn about the difference among other types of school? Check out our posts here.